From our winter issue, GOOD 025: The Next Big Thing
Some of these cities anticipated the developments currently popular among urbanists. Two decades after it was suspended in a filthy smog like something out of a Dickens novel, Chattanooga was greening its downtown with a riverwalk and aquarium. The city’s population has turned around, too: Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, Chattanooga quadrupled its growth rate, undoing a 10 percent population loss between 1980 and 1990. Others anticipated developments popular among the urbane. Asheville, North Carolina, where the growth rate nearly doubled over those 10 years, is home to a roster of microbreweries and independent restaurants well beyond what its population of 83,000 would suggest. The city bills itself as “The World’s Only Foodtopian Society.”
Asheville isn’t alone. From Paducah to Fargo, small cities are talking a big game.