Friday, December 5, 2014

Is gentrification threatening Nashville's soul. I don't think so.

In an article which appeared on the Op-ed page of the New York Times, the author says gentrification is threatening Nashville's soul. I don't know that I agree with this. I think the high rises and the honky tonks can co-exist. There are still lots of dive bars with character and the mass influx of tourist create an audience for Nashville's musicians. There are still many good meat-and-threes where you can get real food at a reasonable price. New music venues are springing up which add to Nashville's status as "music city." We have protections in place to protect the character of lower Broad.  Studio A was threatened but it was saved.

I don't see the replacement of small homes with large homes as necessarily a bad thing. At the same time that that is happening, many older home are being restored to their former glory.  Increased property values may cause some modest income people locating to Nashville to move to Antioch, Mt. Juliet or Lavern rather than close in to downtown, but more affluent people moving to Nashville may live close in to Nashville rather than Brentwood or Franklin. Having higher property values means more tax revenue without raising taxes.

A lot of the new development that is taking place downtown, such as the SoBro area, is replacing ugly concrete block one-story buildings, over grown lots and parking lots. I am not one for preserving parking lots. While I wish there was less urban sprawl, since I don't commute, it doesn't really effect me. The infill development in Nashville is combating additional urban sprawl.  Increased density along our major corridors will make mass transit more likely and affordable.

As we move forward I hope we can maintain the character of our city. I don't want us to become "another Atlanta" but I think so far we have grown in a responsible way.  Having been in Nashville and closely observed Nashville growth for a long time and being one who participates in the things our city has to offer, I don't think "the good ole days" were better. This may be the golden era of our city. I am just pleased that we are important enough to merit a lengthy op-ed piece in the New York Times. Read the piece at this link: High Rises vs. Honky Tonks.

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