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A New Direction for Atlanta’s Cityhood Movement Emerges

Voters approved creating a new city in one of the most economically and racially diverse parts of Georgia, marking a shift from earlier cityhood movements.

Attendees during a church service at the Rock of Salvation Missionary Church in Mableton, Georgia, on May 22, 2022. It’s one of four places in Cobb County that recently attempted cityhood, and the only one to succeed.

Attendees during a church service at the Rock of Salvation Missionary Church in Mableton, Georgia, on May 22, 2022. It’s one of four places in Cobb County that recently attempted cityhood, and the only one to succeed.

Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

On Tuesday, residents of south Cobb County, Georgia, voted to incorporate into the city of Mableton, making it the 11th new city to form around metro Atlanta since the incorporation of Sandy Springs in 2005.

With close to 77,000 residents, Mableton will now be the largest city in Cobb County, and among its most diverse — a stark contrast to earlier cityhood movements in metro Atlanta. The first eight cities formed since 2005 were mostly white upper-income neighborhoods, and many of them formed just as the demographics and leadership of their counties became majority non-white and non-Republican. Many of those early cityhood campaigns were motivated by the goal of having more local control over their tax dollars, housing, zoning and land use decisions — though not every case