Presentation about Atlanta’s Historic Druid Hills and Chicago’s Village of Riverside Showcases Olmsted’s First and Last Residential Communities

The work of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, spans decades and his contributions to the beauty of our cities endures today. The 200th anniversary of Olmsted’s birth will be celebrated at home and nationally in April 2022. 

As a prelude to this bi-centennial commemoration, Olmsted Linear Park Alliance (OLPA) on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7 p.m. via Zoom will showcase and compare Olmsted’s first and last residential communities – Riverside, Illinois, outside of Chicago, designed in 1869, and Druid Hills in Atlanta, designed in 1893. 

Noted Atlanta landscape architect and National Association for Olmsted Parks board member, Spencer Tunnell, will take us on a journey through time to explore how these two special communities were designed to build a sense of community, equity and greenspace for all. “Olmsted’s residential designs reflect his concern for humanity, his love of nature and his belief in the importance of community,” says Mr. Tunnell. “I look forward to sharing how these two historic communities remain living testaments to Olmsted’s principles and how we can carry them forward.”

These first and last Olmsted-designed communities share innovative and naturalistic landscape plans, featuring parks, vistas, winding roads and native plantings. 

To learn more about Olmsted Linear Park Alliance and to register for the one-hour presentation via Zoom, please visit www.atlantaolmstedpark.orgThis presentation is made possible through the generous support of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

You’re also invited to celebrate Olmsted’s birthday through Olmsted 200, an exclusive opportunity to watch Olmsted and America’s Public Parks online anytime between April 24-25. The next day, April 26, from 5:30-6:30 PM (EDT), join a live panel discussion moderated by TIMEMagazine’s Justin Worland with Dr. Thaisa Way, Happy Haynes, and Justin DiBerardinis.

Directed by Rebecca Messner, this documentary highlights iconic Olmsted projects across the country and provides a look into his multifaceted life. Some of the featured projects include Central Park, Prospect Park, and the Emerald Necklace.

Register today to attend this birthday celebration event. You will then receive a free, personal watch party link in an email on April 23 to join in the fun starting April 24.

Moving Forward in Emory Village

For nearly two decades, the Emory Village Alliance has worked hard to make the Village an attractive, safe asset for you, our neighbors. Please help us keep the public spaces within the Village vibrant, well-maintained and actively programmed with your tax-deductible financial contribution. With your support, the Village will become an even more sought-after place to shop, eat and live! 

We take pride in our community as we care for and manage the public spaces of our 11-acre Village. We are neighbors, business leaders, and Emory representatives who together have donated thousands of volunteer hours. Our primary sources of funding are our board members and annual contributions from the community. 

We don’t just talk; we get things done! Even in the face of the pandemic, we accomplished a lot together in 2020:

  • Worked with DeKalb County to install signalized pedestrian lights and signs on North Decatur Road at the CVS crossing 
  • Held quarterly Volunteer Work Days to maintain the plaza, sculpture, fountain and streetscape
  • Installed color-changing lights in the roundabout
  • Successfully planned and executed the 8th Annual Open Streets Emory Village Hybrid Edition! We learned a lot about producing a socially distanced, multi-day, safe event which will improve all our events in the future
  • Mounted 10 multi-color banners featuring a new graphic design on light poles to give the Village more of a sense of place
  • Began implementation of the Goizueta MBA Marketing Strategy to make the Village more attractive to Druid Hills residents, Emory University users, and the broader local markets. 
  • Updated and revamped our website,, to promote and provide information about the Village
  • Expanded our social media exposure on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
  • Promoted DHCA and South Fork Conservancy for the benefit of our community

Our board members continue to work tirelessly in three main areas to improve the public realm of the Village:

Events + Social Activities 

  • Annual Open Streets Emory Village
  • Periodic fun classes and activities in the Village

Operations + Maintenance

  • Work with the county and Emory University to maintain the plaza, fountain and roundabout. The streetscapes are the responsibility of the property owners.  

New Improvement Projects

  • Sidewalk widening in front of the shops on the block of Oxford north of the roundabout. We’ve talked to the county and property owners about this significant project, which will make that block safer and more walkable. It will require tens of thousands of dollars, so your contributions are very important to match other funding sources.
  • In conjunction with DeKalb County, crosswalk repairs at the roundabout and North Decatur Road at CVS crossing 

Emory Village Alliance communicates with Village property owners to monitor their involvement and business plans and to share the community’s vision as detailed in DeKalb County’s Emory Village Overlay. 

We reach out to the shop and restaurant owners and operators to better understand their challenges and needs as we seek to promote their businesses. Despite this, we’ve seen shops and beloved restaurants depart from the Village due to Covid-19. We anticipate a stronger 2021 as the world slowly regains its footing. 

If you would like to contribute to these Emory Village Alliance initiatives, please donate today online. Or send your check, payable to Emory Village Alliance, to Emory Village Alliance, PO Box 15185, Atlanta GA 30333

Thank you for your support.

Todd Hill
Chair of the Board


Open Streets Covid19 Edition Attracted All Ages and Interests

The Eighth Annual Open Streets Emory Village inserted some fun into 2020 with a “Covid19” edition that included a mix of virtual and socially distanced events. For four days in October, neighbors enjoyed specials at Village restaurants and tried out events that ranged from bike tours, to architectural and creek walks, sidewalk chalk art and pottery art, concerts, virtual 5K and dog contests, gymnastics, a duck race and much more.

One Lucky Duck Wins Race

Congratulations to the winners of the Third Annual Peavine Creek Duck Race. Three dozen bright yellow rubber ducks bobbed down the creek to the finish net. South Fork Conservancy Board Chairman Glenn Kurtz (in a dashing pair of camo waders) plucked the winning ducks from the creek beneath the Panera parking lot. 

Mike Goodwin, duck number 131 came in third. Todd Ableser, duck number 82 was second. And winning duck #48 belonged to Jeffry Elzemeyer, a 6-year-old from Druid Hills who is a first grader at Fernbank Elementary School.

The third annual Peavine Creek Duck Race enjoyed spirited cheering from a safely distanced group of racers watching from the North Decatur Road bridge. Judges on the bridge included Defense Attorney Don Samuel, Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Executive Director Revonda Moody, Open Streets Emory Village Chair Don Walter and EVA president Todd Hill. Watch the ducks race to the finish line. The event was one of many hybrid activities during Open Streets Emory Village-COVID19 edition.