University of Tennessee Design Studio

A New East Bank Neighborhood in Nashville

A New East Bank Neighborhood in Nashville

During the Spring 2016 Semester, The Greater Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) requested the fourth year undergraduate Nashville Urban Design Studio to explore a proposal for a “New East Bank Neighborhood in Nashville.” The site is on the Cumberland River, just across from Downtown Nashville’s skyline. At the present time, despite its proximate location, it is an industrial wasteland: what urban theorist Alan Berger terms a Drosscape. The site is inherently bounded and constrained by the CSX mainline railroad embankment to the north, the elevated embankment of the I-65 interstate highway to the east, the Woodland Street embankment and extensive football stadium parking lots to the south, and the Cumberland River to the west. Nonetheless, with downtown Nashville’s extraordinary building boom ongoing, with no end in sight, this 55-acre location would seem ripe for urban redevelopment.

Placemaking: Challenges + Opportunities in Metro Nashville

Placemaking: Challenges + Opportunities in Metro Nashville

The Project for Public Spaces, on their organization’s web site, asks “what if we built our communities around places?” They then go on to define Placemaking as “both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community.  Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, Placemaking refers to a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.  More than just promoting better urban design, Placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.”

Each team asked the questions “could the spaces proposed improve pedestrian, bicycle, and street connectivity?  Could they maintain and/or strengthen street and/or bike and pedestrian connections depending on the site?”  The intent was to promote walkable, bike-friendly environments and access to transit, with particular attention to providing connections between the proposed spaces and surrounding neighborhoods.

Access and Livability: Transit-Oriented Development, The Franklin Corridor Preview

Access and Livability: Transit-Oriented Development, The Franklin Corridor

As Nashville’s economy and population booms, creating new opportunities for transit will help keep our communities healthy and prosperous. Currently, Nashville is a car-centric city leaving most of its people with the automobile as the only option for transportation. As driving costs, obesity rates, and the median age of the population continue to increase, providing transportation options becomes a priority to ensure public health and continued mobility. 

Access and Livability, The Missing Middle: Retrofitting the Centers and Corridors of Nashville

Access and Livability, The Missing Middle: Retrofitting the Centers and Corridors of Nashville

Nashville has an increasing and diverse demand for affordable housing. Past and current growth trends have led to concentrated poverty and gentrification throughout the city. As these issues are seen across the U.S., Daniel Parolek identifies “Missing Middle” housing as a solution to this mismatch between current U.S. housing and shifting demographics.

Nashville's Boathouse: Connecting Community to the Cumberland

Nashville's Boathouse: Connecting Community to the Cumberland

The vision for Nashville’s Riverfront is one that is aimed towards defining and enhancing the unique cultural identity of Music City, USA. As a thriving commercial and industrial district, Nashville’s focus on providing a vibrant waterfront experience for all has recently been bolstered by newly-constructed or renovated landmarks.

Nashville Urban Design Program, Tennessee Concrete Association Headquarters + Campus Development

Nashville Urban Design Program, Tennessee Concrete Association Headquarters + Campus Development

Summer Session One was comprised of ten students enrolled in ARCH 483: Urban Design Vertical Studio. This course addresses urban design projects responding to specific Greater Nashville conditions, with exploration of urban issues in understanding and making the city’s architecture. Student investigations analyze cultural, physical and environmental influences on architectural form, space and structure. Summer Session Two was ARCH 465: Directed Research. With a faculty member’s scholarship, each student works on a specific topic or project related to that faculty member’s area of expertise, research, scholarship, or creative activity. The product seeks to become a publication.

Access and Livability: Transit Oriented Development, Nashville’s Northwest Link

Access and Livability: Transit Oriented Development, Nashville’s Northwest Link

This book explores case studies of successful transit-oriented developments from around the United States and offers recommendations for a route along Middle Tennessee’s northwest corridor, a critical route from Nashville to Clarksville. This corridor was originally identified in the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) as a key connection in Middle Tennessee’s mass transit vision. This recommendation was supported by the MPO’s 2008 feasibility study which produced potential alignments for commuter rail, route improvements, capital costs and preliminary operations budget for the corridor between Clarksville and Nashville. Expanding upon that work, in early 2015 the MPO and the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) launched a Northwest Corridor Study to examine cost effective transit improvements in the northwest corridor to connect travelers to destinations (work, school, shopping, entertainment, etc.) and address anticipated traffic congestion.

Access and Livability: Neighborhood Infill Strategies, Developing Davidson County

Access and Livability: Neighborhood Infill Strategies, Developing Davidson County

Metro Nashville is projected to add 200,000 new residents and approximately 300,000 new jobs over the next 25 years. In order to accommodate this influx of growth, Metro must be responsive and proactive in how we design our city and county. While we expect a fair amount of re-development in the urban core as well as greenfield development in the region’s outer reaches, it’s the places in-between that have the most potential. Nashville Next, the general plan for Nashville’s future, calls for city’s pikes and the centers located at their crossroads, to be the areas that will accommodate new residents and workers as we grow. Therefore retrofitting these suburban areas and re- imagining them as mixed-use, vibrant places is imperative to the success of Nashville’s future. These suburban locales offer both a tremendous challenge and a great opportunity for redevelopment in the coming decades.

