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
Physical development and design have a wide-reaching impact on the health and vitality of cities and communities. While in recent decades, development in the United States has focused on the automobile, we are currently experiencing renewed interest in traditional design and people-oriented development.
In a recent article for The American Conservative, Strong Towns President Charles Marohn discussed the potential economic benefits for municipalities choosing to embrace and encourage traditional development. Marohn considers the traditional development approach to be a cash cow generating greater returns for taxpayers when places are scaled to people rather than cars.
According to Marohn, despite its benefits, traditional development is not allowed under many zoning ordinances today. Local zoning codes require setbacks, coverage limits, greenspace, excessive parking and minimum floor/area ratios, which often hinder traditional development and design. This not only prevents a landowner from greater financial return on the property, but also impacts the health and sustainability of a neighborhood.
Other recent presentations provide great information on the economic value to towns and cities from infill and redevelopment.
Two 2014 POWER OF TEN Regional Summit presentations by Joe Minicozzi, Principal of Urban3, and Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America, speak to similar economic benefits to towns and cities through infill/redevelopment or traditional development as Marohn calls it. Click here for more information on the 2014 summit or to view these presentations.
Also the Building Better Budgets Report released by Smart Growth America in May 2013 features a great Nashville analysis of the value of infill and redevelopment projects upon municipal budgets.
It is no secret that CRT advances community leadership along with Quality Growth planning and design actions that support strategic infill and community redevelopment. Many of our region’s towns and cities are implementing great community infill and redevelopment programs and projects that are yielding great results that allow them to realize the economic and community revitalization benefits described above.
As Nashville and the region grow, affordable housing and changing neighborhoods continue to be a main issue in planning conversations across the area. During the first phase of NashvilleNext, residents identified affordable housing as a major planning concern over the next 25 years.
In response to growing concern for affordable housing and gentrification, NashvilleNext commissioned a report by the Community Research and Action Program at Vanderbilt University to take a closer look at addressing these community concerns.
The report, Equitable Development: Promising Practices to Maximize Affordability and Minimize Displacement in Nashville’s Urban Core, identifies strategies to maintain affordable and diverse housing choices in growing neighborhoods, including:
- funding affordable housing efforts with a dedicated housing fund, and use these funds to purchase, construct, rehabilitate or preserve historic neighborhoods,
- building inclusionary housing in diverse areas throughout the county,
- preserving existing shared-equity housing and historic neighborhoods through the housing fund, and
- retaining residents by making available home-repair assistance programs to prevent displacement.
NashvilleNext efforts have worked to facilitate communitiiy conversations discussing how the 25-year master plan for Nashville will affect neighborhoods. Over the last few weeks, NashvilleNext has held public meetings for discussion on specific community plans. The final of these NashvilleNext meetings will be held on November 20 at 6p.m. at the Southeast Library Complex at the Global Mall, 2325 Hickory Highlands Drive, 37205.
Cumberland Region Tomorrow is proud to serve on the NashvilleNext steering committee and bring in regional perspectives and leaders from the public, private, and community sectors throughout the NashvilleNext process. We encourage you to be involved and up-to-date on NashvilleNext efforts.
Visit http://www.nashville.gov/Government/NashvilleNext.aspx for more information on NashvilleNext.
Click here to read Equitable Development: Promising Practices to Maximize Affordablity and Minimize Displacement in Nashville’s Urban Core.
Providing for the needs of a growing population costs money and requires sufficient infrastructure for the region to successfully function and progress. This is why infrastructure is one of our POWER OF TEN issues of regional importance.
A recently released report by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) includes a breakdown of infrastructure costs and future needs for counties across Tennessee.
According to Building Tennessee’s Tomorrow: Anticipating the State’s Infrastructure Needs, local officials from around the state reported infrastructure improvement needs of nearly $39 billion during the five-year period from June 2012 – June 2017. Almost $22 billion of this fell into the “Transportation and Utilities” category while other areas of needed infrastructure improvement included education; health, safety, and welfare; recreation and culture; economic development; and general government.
In order to develop a clearer picture of the region and our area’s infrastructure needs, CRT has compiled county-level data available in this report.
Table 1 below provides a breakdown of total infrastructure needs by county in our 10-county CRT region. According to TACIR, the CRT region has reported nearly 2,000 needed infrastructure improvement projects at an estimated cost of almost $11.5 billion.
Table 2 provides a closer look at the reported future transportation needs of the region. As illustrated in the table below, from June 2012 through June 2017, the CRT region has estimated a need of 673 transportation projects, representing over one-third of the total infrastructure projects shown in Table 1 for our region. TACIR’s report estimates the cost of these projects to close to $4.5 billion, representing 39.2% of the total estimated infrastructure costs for the region.
As we can see, heavy infrastructure investment, particularly in the area of transportation, is needed in our region and throughout the state.
Other reports have highlighted similar and related data that may be used to help inform and make future decisions as our region continues to grow. The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Vital Signs and Urban Land Institute’s Infrastructure 2014, as well as CRT’s Quality Growth Toolbox chapter on infrastructure, all provide additional information and resources for further learning on the issue of infrastructure and its impact on our region.
We invite you to explore these reports to get an up-to-date perspective and facts on our region’s true infrastructure needs.