KB ADVISORY GROUP and LCIs: An overview of KB's project work for the Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) Livable Centers Initiative (LCI)


Log, ARC


Livable Centers Initiative logo

Location: Atlanta Region

Clients: Member governments of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC); counties of

Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette,

Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Rockdale, and the city of Atlanta.

The Livable Centers Initiative (LCI): What is an LCI, and what does it do?


The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) program distributes federal transportation dollars to local jurisdictions. The funds are for planning studies and transportation projects. Think of improvements to intersections and sidewalks. The funding covers an LCI Study design or the construction costs associated with an LCI transportation project.


In the words of the Council for Quality Growth: “The LCI program was created… to allocate federal transportation dollars for planning in local town centers and employment centers. Once the plans have been created, local governments can apply for dedicated federal funding to assist in bringing their plans into reality.”


In a 2021 SapportReport piece on that year’s grantees, an LCI Program founder, Dan Reuter, said, LCI is… trying to change our region’s very automobile-dominate place into one of… urban, sustainable, walkable places. The work is never done, but we have made tremendous progress.” Reuter also noted it had become much more since the Program’s creation.


LCIs are a powerful tool. They are essential to regional planning to manage the Atlanta area’s continuing and tremendous growth. Past LCI projects have studied Community Improvement Districts (CIDs), historic downtowns, existing and emerging job centers, and all the MARTA stations.


KB Advisory Group and LCIs

KB Advisory Group’s history and experience with the LCI Program: KB has participated in the ARC’s LCI community planning, redevelopment, updates, and implementation efforts since 1999; our engagements include them all.


Recent KB LCI efforts

KB is honored to be a part of the 2021 LCI teams, which are wrapping up in 2022, working to help Alpharetta and Grantville. The City of Alpharetta LCI focused on South Main Street (Hwy 9) from the pedestrian safety perspective, increased transit use, and opportunities for creative placemaking to further successful downtown redevelopment. The Grantville LCI examined transit via a commuter bus system and opportunities to revitalize its downtown.


Other recent involvement includes LCIs focused on redeveloping the existing downtowns of Austell (2020), Dallas (2019), Forest Park (2020), and Lawrenceville (2020). KB was a part of creating a new downtown for places like Sugar Hill. Also, more unusual LCI efforts, such as the BUCKHEAD REdeFined LCI Study (2017), updating the 2002 Buckhead Action Plan LCI Study, and assessing the housing development potential for the Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods LCI Study (2016).


KB’s Role in LCI Projects

On an LCI, the KB team is generally a sub-consultant to a planning firm and analyses market opportunities and feasible development plans for walkable mixed-use districts. KB participates in public meetings, stakeholder, and internal consulting throughout an LCI project. Typically, the LCI Study-related tasks the firm performs address two areas of analysis.


LCI Market Study-Related Tasks

First, comprehensively look at the factors impacting real estate supply and demand via data-driven analytical evaluation.


The results enable leadership to make appropriate decisions about future development in an LCI Study Area. KB’s market analysis includes a set of actions to gain that holistic perspective:


  • Defining the LCI Market Area and its surroundings
  • Economic and Demographic Analysis
  • Analyzing Residential Demand
  • Analyzing Retail Demand
  • Assessing Office Demand
  • Providing conclusions regarding future development potential


LCI Implementation-Related Tasks

Second, examine implementation funding to provide a forward-looking assessment of how best to achieve LCI Study Area goals.


The KB scope of work generally encompasses:


  • Assessing the economic development toolkit
  • Proposing a plan to enhance incentives available to the development community
  • Evaluating the appropriateness and feasibility of initiating new economic enhancement programs
  • Catalyst Project Concepts
    • Determining the economic feasibility within and beyond the constraints of current zoning
    • Determining uses and configurations of identified catalyst project sites
    • Ensuring the presence of an optimal slate of economic development incentives for the viability of each catalyst site
    • Conducting a preliminary financial analysis of catalyst project scenarios in the short, medium, and long term


Finally, KB’s LCI efforts may also analyze each proposed development scenario’s economic, fiscal, and school impacts at full build-out to document the potential positive effects on the LCI Study Area and the local public school district.


In conclusion

KB recognizes that societal shifts and new patterns of demographics, transportation, communication, and lifestyles lead to transformative change in the operation of our economies and communities. KB’s work on LCIs informs local jurisdictions on a wide range of related land use and development policy decisions, potentially improving communities and neighborhoods in the coming decades. The ARC’s 2022 LCI Application Guidebook is available online and includes detailed information about the program goals, study types, priorities issues, and more.


WEBLINKS included in this LCI Overview:

Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) – https://atlantaregional.org/community-development/livable-centers-initiative

ARC’s 2022 LCI Application Guidebookhttps://cdn.atlantaregional.org/wp-content/uploads/lci-2022-application-guidebook.pdf

BUCKHEAD REdeFined LCI Study, 2017 – https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/40533/637587642818600000

Council for Quality Growth, 2021https://www.councilforqualitygrowth.org/arc-announces-livable-centers-initiative-planning-grant-awards/

Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods LCI Study, 2016https://www.atlantaga.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/24209/637587636581270000

SapportReport, 2021https://saportareport.com/arcs-livable-centers-initiative-2021-grantees-continue-smart-growth-planning/sections/reports/david/