Centennial Park Visitor Center

Centennial Park Visitor Center

University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design student concepts for a visitor center at Centennial Park.

New Schools For Downtown Nashville

New Schools For Downtown Nashville

The addition of two new schools in downtown could have a dramatic positive affect on the growth and new development in the urban core of Nashville, reversing the trends of suburbanization and promoting a more urban and sustainable lifestyle. In the book Urban Design, author Jon Lang describes the idea behind “plug-in urban design,” as the strategic placement of infrastructure in a city to spur development and/or unify development, incentivize owners, and boost an area’s competitive advantage. Lang complements his discussion of plug-in design by examining the recent construction of two schools in Chattanooga: “[Schools] are part of every day life. Good schools are essential in attracting middle-income families to live nearby. The catalytic effect is social, economic, and physical.”

Access and Livability: Transit Village Planning and Design, Trinity Lane Preview

Access and Livability: Transit Village Planning and Design, Trinity Lane

This publication focuses on the implementation of transit development due to increasing population and urban growth. This development is a result of the growth in the BRT line along Gallatin Pike, and also an outlook on transit-ready development (TRD). The objectives of this publication includes, “communicating the role of transit-oriented development, evaluating successful TRD precedents, charting Nashville’s progress on implementation, and the featuring of existing projects that emphasize goals of compact, mixed-use development.” 

Micro Unit Housing

Micro Unit Housing

Urban Design Vertical Studio was a course  that addressed urban design projects responding to specific Greater Nashville conditions, with exploration of urban issues in understanding and making the city’s architecture. Student investigations analyze cultural, physical and environmental influences on architectural form, space and structure. A second session, Directed Research, was were each student worked on a specific topic or project related to that faculty member’s area of expertise, research, scholarship, or creative activity.

Urban Infill Concepts: Along Nashville's East-West Connector Corridor

Urban Infill Concepts: Along Nashville's East-West Connector Corridor

Urban infill development allows cities to reclaim vacant or underutilized land by encouraging a greater mixture of residential, retail, and employment opportunities, this usually includes the integration of health-conscience land uses; such as open space for productive urban gardens, commercial horticulture, and even neighborhood playgrounds. Urban infill is crucial for providing space for transit infrastructure as well as development close to transit stations in the form of transit-oriented development (TOD) areas.

Transit-Oriented Development for Nashville: Learning from Europe

Transit-Oriented Development for Nashville: Learning from Europe

A popular movement in the past decade has been to implement transit oriented development in city planning. Transit-oriented development, or TOD, is nationally characterized as mixed-use development located within a 2,000 feet diameter from a mass transit center. However, the typical format for TOD in the United States, initiated by Peter Calthorpe and fermented in the West Coast, lacks consideration in sustainability and authenticity. On the other hand, TOD has been wildly more successful in European cities than in America (as is reflected in the percentage of individuals that use public transportation) by implementing an integrated transportation system that combines different modes of mobility (rail, tram, metro, bus, car, bike and pedestrian).

Reconnecting Nashville’s Downtown and Midtown: Capping the Interstate

Reconnecting Nashville’s Downtown and Midtown: Capping the Interstate

The distinct nature of Nashville’s Interstate Loop as a corridor around the city has created a fissure in the topography of Nashville. Both the downtown and midtown districts are divided by the Interstate canyon. It is a significant urban fissure, in that it is a transitional zone where commuters and travelers arrive and depart the city. Intense traffic entering and exiting the Interstate discourages pedestrians and cyclists from traversing the gap. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) has designated almost all of this area a blighted Redevelopment Zone. Unfortunately, the site’s present condition forces its proximity and excellent views of downtown to be overlooked. It is the proposal of the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to explore platforming over 3,800 linear feet of the Interstate “Canyon,” south of Church Street and north of 12th Avenue, in order to develop an air rights linear green space.

In Search of a New Home for the Nashville Sounds

In Search of a New Home for the Nashville Sounds

The Nashville Sounds are Middle Tennessee’s AAA minor league baseball team. They had been playing at Herschel Greer Stadium (capacity 10,300), which is located in Fort Negley Park, since 1978. The facilities, while having served Nashville well, left much to be desired when compared to other cities’ more modern AAA stadiums. Its location made accessing the stadium difficult for newcomers, and it did little to engage or enhance its built environment.

Developing With Transit Preview

Developing With Transit

Developing with Transit is a project of the Nashville Civic Design Center in partnership with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). This study was made possible by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration.