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

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Featured Stories

Resilience and revitalization technical assistance for communities now available

In order to better serve Middle Tennessee, Cumberland Region Tomorrow works to promote awareness of potential programs and assistance for communities in our area. We would like to share this opportunity and invite communities in our region to apply for this available technical assistance.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently accepting applications for technical assistance for the implementation of smart growth approaches in communities throughout the country. Available through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, this technical assistance supports communities in their efforts to adopt sustainable smart growth strategies.

For more information, please see the EPA’s news release below or visit

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today invited communities to apply for technical assistance to implement smart growth development approaches. EPA is offering this technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program to help communities across the country, including underserved communities, coastal communities, small cities and rural areas, adopt sustainable growth strategies. The program aims to increase resilience to natural disasters and strengthen the economy while protecting human health and the environment. The Building Blocks program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to communities using tools with demonstrated results and widespread application.

Communities may apply for assistance on one or more of the following topics:

  • Bikeshare planning
  • Equitable development
  • Infill development for distressed cities
  • Sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas
  • Flood resilience for riverine and coastal communities

If selected, a community will work with an EPA-supported team of experts during a one-to-two-day workshop, where participants will learn about relevant strategies, policies, and practices.

EPA will select up to 25 communities through a competitive process. Selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

Applications will be accepted between October 23 and November 20, 2014. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the program and the application process on Thursday, October 30, 2014, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.

Since the Building Blocks program launched in 2010, EPA has provided assistance to 131 communities. In 2013 in Denver, Colo., EPA worked with the local community, stakeholder groups, and the city to help develop a plan to expand the existing bikeshare program to serve lower income neighborhoods around the Denver metro region. In 2013, EPA also worked with Beaverton, Ore. to identify how to incorporate green infrastructure techniques into Beaverton’s urban renewal plan. Beaverton subsequently received a $1 million HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, which is enabling implementation of recommendations made during the Building Blocks workshop.

More information on the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program:

More information on the webinar:

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities:

Release Date: 10/23/2014

NashvilleNext: “Preferred Future” workshops announced. Make plans to attend!


Make plans to attend one of five upcoming NashvilleNext community gatherings in October and November to see the possible future that Nashvillians picked and discuss what’s next for Nashville!

During the meeting, Metro Planning will present a “preferred future”– a direction our city and county could possibly take over the next 25 years. This “preferred future” is based on thousands of comments by and conversations with community members over the past year and a half.

Public input on this “preferred future” will help shape a draft General Plan which will guideNashville community’s growth, progress, and preservation through 2040.

CRT’s role with NashvilleNext is to engage our ten county region’s leaders in the development of a unified vision and plan for Nashville’s future growth and development. Please take the time to attend and provide your input at one of these important community meetings:

Thursday, October 30th at 5 pm–Rocketown (601 Fourth Avenue South)
Monday, November 3rd at 6pm–Whites Creek High School
Thursday, November 6th at 6pm–Hillwood High School
Monday, November 10th at 6pm–McGavock High School
Thursday, November 20th at 6 pm –Southeast Library Complex (at the Global Mall)

For additional information, visit the NashvilleNext website.

Salt Lake City Region’s Collaboration and Transportation/Transit Successes

The Salt Lake City Region of Utah has seen great success in creating a shared vision by strategically communicating and educating, getting wide-spread consensus, doing the necessary design and planning, and working collaboratively to fund and implement their regional transit system that is accomplishing many shared goals and providing equitable service to their region.

Boarding the first FrontRunner commuter train from Provo to Salt Lake City. Flickr photo by Steven Vance  -

Boarding the first FrontRunner commuter train from Provo to Salt Lake City. Flickr photo by Steven Vance

Here in Middle Tennessee, we can learn from their collaborative methods and shared success.

The Salt Lake City region’s leaders and organizations have successfully linked regional transportation and transit investments to their community and economic development, housing creation, and natural resource goals while leveraging their infrastructure investments. Unparalleled collaboration among several lead regional groups, state and local governments, business and citizen leaders is the secret sauce to their successful efforts,

By working together and maximizing each group’s expertise, resources, and contacts, the Salt Lake City region’s leaders can show other regions how to collaborate and implement regional efforts like transit system funding and development that works in the context of shared regional goals and provides services for all of their region’s communities.

Cumberland Region Tomorrow has been tracking best practices from Envision Utah for all 14 years of our existence since we were both early in the game of regional visioning, planning and implementation exercises, which are now more prevalent across the country. Both of our groups led regional visioning projects with many partners and John Fregonese’s services. Both of our regions took the next step to implement regional visioning findings through Quality Growth Toolbox services delivered in partnership with local governments in their regions.

Envision Utah leaders visited Middle Tennessee to kick off our CRT toolbox project organizational effort in the Fall of 2004. Past Envision Utah Executive Director Alan Matheson also spoke at our 2011 POWER of Ten Regional Summit and told the story about that region’s efforts at that point in time. Click here to check out Alan’s 2011 presentation.

Take a few minutes to read this great Salt Lake City region’s story provided by Transportation for America (T4A) to learn how all of the Salt Lake region’s lead groups have had a hand in their region’s shared successes. T4A is a project of Smart Growth America. CRT, the Nashville MPO, the Nashville Chamber, and Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee work with T4A programs in support of our programming and our work in our region’s efforts. Sign up today to receive future T4A e-newsletters to learn from other successful region’s transportation and transit efforts.

Intermountain miracle: 140 miles of rail in 15 years

Salt Lake’s transportation investments fuel prosperity
A can-do story of inclusive planning, bipartisan support and ambitious investments


In 1994, Salt Lake City didn’t have a single mile of high capacity public transit. Now, between their commuter rail, light rail, and a brand new streetcar, they have about 140 miles. How did this metro area on the edge of the desert pull off such a feat? Amidst the usual stories of partisan gridlock, Utah stands out as a model of collaborative planning among citizens, elected leaders, the business community and others. Together they managed to stare down a recession while making transportation investments that accommodate projected population growth and bolster the economy and quality of life.

It’s another inspiring story of a “can-do” region. See how they did it in this in-depth profile, the latest installment of our ongoing series — and share it widely.

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