UPDATE, 1:46 p.m., March 24: In an unfortunate turn of events, we have removed both Lawrenceville (4) and Woodstock (5) from the Suburban Smackdown tournament following clear evidence of unscrupulous voting in a heated contest that concluded last evening. Both proud cities (each with fantastic city centers) worked exceptionally hard to get out the vote—and thousands of votes were absolutely legit. But evidence of cheating is too obvious (with the number of votes in the contest exceeding the number of page views) to let either continue without jeopardizing fairness and endangering the tournament's integrity.
From that side of the bracket, the contestant with the third-most votes to date will be reinstated in the Best OTP Downtown tournament. That means buckle up, Newnan, because you're in the Four Four.
Now, please, let's resume the contest in a fair and honest way, free of voting bots and tremendous, shady waves of votes blatantly linked to a handful of IP addresses.
— Urbanize Atlanta staff
Best OTP Downtown 2023, Elite Eight: (4) Lawrenceville vs. (5) Woodstock
Who should advance to the Suburban Smackdown Final Four? Cast your vote now!
In the spirit of March Madness, Urbanize Atlanta’s first-annual Best OTP Downtown tournament kicked off last week with 16 places vying for the prestige of being called the metro’s greatest.
Now, for each Elite Eight contest, voting will be open for just 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one suburban city center rises above the rest in very public fashion. The quest to crown a champion resumes now!
Estimated city population: 31,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 32 miles
Secret sauce: An impressive “haunted” history, with a variety of tours to match
Round 1: Lawrenceville showed Conyers the exit in a lopsided weekend match
Expanding with an array of new development around virtually every corner, downtown Lawrenceville has the gorgeous bones (and landmark courthouse) to prove it’s metro Atlanta’s oldest incorporated city. As the county seat of Gwinnett County, long a magnet for diverse population influxes, Lawrenceville’s square is dotted with global eats, from Italian (Dominick’s) and Mexican (Strange Taco Bar, La Cazuela), and Cuban (D’Floridian) to modern American (McCray’s and gastropub Local Republic). Lest we forget two breweries (Slow Pour and Ironshield) within a merry stumble of the square, and Aurora Theatre’s impressive new digs.
Estimated city population: 36,000
Distance from downtown Atlanta: 28 miles
Secret sauce: Downtown’s Elm Street playground, like a kiddie utopia meets Ewok village
Round 1: Woodstock easily dispatched south metro competitor Newnan, capturing 65 percent of votes
Up in Cherokee County, the once-sleepy “City Unexpected” expects to keep growing like gangbusters in coming years. Four acres of new shopping options, offices, and a boutique hotel are expanding Woodstock City Center's New Urbanism footprint today, adding to downtown perks like Reformation Brewery, the new Reeves House Visual Arts Center, and a beautiful multipurpose trail system branching off into nearby forests. It’s been named by Money magazine one of the top places to live in the U.S.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated.)