Join artists and naturalists for a unique urban hike across Southeast Atlanta that reveals the stories of our city embedded in the landscape. Come along for this urban hike through the South River watershed as we imagine a radical new kind of trail experience for Atlanta—a path devised to experience the culturally rich and ecologically diverse tapestry of the city on foot.
Led by metro Atlanta natives Hannah Palmer and Carley Rickles, with partners from Marseille (France), Alexandre Field, Paul-Hervé Lavessière, Geoffroy Mathieu, and SAFI (Stéphane Brisset and Dalila Ladjal), this all-day walking tour is the culmination of a 3-day Metropolitan Trails workshop with local and international artists, urbanists, architects, and students. The hike is an opportunity to test our ideas as we traverse interstate highways, public parks, historic neighborhoods, urban farms, and unexpected creative spaces. Part workshop, part meditation, the hike will include stops for foraging, storytelling, picnicking, water sampling, and listening to business owners, residents, naturalists, artists, historians, and farmers. Like any good hike, we might get lost, distracted, or delightfully surprised by what we notice along the path.
This public walk begins at 9:00 a.m. at the Five Points MARTA Transit Station. We’ll meet at the Peachtree Street entrance. From there, we will trace the hidden source of Intrenchment Creek downstream where it daylights. We plan to conclude the walk at an urban farm in Southeast Atlanta. Hikers will make their way home on foot, by MARTA bus, or rideshare.
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Hannah Palmer is an urban planner and writer, best known for her book Flight Path: A search for roots beneath the world’s busiest airport, which describes her personal experience and research into the communities destroyed by the expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Her work led to an environmental campaign to restore the headwaters of Georgia’s Flint River, and gave rise to the Finding the Flint project. This multidisciplinary initiative aims to mitigate the consequences of urbanization and its impact on the environment. Hannah Palmer is also the founder of the Atlanta Creek League, which offers a fun, competitive approach to local creek management in Atlanta’s three main watersheds: the South River, the Flint River and the Chattahoochee River.
Carley Rickles is an Atlanta-based artist, landscape architect, and educator. Rickles’ projects interrogate how everyday life, and memory translate through the built environment through field research, documentation, design, scholarship, exhibition, and social practice. Rickles recent projects include the collaborative public walking series Land Soundscapes (with Artist Erin Palovick), Landscapes of Collective Trauma, the Residual Spaces Project, Alternative Public Space, Missing, and Soft Surveillance. Most recently her work was supported by Arts and Entertainment Atlanta, Idea Capital, and the Atlanta Airport. Beyond her independent practice, Rickles co-runs Martin Rickles Studio, an interdisciplinary architecture studio, and teaches in the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. Her studio and teaching practices were both recognized in 2023 by the American Society of Landscape Architecture with Professional Honor Awards.
Alexandre Field is an architect, teacher and associated researcher at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Marseille, and cultural producer. Founding member of the “Mouvement des Chemineurs” collective, he proposed a truant school at ENSA-Versailles in 2001, and very soon shared his professional activity with project management and exploratory research projects. He is the author of artistic and cultural proposals that bring together a variety of audiences in order to deepen our knowledge and explore together our ways of inhabiting a territory. Co-founder of the Bureau des Guides du GR2013 association, he is helping to make the metropolitan trail an innovative cultural facility, a mode of exploration and storytelling, and a vehicle for territorial culture. Member of the Metropolitan Trails network, he is associate curator of the City Cité Atlanta x Marseille program.
Paul-Hervé Lavessière is a geographer-urban planner and co-founder of the Agence des sentiers métropolitains (Metropolitan Trails Agency). He is the author of two books on walking in Greater Paris: La Révolution de Paris (Wildproject, 2014, Prix Haussmann) and Le Sentier du Grand Paris (Wildproject, 2020). Paul-Hervé Lavessière has coordinated several metropolitan trail projects in France (Grand Paris, Toulon, Avignon, Angoulême). He also supports project developers through training, workshops and studies. Paul-Hervé is a coordinator of Terrestrial Cities, a course designed by the Metropolitan Trails Agency (Marseille) and crafted by people working toward the ecological future of cities.
Geoffroy Mathieu is a photographer and graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles. His photographic work focuses on contemporary ecological and political issues, and how they are reflected in the landscape. Following a series of different routes, he documents territories, city-nature friction, and poetic resistance in the way places are used. He has devoted several works to changing landscapes through photographic landscape observatories for the Parc Naturel Régional des Monts d’Ardèche (exhibited in 2012 at the Rencontres d’Arles), the PNR du Verdon and the Communauté de communes de la Vallée de l’Hérault (Grand Site de France). He collaborated with Baptiste Lanaspèze on the book Marseille, ville sauvage, essai d’écologie urbaine (Actes Sud) [lit. Marseille, wild city, essay on urban ecology]. In 2013, as part of Marseille Provence 2013, he and Bertrand Stofleth set up Paysage Usagés, a photographic observatory of the landscape from the metropolitan trail GR2013 thanks to a public commission for photographs from the CNAP. This series is part of the France Territoire Liquide mission, which has been exhibited at the Tri-Postal (Lille), at the FRAC PACA (Marseille), at the Mucem (Marseille) and finally at the BNF (Paris) in the Paysages Français exhibition.
SAFI Collective was founded in 2001 by Stéphane Brisset and Dalila Ladjal. SAFI works, learns, dreams, shares, imagines and transmits through plants. Not preserved nature, nor domesticated nature, but the more complex world of uncultivated spaces, of the frontiers of the city, where play remains possible while raising the stakes of urban development. Based on a repertoire of fundamental gestures: walking, smelling, listening, eating, cooking, tinkering, gardening… SAFI invites the public to cross forgotten zones, to practice collective gestures and to (re)discover unsuspected riches. These are often sensitive experiences, local reminders that reveal what is hidden from our view, perhaps because of habit, and tell us that a “weed” can be an astonishing plant, a delight in the kitchen, a material of the future or a precious remedy… and constitute a real heritage that helps us understand our environment and connects us to each other.
About Metropolitan Trails
Metropolitan Trails are a new kind of public space. Rather than built infrastructures that reshape communities, they are social platforms designed to reconnect us to the land and to each other for a vital conversation on post-petroleum cities. Metropolitan Trails are an international urban innovation, born in France and Europe.
As part of City/Cité, a program presented by Villa Albertine, in partnership with France Atlanta and the Atlanta Design Festival, Atlanta is joining a network of cities like Paris, London, Istanbul, and Boston in reconsidering public space through urban trails.
About City/Cité – Towards Earthly Cities – Atlanta, Oct 11-22, 2023
City/Cité – Towards Earthly Cities (Atlanta, Oct 11-22, 2023) is a program inviting professionals from Atlanta and Marseille and the public to learn together about urban ecology and the future of our cities. Associate curator: Alexandre Field (Marseille).
City/Cité – Towards Earthly Cities is presented by Villa Albertine, in partnership with the Atlanta Design Festival 2023, France-Atlanta, the College of Design at Georgia Tech, the College of Environment + Design at University of Georgia, the Franco-German Cultural Center of Atlanta (Goethe Zentrum Atlanta + Alliance française d’Atlanta), Le Bureau des Guides, the Metropolitan Trails Agency, L’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Marseille, Friche la Belle de Mai, Finding the Flint and the Atlanta Creek League.
Made possible with the support of the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation, the Institut français, Georgia Institute of Technology, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (France), Métropole Aix-Marseille-Provence, the Ministry for Culture (France), Air France, Gene Kansas and Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta.