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This year will be pivotal in determining the direction and future of cityhood in metro Atlanta and beyond.

This year will be pivotal in determining the direction and future of cityhood in metro Atlanta and beyond.

Photographer: ilbusca/Digital Vision Vectors

The Future of Cityhood

As metro Atlanta diversifies, some state lawmakers are trying to draw new city boundaries around race and class. Academics see it as a variation of “white flight.”

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Like most of metro Atlanta, the suburbs of Cobb County have been becoming more liberal and diverse. So much so that in 2020, Cobb County’s board of commissioners changed from majority-Republican to majority-Democrat for the first time in decades, with the election of three Black women. One of them, Lisa Cupid, is the first African American and woman to chair the board of commissioners in the county’s history.

Now, some Georgia lawmakers are advancing bills that could turn several wealthy — and majority-white — Cobb County neighborhoods into new cities, moves that would give these communities more control over local resources. Residents of East Cobb, Lost Mountain and Vinings will be able to vote on creating the new municipalities as early as May if the full Georgia general assembly approves legislation  that would create ballot referendums for each. Cobb County Chair Cupid says a May ballot doesn’t give the county enough time to finish a study on the financial impact of the new city formations. Meanwhile, a bill to create a more economically and racially diverse city in south Cobb County called Mableton has yet to move forward.