by Pam Coyle
Imagine greater Nashville with 1 million more people. Imagine our metro area is the size of Denver’s.
- Now imagine what Nashville could be like in 25 years if we don’t creatively plan for such growth. By 2040, the region will absorb 1 million more people, the ratio of “traditional” families will change, Millennials will dominate the workforce and Middle Tennessee will be even more diverse.
NashvilleNext is a broad effort to involve the community – as in real people who live and work here – in creating a vision for the city’s future. An event at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Nashville Public Library starts an 18-month phase of gathering residents’ input on shaping a vibrant, livable Nashville.
Women have great imaginations.
We imagine worst-case scenarios all the time, with our children, our health, our jobs and even our commutes and parking. Not to overgeneralize, but women are planners. How else do you think it all gets done every day?
Now imagine we turn that attention to molding a city that works for us. NashvilleNext goes beyond land use planning to the arts, education, poverty, the environment, public safety and transportation. The public input process will ask residents to prioritize items through “scenario planning” and evaluated trade-offs because even though Nashville is and will be awesome – we cannot have it all. Some examples of this approach:
- Are we willing to increase housing density in parts of the city to preserve and create more parks and green space?
- Do we want better public transportation access so working parents can get to work in less costly ways and save for their children’s education?
- If we want “activity nodes” that help define a neighborhood, where can we site new schools, and where can we live without sidewalks?
- How can we accommodate a younger workforce that wants to walk or bike to work?
Real-world planning is about trade-offs, and NashvilleNext will be public, open and transparent. Project leaders have studied what Austin, Texas; Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; Chicago and other cities have done. Now it is our turn.
In 2040, Nashville itself will have 30% more people than it does now; Rutherford and Williamson counties will top 500,000 residents each. So if you want to be part of the big changes that are coming, get involved! You can share your own ideas and see what other Nashvillians are saying on MindMixer. Your input is so important that NashvilleNext will give out rewards for the most engaged citizens on MindMixer – free tours, gift cards, even a B-cycle membership if you’re lucky!
We can take part in planning for it or sit back and complain later. Here at All About Women, we don’t think complaining is healthy.
For more information call 615-862-NEXT (6398).