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Old 06-22-2016, 09:42 PM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,629 posts, read 65,702,316 times
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Just poked my nose into this thread because I'm a demographics junkie. Very interesting information! Thanks for sharing!

As an outsider who has been to Memphis several times for a week at a time for work and briefly to Nashville as a stopover point I always thought Nashville felt larger than Memphis, so it's no surprise to me that now in 2016 that may actually be the case.

I've always wanted to explore both Knoxville and Chattanooga and am happy to see that both cities are holding their own. Which of these cities do you think feels more "urban"---denser urban core (not necessarily taller buildings); more walkable residential neighborhoods contiguous with Downtown; more mixed-use "infill" redevelopment projects; etc.? Do you think Knoxville benefits more from being closer to the Great Smoky Mountain tourist areas or that Chattanooga benefits more from being closer to Metro Atlanta? I've heard there's a huge car factory in Chattanooga (Volkswagen?). What is the largest private employer in Knoxville? Do you think one will have a growth rate that will accelerate more rapidly in the coming years than the other?
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Old 06-23-2016, 01:31 AM
Location: Cookeville/Crossville
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To me, Chattanooga's downtown area seems more urban and walkable, but Knoxville is overall more "urban" just because there are more areas of the city for shopping, offices, etc. That probably doesn't make sense, but it's a personal observation.

Chattanooga is already heating up, but I think it will take off in the next few years. Chattanooga's downtown is leaps and bounds above Knoxville's.

I think Knoxville probably benefits most from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. I know these aren't private but they're big drivers to the area's economy.

Chattanooga definitely benefits from being close to Atlanta.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:03 AM
Location: Seattle
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I agree. Chattanooga seems more urban but smaller. Knoxville the reverse.

Knoxville was the darling child of transportation engineers in the 1960s-1980s and the terrible effects of that are that the already small downtown is hemmed in at all sides, which reduces its urban feeling. Still, Cumberland Avenue is becoming much more urban than it was even in 2006-2008 when I lived there. And, Central Avenue north through Happy Holler is also becoming a little more urban.

For walkable neighborhoods, it's hard to beat Memphis. For infill, it's hard to beat Nashville. The other two of the "big 4" can hardly touch these relative giants in the state.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:44 PM
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Being from Pittsburgh, you'd find Chattanooga more interesting and "cool" downtown as it has lots of nooks and crannies containing residential and entertainment venues. It does cater to tourists (very much), but it has an industrial past that you may find interesting (if not completely familiar).

When in Chattanooga, it helps to remember that the city did not see much growth for about fifty years after WW2. Only after it started to capitalize on its assets (riverfront, aquarium, Choo Choo, Bluff View, Missionary Ridge, surrounding mountains, Civil War sites, and more recently food) did it begin to see an influx of interested tourists and now lots of people wanting to move there. It has a great entrepreneurial and charitable spirit. And the size is quite comfortable, especially when you consider its proximity to Atlanta and Nashville.
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:29 PM
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I hope you will have time to visit both, even if it just a quick mealtime visit to Market Square. If you like art, visit armstrongs alley between Mkt Sq and Gay st. If there is a band /act you'd like to see at the Tn Theater or Bijou I recommend staying over as those theaters are destinations by themselves. The old city is a good place for nightlife if you are in town.

Chattanooga is known as a tourist destination. Besides the Aquarium there are lots of attractions on the outskirts. Its downtown has a larger footprint, in contrast Knoxville's commercial areas are more concentrated.

more mixed-use "infill" redevelopment projects;
Chattanooga has lots of new mixed use on the north shore, but I don't recall that the businesses were geared to the casual visitor. Knoxville's mixed uses are mostly in older buildings with commercial offerings (bars restaurants, retail) that would appeal to a visitor.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:22 PM
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Memphis is pretty good about having sidewalks in most neighborboods (Nashville is not), but my hometown is still only "walkable" in the sense of going for a leisurely stroll when the weather is nice. Walking to get somewhere in particular is not a convenience we enjoy. And I live in an older neighborhood inside the 240 loop.
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