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What Can Knoxville Do to Improve?

April 15, 2009

One of my comments over at a local Knoxville blog, The Sunsphere is Not a Wigshop, spurred another post about what improvements Knoxville could make to make it more pedestrian, bicycle, and transit friendly. The original post showed a sketch of what downtown Knoxville looked like in 1921. What I immediately noticed was that so many of the great buildings — whole blocks in some cases — were gone now and replaced by huge parking decks and monstrous concrete buildings that dwarf the old buildings. This concerned me, because those old buildings are what I think people really like about downtown Knoxville. The old buildings are architecturally diverse, they are close to the street, each has an inviting storefront, and they are usually not more than five stories high. All those characteristics make the area, especially S. Gay Street and Market Square, very people friendly. People enjoy being there because they feel nourished by that style of urban design. Unfortunately, we lost alot of that in decades past when people weren’t forward thinking enough to realize what they were doing when they demolished these old buildings. But the past is the past and we have to move forward now and see how we can improve upon what is there now. Stop on over to the Wigsphere blog for a visit.

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