Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Creating Places: You know you're obsessed...

...with Nashville's built fabric when you fret over the outdated state (tired signage, lights failing to operate, cheap materials) of many of the buildings at the Jim Reed auto dealership on Broadway.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creating Places: Where's the interstate night lighting?

Within the southwest segment of downtown Nashville's inner-interstate loop, I've counted no fewer than 15 overhead light fixtures that fail to function during the night — a major concern for motorists. This has been a problem for years and I'm not sure who is to blame: TDOT or NES or both. To visualize, this is the stretch of inner-interstate loop between the Division Street exit and the Fourth/Second avenues exit, and includes a bit of I-65 (running alongside the Adventure Science Museum and south to Wedgewood). The darkness is almost spooky — not to mention unsafe.

Creating Places: You know you're obsessed...

...with Nashville's built environment when you start observing the deteriorating condition of SoBro's wooden utility poles.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Creating Places: You know you're obsessed...

...with the manmade environment when the most exciting point of your weekend is your noticing a steel-framed extension of the east wall of the Music City Center convention facility.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Creating Places: 2011 Update

Here's a look into the 2011 "built fabric crystal ball" — with both hoped-for and expected projects. I wrote this quickly and likely have overlooked various projects, the result of minimal sleep after a New Year's Eve of staying up past my bed time.

First, some large-scale developments that have been announced as slated for a 2011 start date.

* Omni Hotel: 95 percent certain construction on this project will materialize.

* Ryman Lofts on Rolling Mill Hill: 80 percent certain.

* Southern Land project on Elliston: 75 percent certain.

* Hotel at FYE site: 60 percent certain.

* Patel project: 50-50. The project announced for the FYE building could impact the Patel effort.

* West End Summit Building I: 50-50.

* African-American Museum: 10-20 percent certain.

And for the smaller developments, I would like to see...

* ... The Square at Fourth and Madison (in Germantown) fully materialize. Some work has been done but it seems intermittent.

* ... start on the proposed LEED building in the Gulch on Division Street and "behind" Icon.

* ... start on a new Greyhound Bus terminal on Lafayette Street. Of course, a cutting-edge designed would be needed.

* ... the saving of the vintage brick gem that sits in the footprint of the future SoBro roundabout (I've been told the building could actually be moved.)