Middle Tennessee’s rapid growth, anchored by the breakneck pace of Nashville, is no secret to longtime residents who have watched farmland become residential subdivisions and downtown lots turn into new condo high-rises.
And yet the region has changed so quickly that it’s even surpassed forecasts by planning experts more than a decade ago just as the boom began.
In 2003, Middle Tennessee, which was around 1.45 million people at the time, was expected to grow to 1.86 million by 2015. It instead grew by 43,025 additional people than was projected (an extra influx that matches the size of Smyrna) to 1.9 million. Middle Tennessee is now on course to grow to 2.9 million by 2040.Nashville’s expected population for 2020 came in 2014 instead.Middle Tennessee is nearing the regional populations of the peer cities of Austin, Texas and Charlotte, N.C. (around 2 million people and 2.4 million people, respectively) and is on track to hit Denver’s current regional population of 2.8 million before 2040.120,000 open space acres in Middle Tennessee have been developed since 1999 — 55,000 of those acres (roughly twice the size of Murfreesboro) were either farmland or forests.
These trends — and how the region can tackle them — will be the focus of the land-use ...