bringing some sort of a water feature isn't "copying other cities" in the same way that building retail in midtown following cues of other great shopping districts in other cities isn't. it's doing what works; beautifying and improving the city.
i would absolutely love to see peachtree creek cleaned up and put to use for something other than a forgotten-about sewer. that in itself would be a wonderfully creative new idea, something i've never previously heard about before in other cities. other possible areas are the water works, and the bellwood quarry lake; these things bring needed natural gathering spaces. you can't deny the beauty of clara meer in piedmont park - it's just a bit too small. has anyone heard about or seen that photo exhibit about atlanta's forgotten watershed, at the fernbank science center a few years back? Link 1
as the city matures, it will grow into more of a tourist attraction, by its very nature. i don't think chicago and new york ever planned to become such, it was just an added benefit of becoming what they are now. (tourist attractions) the best thing the city could do for itself is just to beautify and improve in any and every possible way.
also - transit solves the world's problems! it's a cure for cancer! creates world peace! (indirectly, actually!)
lastly, please forgive me if i've stolen any ideas previously mentioned in the past 4 years from other forumers... when i read things, i generally forget where i heard about them first.