The future of sustainable and green growth in Nashville will be fueled by effective mass transportation, according to a panel the local chapter of the Urban Land Institute assembled for a Thursday morning event at LP Field.
Speaking before more than 100 attendees — and with a rain-soaked Nashville skyline as a dramatic backdrop — the panel stressed the potential Mayor Karl Dean’s planned East/West Connector bus rapid transit (BRT) line has for spurring growth.
The city will see a “relationship between transportation and land use,” Ed Cole, executive director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, told the audience.
Cole’s comments followed a 45-minute presentation by Sadhu Johnston, deputy city manager for Vancouver and former sustainability director in the mayor’s office in Chicago, and called “Sustainability: An Engine for Economic Development…Why should we build it? Why do we care?”
Johnston said Vancouver officials have strived to make the Canadian city’s core green and livable. Since 1996, Vancouver has seen a 75 percent increase in its downtown residents.
“How do we bring more vibrancy to our streets?” he asked those assembled, perhaps subtly referencing Nashville’s pedestrian-lacking public realm.
Jimmy Granbery, CEO of H.G. Hill Realty, said the BRT line will offer significant opportunity for redevelopment and the rise of building- and people-dense nodes.
“It will be fun to watch our tenants take advantage of [sustainable] opportunities that help their bottom line,” he said.
The two other panelists were Laurel Creech, Dean’s chief service officer, and Mark Deutschmann, founder of Village Real Estate Services and a partner with Core Development. David Kleinfelter, an attorney with Reno & Cavanaugh, moderated.