Jeffrey Bostick, Taking Downtown to the Next Level: An Assessment of the Downtown Chattanooga Plan For Sustainable Development
Faculty Chair: Dr. John Tucker
Today, many cities are looking to change the paradigm of development that is centered on economic progress at the expense of the environment. Land-use management schemes are inefficient. Central business districts have become abandoned and damaged areas. Revitalization has been the key to making positive changes. Chattanooga, Tennessee is one of the cities that has revitalized its central business district to bring new life, new development, and a place where people can coexist with the natural environment.
The objective of this study is to assess sustainable development during the revitalization of the Chattanooga, Tennessee central business district. The revitalization of the Chattanooga central business district has been an ongoing process. Several aspects of sustainable development have been incorporated into the downtown development plan in order to maintain environmental integrity along with economic growth.
The study methodology involves a three step approach: 1) review of Agenda-21,
which is the "blueprint" for sustainable development that was established at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 2) identification of some key principles to use as a baseline to measure Chattanooga's progress toward sustainable development, and 3) evaluation of Chattanooga's revitalization of its Central Business District Agenda-21 in achieving the baseline measures of sustainability. The methods that will be used will involve creating a working definition for sustainability to guide land-use management goals in developing the central business district. Sustainability and sustainable development are synonymous when discussing rebuilding or changing the central business district; thus it will be an integral part of this study to define these two concepts.
Measuring sustainable development will be done by examining data from
literature reviews and information from the city planning and design office. This study finds that the central business district of Chattanooga has maintained a sense of environmental awareness during its revitalization process by focusing on recycling, reuse, and the redevelopment of land in the central business district of Chattanooga. Although the study finds the City has made substantial progress toward sustainability, it includes several recommendations to assist the city in its goals to promote economic and environmental harmony. A key recommendation is that the city fully embrace the concept that environmental harmony revolves around the principle of development being cyclical. During development there is recycling, rebirth, and re-development in the same manner as the natural lifecycle in the environment cycles. The highly successful re-development of properties in Chattanooga's central business district, such as the Coolidge Park, BellSouth Park Baseball Stadium, and the new Electric Power Board Facility, illustrate the importance of the principle.