Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Meet the new next, same as the old next: why some local neighbors have little faith in Metro Planning's latest gimmicks to promote their ideas of development

Back in 2013, one neighborhood leader wrote the following to an online forum:

Residents have been made to follow the historic design guidelines for a generation, guidelines they were told must be consistent in terms of the "community character." And they were led to believe that community character is defined as:
The image of a community or area defined by such factors as its built environment, natural features and open space elements, types of housing...(and) to preserve the general character of the neighborhood as characterized by its development pattern, building form, land use and associated public realm. These areas will experience some change over time but efforts should be made to retain the existing character…
Now ..., residents are being told the community character only involves the specific design elements of buildings that can been seen from the street. Nothing abut green space, the space between buildings, the alignment of buildings, or the number of residents - or anything else the residents consider as community character - may be considered, they are told.

Residents are concerned that the new high-density cottage development with a minimum of yard space will attract a different demographic - one that is not interested in yards and gardens. They are concerned of attracting a younger demographic of single persons - such as college students - with too many cars and pets and friends to comfortably fit onto a 150 by 165 foot lot along with eight cottages.

My considered suspicion of Nashville Next is often met with disbelief, defensiveness and frustration by those who enthusiastically participated in its process or those who believe it changes nothing about past community planning.

But Nashville Next has been the next stunt to lead neighbors into believing that they have influence over their community's character, when in reality they little. Planners shift paradigms and communities are thrown off balance. Market-driven developers, power-hoarding politicians and esoteric new urbanists have the strongest hold of the reigns of planning of anyone.

It was so in 2013. It is so in 2014. And it will be so in 2015.

1 comment:

  1. The Metro Planning Department is the most expensive dog- and- pony show your tax dollars can buy. And look who is running for council now to make sure there are votes for the developers; the appointed neighborhood leaders of Nashville Next, Sledge and Syracuse to name a few.

    Too many good leaders were using the community character manual to protect the character of the neighborhoods. So let's change the rules again.

    Same sh1t, different show.

    And how much of our tax dollars did the city pay for fireworks downtown? A lot of sidewalks went up in smoke that night.