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No. 630: City Character
Photo by Parrish Freeman / Unsplash

No. 630: City Character

📅 Today, Davis talks about city character, Miles recaps yesterday's disappointing Titans loss, and Megan looks at a study on housing in the city.

Good afternoon, everyone.

I went to a Titans game yesterday for the first time in a while. Walking out of Nissan Stadium back to the car parked at Crosspoint Church, it struck me how different that walk will be after the development is finished.

We had season tickets when I was growing up; we’d park at the old Salvation Army on North First Street— just a five-minute walk to the stadium past warehouses, parking lots, and the famous A1 Fun Cycle store.

The stadium’s home in the industrial part of town lent the team an edge. You'd hear the PA system blasting as you approached the ticket gate. Players like Eddie George and Steve McNair, known for their toughness and durability above all else, carried this impression onto the playing field.

With the coming revitalization of the East Bank, that walk will be different and more palatable. The rough edges will be sanded off, and the street vendors hawking t-shirts, hotdogs, and brisket will be replaced by brick-and-mortar restaurants, bars, and stores.

The wholesale makeover of the East Bank will bring with it order and accessibility, which the present arrangement completely lacks. But when we talk about attachment to a place, we often speak specifically to its charming flaws. Making a place more open to commercial activity results in it being less distinctive and more pragmatically functional.

The East Bank and the new stadium will resemble a standardized “everywhere” place that, though it may be nice, doesn’t say anything particularly expressive about the city itself. Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. The same can be said of the distinct character of a city.


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A loss to rival Houston Texans end slim hopes of miraculous turnaround

From Miles Harrington

The Titans came into this week 15 matchup with the Houston Texans riding a massive high following one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history against the Miami Dolphins. After two costly turnovers in the final quarter, the 2023 season was all but lost.

But Frank Wycheck had other ideas while looking down from the heavens and helped guide this resilient squad to an unthinkable 28-27 victory after rallying back from, down 14, with under three minutes remaining in the game. In just one week, the swag seemed back.

During yesterday’s matchup, Coach Vrabel flexed his team’s aggression early, going for it on fourth down at his own 26 yard line only three minutes into the contest. King Henry rewarded the decision when he snuck by the first down marker. The bold choice led to an 83 yard drive capped off with a short Levis TD run after being set up by a beautiful catch from Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

Continue reading...


Back in November, Nashville nonprofit Think Tennessee, along with the DC’s Urban Institute, published a report titled Promoting Affordable Housing Partnerships in Nashville. The joint study, which outlined “potential housing capacity of developable land and recommendations for future partnerships,” was made possible with support from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund

According to the report, Metro has tried to accommodate Nashville’s growing population by establishing an Affordable Housing Task Force in 2021, allocating millions toward affordable housing development, and creating incentives for “green building standards, preservation of historic sites, or the development of neighborhood amenities,” among other things. 

The study found that state policy “has limited options for pursuing additional affordable housing strategies.” This is because a few laws, including 2018’s HB1143/SB363, prohibit inclusionary zoning, which requires real estate developers to set aside “affordable” units in new developments. Also cited was the state’s limitation on Metro’s ability to charge impact fees, which is a “one-time payment imposed by a local government on a property developer.”


Based on the researchers’ conclusions, Nashville would have to develop “53,000 new housing units by 2030” to keep pace with the influx of residents— 18,000 of which would need to be affordable. To achieve this, the report suggested incentivizing zoning changes to increase units built on certain parcels of land within one mile of public transit, encouraging areas of 5,000 square feet zoned for single-family homes to be re-zoned for up to four-unit buildings, and allowing single-family units to be split into subdivisions. 

According to the study, “institution-owned” land in the county has the most potential, and land owned by faith-based institutions is the most developable of all. ”[It] is by far the most geographically spread out across Nashville,” the report suggests. “Compared to other institutions, [their] portfolio of land includes parcels located throughout Metro Nashville as well as outside the central core where land is likely to be more affordable.”


In other news, MNPD highlighted a few statistics yesterday regarding their new Airbus helicopters. According to the department, the helos have been dispatched 1,398 times for service, helped with 865 arrests, and assisted in recovering 135 missing persons, and 324 stolen vehicles since their launch earlier this year.  

Despite pushback from the defund movement , MNPD’s request for two aircrafts was approved by Metro; Mayor Cooper included the $12 million needed to purchase them in his 2020 capital spending plan. The first helicopter was unveiled in November 2022. 


The Community Foundation will no longer serve as clearinghouse for disaster relief in Nashville (Channel 5) The organization took in more than $12.5 million in donations then, but sent money to groups that never asked for it, and two years later, still couldn't account for a lot of the money and who received it.

Latest mayor admin hires include ex-codes director, Metro councilmember (Post) Former Metro Codes Department Director Bill Herbert is returning to the role after a stint in the private sector. Byron Hall has served as interim director of the department and has been promoted to deputy director. Herbert will return to Metro in February.

Tennessee governor grants clemency to 23 people, including woman convicted of murder (AP) The announcement marks the Republican’s third round of clemency since taking office in 2019. Lee approved 22 pardons and one commutation.


  • Old Dominion to open neighborhood bar in former ReBar space (NBJ)
  • Nashville hotel developer pays $10M for Morris Memorial Building (Post)
  • Atlanta developer pays $19M for Edgehill property (Post)
  • Downtown’s City Winery building sells for $21M (Post)


View our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and our 2023 southern festival guide and 🎥 2023 movie guide.


🪕 Bluegrass Monday @ Dee's Lounge, 6p, $10, Info

💀 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 8p, Free, Info

🕺 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info

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📰 Check out the full newsletter archive here.

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🎓 DEI overreach 🏫 Carol Swain responds 💥 Updates on Second Avenue 📬 Much more!
No. 627: Dollar Pig
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No. 626: Signs of Life
🏈 The Titans jolt back to life 🌾 What growth means for Middle TN’s small towns ⚾️ MLB in Nashville 📬 Much more!
No. 625: Tornadoes Roll Through Middle Tennessee
🌪 On the tornadoes that cut through Middle Tennessee Saturday 🏈 Commemorating the life of Frank Wycheck 📬 And more.


  • 📚 Plenty Downtown Bookshop furthers Cookeville’s quiet transformation into one of the state’s most impressive cultural hubs. (Read)
  • 🏘 The double-edged sword of prosperity in Tennessee's small towns (Read)
  • 🎓 A review of Ian Prior’s Parents of the World Unite!: How to Save Our Schools from the Left’s Radical Agenda (Read)
  • 🎞 The Pamphleteer's Fall 2023 Streaming Guide (Read)
  • And check out our podcast, YouTube, and article archive for more.