Jumpstart Ryan Gravel’s Generator

“What is innovative housing?”

This was asked to a room full of folks at a seminar I attended a couple months back. It was a valid question given that we were there for what was billed as an Innovative Housing Summit.

The funny thing was the event organizer and asker-of-the-question confessed that the same query had stumped him during a public radio interview promoting the event. A theater full of housing experts and presenters seemed to have their own difficulty articulating answers — especially where affordable housing was concerned.

I’m learning to be comfortable with the tension between the questions and no immediate answers. The important thing is that the questions get asked and get asked often.

I had arrived at the seminar via Bird electric scooter. This rideshare service is a solution I could not have conceived of this time last year. The same applies to innovative/affordable housing. There are solutions on the horizon that we haven’t thought of yet.

That’s what I like about Ryan Gravel’s new non-profit. GENERATOR is an idea lab which will incubate “ideas no one is asking for, but just might change the world.”

The BeltLine is, of course, his point of reference. He proposed the idea of intown smart growth along a trail + transit corridor to a sprawling city in love with suburbia and cars. Atlanta wasn’t asking for the BeltLine, but it is changing the city anyway, and in ways we never imagined.

AFTERCAR, a full-service for-profit restaurant/bar, will be the economic engine for GENERATOR. These two entities will be located in the Telephone Factory Basement, immediately adjacent to the BeltLine Eastside Trail. Here’s how Ryan says GENERATOR and AFTERCAR will function together:

…our leading idea is that by providing a venue for food and drinks along this highly-sociable corridor, Generator will tap into an intrinsic aspect of our humanity – that by breaking bread together and sharing a meal, we are more likely to see each other, understand each other, and work toward a shared vision for our lives. Aftercar will provide the condition for those connections – complete with a Blade Runner vibe – and provide a casual public interface to the often heavy and uncomfortable work at Generator. Maybe you’ll just come by for a beer but end up imagining a new kind of future.

Maybe with the Blade Runner motif, they should consider calling the restaurant AEROCAR? Just sayin’…

Anyway, when fully operational, the AFTERCAR + GENERATOR combination will be self-sustaining. But for now, they need a jumpstart.

They’re already 25% of the way to the $1.6 million needed to get the venture off the ground, thanks to generous donors like MailChimp, The Kendeda Fund, and King of Pops.

This being the time of year we think about tax-exempt gifts, please consider making a donation. Especially if you are a BeltLandian. You know we will benefit from a lot of the output that comes from GENERATOR.

You can make your donation here.

Not content to wait until the 2019 launch, GENERATOR is hosting informal Friday afternoon meetups at the site. You won’t be surprised to learn that innovative housing — especially in the realm of affordable — is a frequent topic of conversations.

Some of us have already teamed up and are working on solutions.

About Burke Sisco

Burke Sisco is an Associate Broker of First United Realty with 18 years of experience in the Atlanta real estate market. He calls the surging infra-culture around the BeltLine both home and business territory and is the founder and managing editor of BeltLandia.com. He has helped a number of satisfied clients buy and sell property in BeltLandia. Those interested in living the BeltLandia Lifestyle can reach Burke at 404.421.9968 or by email at burke@burkesisco.com.

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