January 24, 2013

Do you like this?

Yes, I think so. The mystery there is, what is working? Something is working. What’s going right there?

Is there a trend or common thread that you’ve picked up on when things are going “right” in a city?

I think one of the main common threads is when I see a city that has dedicated, civic-minded people. You see that in San Francisco, you see it in Oakland. These are people that are devoted to their cities, devoted to the place they live in and they are not ashamed to embrace it. Another common thread is that, for instance, comparing Oakland and Chattanooga, things were really bad in both cities and people wanted to change it. There has to be that impetus for change as well.

I also think there is a commonality in the “tecnologicalisation,” if you will, of business within these cities. People want to be the next Silicon Valley, create Chattanooga 2.0, for instance. You have these mindful tech scenes and people with big ideas within them. I think they bring excitement to a city. Even if they don’t bring massive profits initially, they bring an energy to a city that is important.

Additionally, there is a definite trend toward cities regenerating downtowns. People across the country have become truly dedicated to these efforts. People are looking at the enormous urban sprawl and asking how they can create an alternative to that. They’re asking those questions now and looking for solutions.

As you continue your visit here, what is your sense about your experience so far? How do you think this city fares in comparison to others you have covered?

Certainly, I wouldn’t have suggested to my editors at Monocle that I write about Chattanooga if there wasn’t some exciting things happening here. Visiting places like Co-Lab and talking to them about the venture capital and entrepreneurial side of things and my visit to the Volkswagen facilities are proving that the right things are happening in Chattanooga.


January 24, 2013

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