Originally Posted by netdragon
Atlanta is already 3 times the area of the city limits of Boston and San Francisco and less than 1/7 of the density of those two cities. If Atlanta even increased its density to that of Hartford, CT the city limits would have 1.5 million people. As dante said, it's all about density. Atlanta most likely isn't going to annex any other areas because of politics and it doesn't need to because it already has a lot of underutilized land and a large area that is taken up by industrial areas (many abandoned) that have huge footprints. In fact, it's less dense in population than many of its suburbs. Decatur is about twice as dense and Vinings, Smyrna, Dunwoody and Marietta are about 50% more dense, and Kennessaw and Sandy Springs are about 1/3 more dense.
As land values increase, old industrial areas will be converted to high-density residential (as has already been happening) and industry will probably move to the edge of the metro. The population of Atlanta has increased by over 100,000 since 1990.
Those statistics are a bit dubious at best. Boston is 3.341 times the density of Atlanta and 65% the size. If Atlanta had the density of Hartford, its population would be 930,110.
San Francisco is 4.29 times the density of Atlanta and 35.6% of the size.
The density of Dunwoody is 2,711 people/sq. mile as compared to Atlanta's density of 3,690.5 people per square mile. Kennesaw has an even lower density at 2,568 people per square mile. Decator's density is 4,320 persons per square mile which is not 2 times Atlanta but rather only 17% more. It must be noted that midtown Atlanta has a density in excess of 15,000 people per square mile and the fact that Atlanta is so large obscures comparisons to smaller cities. The urban core's density is much higher than the outlying areas.
The population of Atlanta has risen 92,394 since 1990.
As for you industry-residential notes, I would like to say that new industry will more likely revolve around high technology and will most likely locate in the southern region of the metropolitan area due to the more available land and cheaper pricing. Large commercial enterprises will move to Atlanta proper en masse to take advantage of the influx of professional citizens and new prestige that comes with an Atlanta address.