Middle Tennessee Region’s Resources and Tools

The Middle Tennessee region has many organizations devoted to addressing our region’s Six Issues of Regional Importance. Follow the links below to learn more about the resources and tools within each issue.

Navigating Our Future: Best Practices Case Studies from the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network

A new publication from the Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network, sponsored by the NADO Research Foundation highlights innovative community and economic development projects being implemented throughout Tennessee. Stories presented from the state’s diverse regions and communities demonstrate collaborative leadership, strategic partnerships, and implementation-funding techniques that local government, planning, and community and economic development leaders can put to use in their own communities.






Nashville Area 2035 Regional Transportation Plan

mpo2035From lush, rural, wide open spaces, to vibrant, vigorous metropolitan places; Middle Tennessee is on the move! Proud of our past and poised for the future, our region is a great American crossroads, rich in history, and shaped, in part, by visionary, transportation innovation. Since the opening of Tennessee’s first interstate highway, the population of our region has increased by nearly 1.2 million people. Over the next 25 years, we expect to welcome close to one million new citizens to our area. We stand at a new and exciting crossroads, driven by a desire to maintain the way of life that defines Middle Tennessee as we welcome the advantages of increased opportunities.

To that end, in partnership with numerous government, business, and community organizations, the Nashville Area MPO has prepared a “something‐for‐everybody” transportation plan. Already shaped by thousands of citizens, guided by commonly shared principles, this bold new vision for transportation will complement and facilitate planned growth through the year 2035.


NashvilleNext: Nashville’s General Plan

NashvilleNEXT125NashvilleNext is a three-year process to create a plan for the future of Nashville. The plan is scheduled to take effect in 2015 and guide Nashville and Davidson County through 2040. NashvilleNext has focused on five phases:

                  • Community input and speaker series
                  • Creating the vision
                  • Mapping future growth and preservation
                  • Making policy decisions
                  • Creating and adopting the plan

Over ten thousand community members have shared their thoughts and visions so far in the process. Based on community input, city planners have created three potential “futures” for what Nashville might become. Public review and input on these futures will continue as the process moves forward.


Transit Alliance Citizen Leadership Academy

transit_academyThe Transit Citizen Leadership Academy is a leadership and educational collaboration between the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee and the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University. The Academy is designed to equip private and public sector leaders across the ten counties of Middle Tennessee with the personal and group tools to lead conversations about the value of mass transit across the region and about the emerging mass transit options that can address our mass transit needs.


Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus

mayorscaucusThe Mayors’ Caucus provides a forum for the elected leaders of the cities and counties of Middle Tennessee to discuss regional issues, including transportation. Actions of the Caucus are by consensus and represent the first formal organization of elected officials with a focus on the future of our region.


Nashville Chamber Partnership 2020

Untitled-12Partnership 2020 is the Nashville region’s public/private economic development initiative responsible for the creation of jobs and capital investments through business expansions and relocations. Co-chaired by Nashville/Davidson County Mayor Karl Dean and Milton Johnson, president of HCA, Partnership 2020 is executing a five-year economic development strategy from 2011 to 2016 with funding and leadership provided by 280 corporate, association and government entities.

Since 1990, the Partnership has been the driving force for the attraction of new corporations, and the facilitation of expansions, for almost 1,000 companies, creating more than 300,000 jobs for our region.


Leadership Middle Tennessee

leadership_midtnLeadership Middle Tennessee, a regional leadership institute, was founded in 1999 as a result of the Regional Partnerships initiative of Partnership 2000. The initiative was founded in 1994 in direct response to the “lack of a regional agenda” as identified in the Partnership 2000 agenda.

Leadership Middle Tennessee serves a 10-county area: Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson.

The mission of Leadership Middle Tennessee is to broaden the regional perspective of diverse and proven community leaders. Through networking, collaboration, and strategic thinking, we are committed to developing regional leaders who can contribute to long-term solutions that sustain and balance the quality of life and economic growth for our collective unique communities.


Tennessee Rivers Trail Association

gnrc-logoThe Tennessee River Trail covers nine counties, 4 development districts and tourism councils nestled along the beautiful Tennessee River. The Tennessee River Trails Association (TRTA) is focused on economic and community development. It is the belief that the TRTA can bring increased economic development to the region by expanding tourism and recreation opportunities.

Their mission is to:

“Develop a River Trail System which will enhance recreation and tourism in the middle and west Tennessee counties bordering the Tennessee River.”

Since its beginnings, the TRTA has been awarded four grants from the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) that will result in this corridor being a part of the National Scenic Byway program. The Corridor Management Plan is available on the TRTA website. The work of the Interpretive Information Byway Grant , awarded in 2011 includes an audio driving tour and directory of local businesses.

GNRC Historic Preservation and Tourism Staff have been actively involved with the project. GNRC serves as the Grant Writer, Project Manager and contractor for the grants with TDOT. An ongoing collaboration among the 4 development districts and the tourism committees in each region have been a major force on developing the Byway story and connecting with the consultants for the project.


Regional Visioning and Scenario Planning

CRT Regional Visioning Project “A Report to the Region”

One of the first national models for regional scenario planning. From 2001 to 2003, Cumberland Region Tomorrow engaged more than 500 residents in Middle Tennessee to define a vision for the future growth of our region. The “Report to the Region” was published to help define different growth related choices and expected outcomes for our region’s future. Efforts of the Regional Visioning Project produced the following information that is still used to understand our growth and planning opportunities today:

                      • 20 Year Growth Trend Data
                      • Expected Base Case Scenario
                      • An Alternative Case Scenario


Quality Growth Resources

crt-handbookCumberland Region Tomorrow (CRT) created the Quality Growth Toolbox in 2006 to promote the adoption of innovative professional practices in community development, comprehensive planning, community reinvestment and design, strategic open space conservation, integrated land use and transportation planning, and targeted infrastructure investing. Funded by CRT, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the development of Tennessee’s first Quality Growth Toolbox has created the platform for education, technical assistance, implementation, and outreach that builds on Middle Tennessee’s regional consensus and needs. The CRT Quality Growth Toolbox has been a key element in the overall regional strategy and the major component of each of these actions.

In developing the Quality Growth Toolbox, CRT created a coalition of 150 leaders and organizations, researched best practices for growth management from all over the United States, and compiled them into a comprehensive set of guiding principles, strategies, tools, and resources for local governments to learn and apply. These are presented in the Quality Growth Toolbox in seven chapters.

In each of these interrelated chapters, the CRT Quality Growth Toolbox stresses that choosing to promote Quality Growth through comprehensive planning, community design, and implementation is the region’s best pathway to economic competitiveness. The Quality Growth Toolbox also illustrates how these actions will result in increased community and regional livability, sustainability, and ensures the wise use of fiscal and land resources.

The CRT Quality Growth Toolbox is establishing a new standard of practice that exceeds state requirements and leverages resources and expertise through collaborative leadership approaches. CRT’s efforts have achieved positive results in updated growth and development plans and strategies in eight of 10 counties in the region that are supporting local and regional implementation.

In 2013, the CRT Quality Growth Toolbox was recognized by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in the category of Education and Outreach. TDEC officials described the project as “an exemplary model of innovation, leadership, cooperation, and commitment with proven and far-reaching results that have and will continue to positively impact Tennessee’s environment and economy for generations to come.”

Workshops and Training

Cumberland Region Tomorrow offers one, two and four-hour Quality Growth Toolbox Training sessions for local officials, planning commissions, chamber and economic development organizations, community groups and design professionals. We also award Continuing Education Credit through several partner organizations like UT IPS/MTAS, APA, and Middle Tennessee AIA.

Quality Growth Technical Assistance Services

CRT facilitates Quality Growth Technical Assistance Services in our ten-county region. Some these are described in detail in the CRT “Quality Growth Toolbox Pilot Project Report”. Contact our office to learn more about Quality Growth Technical Assistance Services for your community.




Quality Growth Case Studies

Across Middle Tennessee communities are coming together to create and implement quality growth strategies through comprehensive planning. Since the release of the Quality Growth Pilot Project in 2007 several success stories have emerged in addressing the regional challenges of rapid growth, preserving open spaces and character, enhancing livability and promoting economic growth. These case studies serve as a highlight for some of the best planning practices currently happening in our region.

AIA 150 Blueprint for America

In 2008 CRT partnered with the American Institute of Architects to celebrate 150 years of the profession. In that year CRT and AIA conducted community visioning workshops in three Cumberland Region communities. These case studies are results from those workshops and are intended for local officials interested in implementing similar programs in the region.





GIS Greenprint Tools

CRT’s GIS Greenprint Tools for Quality Growth

The first of its kind in Tennessee, CRT released the GIS Greenprint: Tools for Quality Growth 3.3 in 2010. This web-based document helps planners, developers and designers in our ten-county region use GIS mapping in determining which lands are best suited for certain uses. Land types such as: agriculture, conservation, recreation, transportation, residential, natural and cultural resources and pre-existing development are included. Version 3.4, released in 2012, includes expanded GIS data layers in partnership with state-wide agencies.

GIS Greenprint User Manual

A must have companion piece for the web-based tool. The manual explains all the functions of the Greenprint and also explains the implications of the findings.


Rural Issues and Resources

Cost of Community Services Study

The Cost of Community Services Study performed by the American Farmland Trust, in partnership with CRT, analyzes revenues and expenditures on a land use basis, including: residential, commercial, industrial, and farmland within a specific fiscal year. Revenues by these land use categories and fiscal demands of public services (e.g. public safety, government administration, schools, courts, etc.) are examined to show the cost of providing these services. Results of these studies provide local government decision makers a snapshot in time of the net cost to local county governments by land use types for a particular fiscal year.


Agriculture Economic Profile for the CRT Region

The CRT Rural Agriculture Economic Profile highlights the value of the rural economy within each of the ten counties in our region. These profiles demonstrate that conserving our rural landscape is an economic decision as well as protecting beautiful places.

CRT’s GIS Greenprint Tools for Quality Growth

Our web-based publication and project is a significant part of enhancing our region’s rural economy. The information in this report is intended to provide a better basis for decision making as projected impacts and costs of land use and transportation decisions are being made and land resource conservation priorities are included in local and regional plans. Consolidated GIS information can also assist other lead agencies identify and establish land, water, natural and cultural resource priorities and use existing resources for strategic land conservation within the scope of their activities and missions.


Collaborative Leadership

CRT is nationally recognized for its innovative approach to creating regional thinking and action through a collaborative leadership model. Formed in 2000 by regional leaders and Vanderbilt University CRT’s mission to help the ten-county region grow in a sustainable manner and prosper by keeping livability and economic vitality. Since that time CRT has formed many successful partnerships in the private, public, non-profit and government sectors at the local, regional and state level.

Tennessee Regions’ Sustainable Communities Roundtable

CRT is currently in the organizational phase of creating the Tennessee Regions’ Sustainable Communities Roundtable. The purpose is to bring together public, private, and philanthropic leaders and organizations across the unique and diverse regions of Tennessee. This new state-wide network will advance joint regional Sustainable Communities efforts through knowledge and resource sharing, education, communication, and collaborative efforts.

POWER OF TEN Regional Summit

CRT hosts the annual POWER OF TEN Regional Summit which brings together local, regional, and national leaders from the business, government, design, planning, and non-profit communities to discuss our Six Issues of Regional Importance.

  • POWER OF TEN Regional Summit 2011
  • POWER OF TEN Regional Summit 2010
  • POWER OF TEN Regional Summit 2009

Perceptions on Regional Collaboration and Key Regional Issues: Prince Market Research, 2009

CRT conducted research among government, business and community leaders to learn about perceptions, opportunities and challenges in the region. The survey revealed regional leaders thoughts and perceptions on regional collaboration and issues of importance.

Clinic on Regional Collaboration, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, 2006

Cumberland Region Tomorrow and Partners Leadership Middle Tennessee and the MTSU Chair for Regional Planning applied for and were selected for one of two 2006 Clinics for Regional Collaboration. The Clinic gathered government, business and non-profit leaders to discuss the opportunities and obstacles for successful regional collaboration in our ten Middle Tennessee counties. View the Report to learn where regional leaders were in our thinking of our potential for successful regionalism and possible first step project efforts to create collaborative thinking and action in 2006.


First Regional Summits

CRT has a long history of bringing the region together. Read about the region’s first summits and the findings.

Regional Planning Summit Report Oct. 2003

The first of what would become many CRT regional summits, this report highlights the day’s findings. It includes big idea discussions for regional growth issues and the results from polling citizens on what they considered to be the most pressing challenges and opportunities for region.

Regional Planning Summit Proceedings, Dec. 1999

The first regional summit in the state of Tennessee was sponsored by the Tennessean and Vanderbilt University. The summit brought together over 300 citizens concerned about quality growth issues raised by the Peirce Reports published earlier in the year. Several topics were addressed, one of the more important was discussion of regional quality growth non-profit to guide and drive future development in the region—what would be later know as Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

The Peirce Reports: 1999

Recognizing the burgeoning trends in our region, a 1999 study sponsored by the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies and published in the Tennessean was the impetus for the formation of Cumberland Region Tomorrow. The Peirce Report gathered a broad perspective on the region’s assets and challenges, highlighting possible strategies available to deal with those challenges. A one-day Regional Planning Summit sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Greater Nashville Regional Council was organized around issues raised by The Peirce Report. Local and national speakers spoke about the current state of the region and shared best practices from other regions faced with similar growth issues.