Vision 2000, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The revitalized Chattanooga Riverfront
The Tennessee River has become the geographic and social center of the region and continues to attract residents and visitors. The Tennessee Aquarium has been a catalyst for the redevelopment and is the most visible symbol of the city’s renaissance. Image courtesy The River City Company.
Vision 2000, one of the first vision programs in the country, triggered this city’s physical, environmental, and social transformation. Gianni Longo designed the process together with a small group of committed citizens. It ignited a trend toward inclusivity and transparency in planning and it became a model for communities throughout the nation.
Several dozen citizens assisted by the Lyndhurst Foundation formed Chattanooga Venture, an inclusive organization that involved hundreds of people in an inclusive effort to set bold goals for the future of the community. Vision 2000 engaged 1,500 participants in 24 community meetings, six forums, and numerous workshops. It culminated in the creation of a “Commitment Portfolio,” which included a total of 40 goals for the City. It also expressed a broader vision for Chattanooga: “To become the “best mid-size City in the country.” Inspired by that goal, dozens of citizens led task forces initiated the process of implementing the vision.
Nearly two billion dollars in investments in the community can be traced to the original 40 goals of Vision 2000. They include construction of a $45 million Tennessee Aquarium, the Riverwalk along the Tennessee River, downtown housing, the preservation of historic buildings and structures, and the dramatic turn around of neighborhoods to the south and the north of downtown. Perhaps the most striking change though is the City’s environmental reversal: Chattanooga is now hailed as a model for sustainable development, has become one of the most environmentally progressive cities in the nation and a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.
Vision 2000 and Chattanooga Venture have been recognized national and internationally for the innovations in the public engagement process and the transformative quality of its implementation.