On October 3rd, nearly 300 residents of the Nashville region joined together to discuss some of the most important issues facing the region – transportation, housing, the preservation of natural and working lands, and economic development.
Keynote presenter Chuck Marohn, Jr, co-founder and president of Strong Towns, provided a thought-provoking presentation. He discussed how cities and towns can grow wealth and foster stability by making better land use decisions and investments. He argued that efforts don’t have to be huge to make significant impact on communities. Advocating for small, incremental efforts, he advised participants to:
Humbly observe where people in the community struggle.
Ask the question; What is the next smallest thing we can do right now to address that struggle?
Do that thing. Do it right now.
Marohn’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion between Anthony Holt, Mayor of Sumner County; Mayor Mary Esther Reed, Mayor of Smyrna; Lucy Kempf, Executive Director or Metro Planning; and Jeff Tyndall, Director of Clarksville/Montgomery Co. Regional Planning Commission. Facilitated by David Plazas (USA Today – TN), the panel discussed the need to encourage more housing options to address changing demographics, as well as affordability. Mayor Holt stressed the need to plan for all residents, stating “I believe it’s so important that we plan communities for everybody.” Mayor Reed concluded the panel imploring attendees to work together – “We are all in this together. We have an opportunity to make things better in our community and our region. You are all doing that by being here today.”
The remainder of the summit consisted of six breakout panels that allowed attendees to discuss many of the issues facing the region – traffic congestion, the threat to natural and working lands, and a lack of housing options to name a few – and explore planning, design, and policy solutions.