Collaborative Action for Quality Growth
Cumberland Region Tomorrow brings people together to address regional challenges and opportunities we face with the future growth and development of Middle Tennessee. Our mission is to foster communication, collaboration and action as we help plan for the long-term livability, economic vitality and sustainability of this place we call home.
CRT is a collaborative regional partnership that works at the local, regional, state and national levels to:
• Convene regional leadership on shared issues of regional importance
• Address our regional issue of land use and Quality Growth through CRT’s Quality Growth tools, resources, and services
• Create Tennessee’s first Sustainable Communities Network through our regional, state, and national partnerships
Today, our CRT story passes along some great writing and data from Sam Warlick, now Communications Fellow at Smart Growth America. You all remember Sam who did a great job as our CRT Communications Coordinator until he left for DC in April of this year. Take a look at Sam’s great writing and sign up to receive regular updates from Sam Warlick and Smart Growth America on topics that matter to our region and state at the bottom of this SGA Smart Growth News story.
A study released last week in the Journal of Transport & Health studied “the influence of street design on public health” and found that compact, human-scale urban networks are positively correlated with better health across several categories. The study examined residents of 24 California cities for their susceptibility to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and asthma, and found lower rates of all those conditions in more densely built neighborhoods. The effect was strongest, the researchers said, in older cities with historically compact development patterns.
Those findings echoed a report released earlier this summer at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, in which researchers in Canada found substantially lower rates of obesity, overweightness and diabetes in walkable neighborhoods than in sprawling ones. The correlation proved true at both the individual and neighborhood levels, with an average 13 percent reduction in diabetes cases in walkable areas.
“This is one piece of a puzzle that we can potentially do something about,” said lead researcher Gillian Booth, MD in an American Diabetes Association press release. “As a society, we have engineered physical activity out of our lives. Every opportunity to walk, to get outside, to go to the corner store or walk our children to school can have a big impact on our risk for diabetes and becoming overweight.”
In our April report, Measuring Sprawl 2014, Smart Growth America found similar health outcomes on a larger scale. In ranking the development patterns of 221 major US metro areas, we found that people in more compact, connected areas have longer, healthier and safer lives than those in sprawled-out metro regions — from lower obesity and diabetes rates to reduced risk of fatal car crashes.
Smart Growth America
Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson counties are projected to add over 800,000 new residents and 700,000 new jobs by 2040 and remain one of the region’s and state’s most important economic engines in the coming decades. In response to this growth challenge, the Nashville Area MPO initiated the Southeast Area Transportation & Land Use Study, which draws together state, regional, and local partners to develop a preferred vision for growth and development in the area paralleling I-24 between I-40 and I-65 in Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson counties. By taking steps now to coordinate plans for future development, participating agencies and jurisdictions can put in place the multimodal transportation improvements and land use policies necessary to support long-term prosperity and quality of life throughout the study area.
You can provide your input and help plan the future of the Southeast study area by visiting SEAStudy.org to learn more about potential growth scenarios and weigh in on how you would like to see the area grow.
Input received will be used to help craft a preferred vision for growth and development. Replies will be accepted through the end of August. To learn more about the study, visit the Nashville Area MPO website.
CRT is glad to serve on the steering committee of this regional effort and connect our readers to this process that will inform the upcoming 2040 Regional Transportation Plan due out next year.
Make plans to attend the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Environmental Analysis in Transportation 2014 Joint Conference. The conference will take place August 26th -29th at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville. CRT is happy to work with Conference coordinators to organize and lead a session on Thursday, August 28th.
General conference topic areas include: linking land use and transportation, the role of social media in planning, Brownfield redevelopment, disaster planning, and regional growth initiatives. The keynote speaker for the Conference is Tom Vanderbilt, author of “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us).”
Registration is currently open but general conference registration rates end on Wednesday, August 13th. For details on how to register and to review the preliminary agenda, please visit the conference website: 2014 TN APA/TRB Environmental Analysis in Transportation (ADC10) Summer Workshop.
On Thursday, August 28th Steering Committee Members of the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network will host a session entitled “Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network—Advancing Successful Regional and Local Planning Efforts.” This session is a planning commissioner training session and will focus on how local planning actions are tied to regional implementation.
Mr. Bill Terry will provide an overview of laws and statues governing the creation and operation of planning commissions in the State of Tennessee. He will also discuss the components of a comprehensive plan and the role they play in the future growth of a community. As part of this discussion, Dr. Bridget Jones will present examples of how comprehensive plans are being implemented in local communities in Middle Tennessee in support of this region’s initiatives.
Roundtable Network Steering Committee Members Amy Brooks, Project Director of PlanET in the Knoxville/East Tennessee Region; John Zeanah, Project Director of the Mid South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan in the Memphis/West Tennessee Region; and Bridget Jones, Executive Director of Cumberland Region Tomorrow in the Nashville/Middle Tennessee Region will present updates on each region’s current regional planning and implementation activities. These presenters will also provide current updates on West, Middle, and East Tennessee regions’ current regional and aligned local planning efforts, feature regional best practices, and provide valuable resources for Planning Commissioners to learn from and use in their own local communities.
Register today for this informative and educational event!