Sign up for newsletter >>
What's missing from how we talk about livability in Nashville?

What's missing from how we talk about livability in Nashville?

🏙️ What makes a city · Bitcoin happy hour · Easement · Who moves here · Much more!

Universal healthcare, labor rights, workers' rights, "15 minute cities," living wage initiatives... all of these started as Christian concepts and, like any heresy, whatever goodness or truth contained therein has been excised and magnified at the expense of the truth. "Multimodal" transportation is one of these initiatives that have been hijacked and touted as goods in themselves.

More buses, bikes, and light rail will turn us into Amsterdam, right? Experience the magic of a bus rapid transit ride and all will be well, correct? The last BRT ride I took was in Richmond, Virginia in the summer of 2023 and a cracked-out Santa Claus lit up a roach as he raved about the geometry of the sides of the buildings we passed. He was scaring the hoes, to put it bluntly. Hmm.

The entirety of the bus system in Richmond is free to ride. But who is riding them? Only the most dedicated transit people, the extremely convenienced, the poor, and, concerningly, the crazy who we deny long-term help in asylums. Crime abounds on these transit systems, and with good samaritans punished (see Daniel Penny) and cops disincentivized to police, normal people have no interest. Transit, walkability, and bicycle lanes alone will not create a "more equitable future" as the proponents claim. Why?

Is it because they lack the requisite ethnos or ethnic uniformity? Perhaps. But more importantly, I believe it's because they lack the ethos. Ethos is always downstream from telos. And telos is always downstream from logos. If the purpose of multimodal transit is to save the planet, create walkability for its own sake, and cater to the unfazed idealism of transit referenders, the masses will always choose the convenience laid out by the first wave of city planners who started this mess: Corbusier, and his ilk.

The ethos of a populace determines the trajectory of the built environment. Interstates cutting through cities, the very concept of the office park, and the arterial roads that blossom into cul-de-sacs are the dreams of Corbusier. This was the vision that plummeted so many cities into a futurist dystopia of ever-expanding terminal commutism. The very suburbs and suburban commute that conservatives cling to as a safe harbor for normal life is a creation of a weird French guy who went by one name. Like Bono.

But it wasn't always this way. The city, as outlined by Jane Jacobs in her most famous work The Life and Death of Great American Cities, is like a biological cell. The mixed-use (i.e., normal) buildings of yesteryear were integrated places. The people, institutions, and buildings were organelles. Women stayed at home and watched the streets; men worked nearby and children ran around in packs (there's safety in numbers and that's why nobody plays outside anymore, but that's another essay).

The center of the neighborhood or town was often the church, surrounded by the places of commerce. These patterns of development are intuitively more charming, more "human" than the cities and suburbs we inhabit. Why? Because the ethos and technological telos were aimed at something greater than individual convenience. It was aimed at God, and the flourishing of the human family on a "human scale."

Now, what does this have to do with multimodal transportation? When the built environment is already plug-and-play for a car commute, why bother? Well, we should be bothering; bothering to create the places that are of "one accord" and without which we will never be able to sustain "walkability" for its own sake. We must walk somewhere, and no Sims-loop coffee shop boutique cluster will last. With any modern foray into emulating the Old World, the Old Ideas must return. From Whitfield Smith

Nashville
We're hosting a Bitcoin Halving Happy Hour with the folks at Media Farm and the Bitcoin Conference to celebrate the imminent Bitcoin halving. Attend for a chance to win a free pass to this year's Bitcoin Conference in Nashville from July 25-27 (RSVP)
Nashville

🌾 Controversy in the Ag Committee Yesterday, the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee reopened to accommodate the hearing of the farmland easement bill. Though the bill has continued through the House, the legislation was bumped off the agenda during Senate Ag's final meeting a month ago. Since members were unable to vote on it before the committee closed, the bill was effectively dead. Political pressure led to yesterday’s revisitation, which was a last-ditch effort to revive the governor’s cornerstone initiative and ensure its passage during this year’s General Assembly.

The Senate bill sponsor, Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), defended the legislation before the committee, and ceremoniously did his best to dispel his colleagues’ concerns. In spite of the Hail Mary attempt, it did not have enough support to pass. Johnson accepted defeat, but not before promising to bring the bill back next year. 

The Senate Ag committee’s resolve in killing the bill may come back to haunt the committee’s chairman, Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown). Sources said prior to yesterday’s meeting, Southerland was warned that he may be stripped of his chairmanship if the bill didn’t pass.

✰   ✰   ✰

👑 What's in the vault? During yesterday’s House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee, Rep. Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) made some headway on his eight-year fight to establish both a mint and depository in Tennessee. If passed, his two bills would declare gold and silver legal tender in Tennessee; allow the treasurer to purchase precious metal and gold bullion using one-to-three percent of the state's rainy day fund; establish a depository; and build facilities necessary for the new Tennessee Mint.

According to Hulsey, the US Mint is already interested in using Tennessee’s facilities to produce the Silver Eagle. “It is estimated that if we market and sell these [services] for other states or other countries— designed the way they want them— that by the year 2030, we would make $25 million a year in profits,” the congressman explained. Though both bills were placed behind the budget, the Senate’s Finance, Ways and Means Committee has already signed off on the legislation.

✰   ✰   ✰

📦 Who moves here? An interesting release from the Tennessee State Data Center on the source of the state's growth: a whopping 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw a population increase. Most of the growth is driven by domestic migration (those moving from other states within the United States) with the notable exception of Davidson County which grew despite experiencing a net domestic migration decline of 3,581 people:

International migration (+4,293) and a natural increase resulting from births outpacing deaths (+4,390), still netted the county an increase of nearly 5,000 people. But this still leaves the county of 712,334 below its reported 2020 Census population of 715,884. Squaring that 3,500 person decrease with the 45,000 housing units that have been authorized across the county between January 2020 and December 2023 remains challenging.

In short, people are not remaining in Nashville; instead, they’re fleeing the state or moving to surrounding counties, and are being replaced by migrants from around the globe.

✰   ✰   ✰

🎞️ Other Developments The Preds clinched a playoff spot, tourists want to see the chair Morgan Wallen threw off the roof, and the Nashville Kats prep for their Arena Football League opener on April 27th.

DEVELOPMENT

  • The Sun Room at the Drift Hotel Embraces Nashville’s Transitional Nature (Scene)
  • The Blueprint Underground Cocktail Club by Billy Dec to open in Printers Alley (NBJ)
  • Gov. Lee boosts BNA's pursuit of nonstop overseas flight (NBJ)
  • Mixed-use project eyed for James Robertson Parkway (Post)
  • Belmont announces $58M gift from Curb Foundation (Post)
Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

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

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.

TONIGHT

🎸 Grady Spencer and The Work @ 3rd and Lindsley, 7:30p, $18.58, Info
+ groove-based rock and roll band from Fort Worth, Texas

🎸 L.A. Edwards @ The Basement East, 8p, $19.27, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelly’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info

🎸 Open Mic @ Fox & Locke, 6:30p, Free, Info
+ vet community here