Matthew Garbett with Thread ATL

Co-Founder of Thread ATL, Matthew Garbett, is in the studio for this episode of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio. Joined by host Todd Schnick, the group discusses Thread ATL’s unique mission to advocate for good urbanism and how the organization is working to make a difference in communities throughout Atlanta on this episode of Around Atlanta Radio.

Garbett moved to Atlanta 20 years ago with full intentions of moving back to New York or Washington D.C. While in the city for grad school, he wrote his thesis about how city designs shape people’s decisions on travel. Prior to this, Garbett had never heard of urbanism, but he soon fell in love and became involved in his local neighborhood association in Old Fourth Ward. When he isn’t busy managing an independent grocery store full-time, Garbett wanders the city of Atlanta thinking of new ways to make it a better place for people to live.

Thread ATL started 7 years ago when Garbett and other urbanists began talking in a Facebook Messenger group which they nicknamed “The Thread”. Officially founded four years ago, Thread ATL serves as a nonprofit aimed at influencing Atlanta’s planning decisions toward a focus on good urbanism. The organization regularly breaks stories about new developments, as well as provides education about what good urbanism looks like. This includes its most recent initiative focused on educating the public about the racial and social injustice implications of good urbanism in the city.

In Atlanta, there are over 242 neighborhoods with the majority having their own neighborhood association. Each of these individual associations has the power to voice their opinions regarding the planning of developments where they live. Unfortunately, in many lower-income neighborhoods where major developments are taking place, this does not always happen. Thread ATL is firm on listening to neighborhood and civic associations. By empowering and informing these communities through their work, the individuals within it are able to advocate for themselves and make their voices heard.

One concern for good urbanism is the need for reliable public transportation. In Atlanta, a negative stigma surrounds MARTA, stemming from its initial route formation which brought low-income people into high-income neighborhoods to do house cleaning. According to Garbett, the fastest way to improve Atlanta’s public transportation system is to increase bus frequency, revise bus routes and improve the quality of the stops. The city also needs major involvement from council members, elected officials and celebrities who can influence these stigmas.

Also impacting good urbanism is the availability of affordable housing. Atlanta has always been known for its affordability, but it doesn’t factor in that everyone has to own a car. Thread ATL believes that everyone should have access to affordable housing where they can age in place and have access to daily conveniences. Some ways to change this include increasing the variety of housing types available (apartments, single-family, etc.) and changing how property taxes are done so that legacy residents and their children can afford to stay.

To learn more about Thread ATL and how to become engaged in your community, visit its blog at or send an email to You can also connect via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Thread ATL are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (August/2020)

New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit

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