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Creating a Livable Chattanooga for All Ages – 2009


This report details a workshop co-hosted by Partners for Livable Communities (PLC) and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) to explore continued ways of making Chattanooga, Tennessee an attractive location for aging in place. Funded by the MetLife Foundation, it is the twelfth workshop in a series held in various locations around the nation that brings together local leaders to discuss a specific aspect of aging in place. In this instance, the workshop title describes that aspect with “A Place for Everyone, Building for the Future, Healthy Living, and Lifelong Learning.” Community planners and local government leaders can use the report to examine issues other cities are facing, and to find best practices and new initiatives at work.

Key Points

The report describes the turnaround of Chattanooga in some detail as it changed from a polluted and undesirable city to an environmentally clean and desirable city. This was largely accomplished through forming lasting partnerships that relied upon community participation. In turn, companies like Volkswagen have chosen to invest there, bringing economic reward to Chattanooga and the surrounding area.

The report shares the steps in the process to hold the workshop, as well as the outcomes:

  1. Over 120 city leaders and stakeholders participated in the workshop, including leaders of national organizations like PLC and n4a. This included the city mayor and key officials in various city departments who examined issues concerning Chattanooga. These included transportation, housing initiatives, and incentives for businesses to relocate or expand.
  2. A major challenge for Chattanooga relates to helping older adults use public transit over motor transportation. Even with the option available, they are disinclined to use them (page 32). The transportation challenge occurs as a theme throughout the workshop breakout sessions. With organizations like Complete Streets as a resource, Chattanooga is examining solutions that include green shuttles and travel training (page 31-33).
  3. The report not only highlights existing age friendly best practices in Chattanooga (Chattanooga Climate Action Plan, Neighborhood Enterprise, Chattanooga Stand, and Chattanooga Venture), but national best practices as well. The report also highlights two other cities who have used partnerships effectively: Charlottesville, Virginia and Las Vegas, Nevada.

How to Use

Knowing best practices can help community planners and local governments conserve time, effort and expense. This report highlights how great partnerships and community input can have big impact locally. It also demonstrates how improving city infrastructure for livability is a continuous process.

View full report: Creating a Livable Chattanooga for All Ages – 2009 (PDF – 1.4 MB)

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