Exploring Chattanooga Vanguard Style

May 1, 2014 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Can Jacksonville learn anything from a smaller Sunbelt city? Metro Jacksonville's Ennis Davis answers this and more by sharing his experience at last week's Next City 2014 Vanguard Conference.

Downtown Chattanooga Overview

Downtown Chattanooga's renaissance revolves in large part around efforts to create diverse, affordable housing. Urban neighborhoods with a wide range of houses, townhouses, condos and apartments abound. Whether new, modern construction or revitalized historic buildings, Chattanooga has something to offer every taste and budget.

What's more, nearly every renewed urban neighborhood is in very close proximity by foot, bike or free electric bus from nearly every major downtown employer, school, restaurant, entertainment venue or attraction.

Chattanooga is one of the most progressive and livable mid-size cities in the U.S. In the past decade alone, the city has won three national awards for outstanding "livability", and nine Gunther Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in housing and consolidated planning.


Once an early 20th century industrial district, the Southside starts just south of 12th Street, running down to 20th Street. The Southside area is the focus of creating a sustainable urban neighborhood with various housing options, parks, restaurants, retailers, grocers and small businesses.  Home to the famed Chattanooga Choo Choo, Warehouse Row, the Camp House and the Crash Pad, 2014 Vanguards spent most of their time in this downtown district.

Who said you need a car to use a drive in ATM machine?

Like a family reunion. 2013 Vanguards from left to right: Nicholas Hamilton (Project Manager, The American Assembly - New York, NY), Eric Shaw (Director of Community and Economic Development, Salt Lake City Corporation), Allison Joe (Deputy Director, California Strategic Growth Council/Office of the Governor - Sacramento, CA), Mallory Baches (Founder/Director, The Civic Hub - Beaufort, SC), Paul Supawanich (Transportation Planner, NelsonNygaard, San Franscisco, CA), Jason Clement (Director of Community Outreach, National Trust for Historic Preservation - Washington, DC) and Ennis Davis (Urban Planner, Metro Jacksonville).

The Chattanooga Choo Choo

Having fun with 2013 Vanguards Mallory Baches and Allison Joe.

Hanging out with two bright members from the 2014 class at the Camp House. From left to right: William Tate (Founder, TateSpace LLC - Paterson, NJ), Ennis Davis, and Rondell Crier (Community Artist, Studio Everything & Rondell Crier Design - Chattanooga, TN).

2014 Vanguard Mike Field (Transform Jax Co-Founder, Jacksonville) and his lovely lady Caron Streibich

The North team preparing for the Chattanooga Challenge competition. From left to right: Lindsey Scannapieco (London, UK, Ashley Hand (Chief Innovation Officer, City of Kansas City), Rondell Crier (Studio Everything & Rondell Crier Design - Chattanooga, TN), Lisa Hook (Senior Program Officer, The Asia Foundation - San Francisco, CA), Julie Ulrich (Urban Strategies & Watershed Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy - Philadelphia, PA), Michael Kaufmann (Director of Special Projects and Civic Investment, Health and Hospital Corporation - Indianapolis, IN), Justin Garret Moore (Senior Urban Designer, NYC Department of City Planning), and Kim Szeto (Farm to School Coordinator, Boston Public Schools).

Taking a picture of 2012 Vanguard Patrick McDonnell, who happened to be taking a picture of a bicycle.

A former rail line converted into a linear park.

Tree lined streets, awnings and covered walkways make walking in Chattanooga pretty comfortable.

Left to right: Manasvi Menon (Associate, Parsons Brinckerhoff - Brooklyn, NY) and Cristina Garmendia (Co-Founder, OpportunitySpace - Allston, MA) showing off their presentation skills at the Chattanooga Challenge.

Birthday girl and Next City's Programming and Development Manager, Liz Maillie, not realizing she's being zoomed in on from across the street.

Representing Jacksonville. Ennis Davis (2013 class) and Mike Field (2014 class).

2014 Vanguard Chattanooga Challenge Teams

North Team

West Team

East Team

South Team

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