A Better Way

7 thoughts on “A Better Way”

  1. Are you familiar with _how_ this community decided to take a different people-friendly approach to development? Was it the presence of more enlightened community members? Was there any opposition? What kind of bureaucracy was involved? Often we know the right thing to do, the hard part is actually doing it.

    1. I’m sure a great many hard working people will want to take credit for the transformation. The Nashville Civic Design Center http://www.civicdesigncenter.org/ folks are on that list.

      As places like San Francisco have become ridiculously expensive money has flowed to second and third tier markets like Nashville. Savvy developers saw an opportunity to buy up cheap property and transform it with publicly financed infrastructure. Funding from some very powerful players was made available to support the work of the Design Center in the time honored scenario of big money wearing a cloak of grass roots. That’s not a criticism. Just reality. For every great project in town there are a thousand cookie cutter subdivisions carved out in the corn fields using exactly the same public infrastructure money. That’s how the world works.

      The good projects that do get built are mostly the result of happenstance. For example, I noticed that in this and many other neighborhoods there were a significant number of small duplex and triplex bungalows that had existed since the early days of the twentieth century. They were being pulled down and replaced by much larger duplexes and triplexes on the same sites. The law didn’t have to change for the market to respond to shifting demand. These places “up zoned” by default when a tiny place became a much bigger place with many more rooms and more occupants – particularly near the university.

      And Nashville voters (in the combined city/county administration) forbid funding of transit so everything is all car oriented all the time.

  2. Oh hey, that’s my part of town. I really like that ranch remodel you posted a pic of, I bike past it every day. Unfortunately, as the neighborhood get wealthier it is also getting NIMBY-er and I’m afraid that it is going to largely block further redevelopment on (blighted!) Charlotte Ave. They have already killed a mixed use project that was going to replace an abandoned industrial site http://www.nashvillepost.com/business/development/article/20493732/developer-scraps-charlotte-avenue-project

  3. “…how to reinvent themselves in a cost effective yet culturally acceptable manner.” Yes, this is the missing link. Great example of a suburban retrofit that’s realistic for much of America, even if some urbanists would reject it as too timid.

    On a side note, I think a lot of coastal folks have really outdated views of the South/Midwest. It’s not all “Deliverance” or “Detroit”. The neighborhood above has a Menlo Park or Palo Alto vibe for example.

    1. Oh, Deliverance is alive and well – and not just in the South or Midwest. Ever been to Reading, California?

      There are great towns everywhere as well. I call them an Archipelago of West Berlins. Everyone finds their sweet spot.

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