Marion Schneider

Atlanta

Atlanta is known as »The Green City«. Except for its centre, due to a severe fire during the last century, it is new and modern, with extraordinary an extraordinary number of skyscrapers right next to each other.

Atlanta’s being a green city is very impressive, as it has three million inhabitants. Many of the residential areas are located in forests in which the houses are scattered. It depends on the wealth of their inhabitants how elegant and luxurious these houses are – you can find both veritable castles and apartment houses. The favorite material is wood, of course.

It is so warm in Atlanta! On a sunny day, you can jog with your shorts on, even in November. The cold period lasts only for a few weeks, and in January the snowdrops start popping up. In March, the trees start getting green again – and they were only losing their leaves just now, in November! One would think that with such weather, people would be very cheerful. I don’t have this impression though. People did not seem very happy in Atlanta, although they tried their best.

I think racism and the past history of black and white still plays an important role. The blacks have not yet forgotten slavery and – this is my personal impression – are not trying hard enough to be strong, but still just take life as it comes, with little interest in their environment and their fellow men around them. On the other hand, I also had the impression that both blacks and whites are trying their best to be friendly towards one another, and for me, it was there that I saw the most progressive ways of dealing with one another that I witnessed: in restaurants, white waiters are serving black people – quite a common situation now –; in shops, both blacks and whites are trying their best to sell.

Atlanta does not yet care for pedestrians and bicycle-riders. Atlanta is a city of car drivers. Without a car, you cannot really live a decent life – not even as are tiree. That’s a problem, in my opinion. Most of the roads have no facilities for walking or bicycling – and the streets of Atlanta are many miles long. In fact, Atlanta is a car city. The streets are modern, wide, and perfect. The drivers are impatient and not very friendly.

The prices and the taxes in Atlanta are decent to low. That’s something nice. The shopping facilities are extraordinary. In accordance with road conditions, they are big »malls«, as they are called: shopping centres where you can find enormous quantities of shops and goods. You can find about ten of these malls all over Atlanta – naturally with huge parking lots.

November, 1993