It is with sadness that I am writing these notes about Myles Smith who was a great friend and inspiration. I have many fun stories and positive thoughts about Myles. Myles and I collaborated on metro Atlanta regional policy over the years from 1999 until his retirement from Georgia Power. Probably my earliest engagement with Myles occurred with the Regional Development Plan (RDP) “Team”.
The RDP Team produced ground-breaking policy documents and subsequent “Implementation Reports” which provided a strategy for local governments and the region for a decade. Myles and many others were key developers and influential supporters of RDP implementation. I remember a line Myles once used during the process in which he stated the need for land use policies to “jujitsu the transportation funds”. In many ways metro Atlanta has succeeded to implement coordinated land use and transportation investment policies through the efforts of Myles.
For many years Myles facilitated meetings and retreats for public and private sector groups across Georgia. He wrote policy positions and advocated strongly for state and local actions. We had lively debates at a monthly “Planners Breakfast” meeting held at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). He felt that his role and planner skills were often best used as a “provocateur!” He believed in the benefits of communication, engagement and coordinated public/private urban policy.
Myles was an avid photographer during the years we worked together and traveled to the same conferences. He would take many photographs of individuals and groups of planners at the conferences. He was always interested and supportive of younger professionals. He often invited diverse groups of urban and suburban planners to dinner for policy discussions when out of town. He was always a gracious host with lots of stories and memories for the group from the early days of planning and economic development across Georgia.
His wife, Ortrude White, and Myles invited me to their home several times over the years for small dinner gatherings. They had a magnificent large, old home in Little 5 Points and were wonderful hosts.
When he retired from Georgia Power, Myles gave me his Fellow of AICP medal which was awarded from the American Planning Association (APA). Myles was among the first Fellows of AICP awarded in metro Atlanta alongside Leon Eplan, Carl Patton, Paul Kelman and Randy Roark.
I had lunch with Myles in May of 2018 and felt the same kindness and interest in my family and career, and sometimes wry sense of humor, that was present when we worked together. Myles Smith was a great economic development and planning leader in Georgia. I am so thankful to have had Myles as a friend and colleague.
Dan Reuter, FAICP
Read his obituary.