Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Explains How Nashville Can Boost Sustainability and Healthy Living Policies to Be More Inclusive
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Explains How Nashville Can Boost Sustainability and Healthy Living Policies to Be More Inclusive

Washington, D.C. — In response to rapid economic and population growth over the last decade and guided by the NashvilleNext strategic plan, the Nashville-Davidson metro government of Tennessee has taken steps to improve environment and livability standards. The Center for American Progress released an issue brief looking at the Livable Nashville draft plan, put forth by the mayor’s office in Nashville, and shows how the city can use sustainable and healthy living policies to improve quality of life and extend prosperity for all city residents.

The brief discusses ways to strengthen the recommendations made in the Livable Nashville draft plan, including efforts to increase energy efficiency in housing and small businesses; expand green infrastructure, such as a tree canopy and community gardens; and make transit and mobility plans more inclusive in order to level the playing field for historically underserved communities.

“The draft plan is a positive step toward making Nashville’s future healthier and more sustainable, but prioritizing improvements in communities that need them most can make it stronger,” said Miranda Peterson, Research Associate for the Energy and Environmental Policy team at CAP and co-author of the brief. “Nashville has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and it has an opportunity to become a national model for well-managed, climate-smart, and inclusive growth.”

Due to the nationwide housing market crash in 2008, Nashville—with its low housing costs and business-friendly atmosphere—became an attractive place to move and start a business. The area saw a population increase of 8.5 percent over the course of a few years, making it the third-fastest-growing metro area in the country.

Unfortunately, Nashville’s history is rife with environmental injustices and policies that have primarily benefited white middle- to higher-income residents. Previous, transit, economic, and public health policymaking often left lower-income white and communities of color behind. Many of the metro government’s past and present efforts to jumpstart economic development and job creation in historically neglected communities have been pre-empted by the conservative Tennessee General Assembly. Stronger and more frequent extreme weather disasters driven by climate change are exacerbating existing challenges in Nashville’s low-income communities and communities of color, including health problems; financial instability; and access to healthy food, clean air and water, and quality and affordable housing.

Click here to read the brief.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.