Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chattanooga vs. Knoxville: The Smackdown Intro

Chattanooga Skyline from Lookout MountainImage by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) via Flickr
Chattanooga Skyline

Last week I mentioned, in a post available below, that I recently took a trip to Chattanooga and it changed my perspective on both Chattanooga and Knoxville. I'll say at the outset that I'm comparing the main portion of Chattanooga by the river, mostly up and down Broad and Market Streets to our downtown. That may not be a fair comparison to someone who knows Chattanooga well, but, as I'll explain, it is a fair comparison for my comments.

I'd previously visited this area of Chattanooga many times for various reasons from concerts, to trips to tourist attractions to work-related conferences and short day trips for fun. I was a bit jealous of the area I mentioned above. Why couldn't Knoxville do something similar? I accepted that it was a long, hard climb to be as cool as Asheville, but Chattanooga? How could we let this happen?

I think there was a discussion on Knoxnews within the last year and I spoke up for Knoxville, but in my heart I remembered how pleasant our visits to Chattanooga had been and I secretly knew they had it over us going and coming.
Eastward view of the skyline of downtown Knoxv...Image via Wikipedia
Knoxville Skyline - Image via Wikipedia
Of course, I know downtown Knoxville much more intimately than I did the last time I traveled to Chattanooga. It had been four years since I really looked around their downtown. Among the other things that have changed in the interim is the astounding development we've experienced. Both cities have their assets and both have their problems, their similarities and differences. A simple walk through their downtown revealed plenty of each.
So I’ll do a little comparison and contrast. I’ve set a poll at the top which you might wish to vote now or you may choose to wait until you’ve read the next couple of posts. Should any of my Chattanooga readers wish to enlighten me, I’ll welcome that. All I’ve got are my honest impressions, so that’s what I’ll give you. Tomorrow we’ll do similarities between the two and I’ll follow that on Thursday with differences and a conclusion.
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At April 26, 2011 at 2:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the first time I recall seeing this perspective of the Knoxville skyline. I found it real interesting in its difference from all of the "usual" views that come to my mind. Thanks.

At April 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chattanooga has more natural beauty, but they lack the urban feel. Downtown Chattanooga, in my opinion, is too spread out and has a little too much of an amusement park feel to it.

At April 26, 2011 at 12:39 PM , Blogger tthurman said...

I haven't stayed in Chattanooga since 10 years ago. For certain, the last time I was there Chattanooga was light years ahead of Knoxville. My wife and I had a great time there! The waterfront development was well thought out and seemed very cohesive.

Knoxville has come a long way in the last 10 years without question, yet it still lacks something. I think the current proposals to turn Henley Street into a blvd would go along way towards bringing things together. There would be a smooth transition from the university area to the Convention center, and likewise into downtown. At the same time it would remove this highway we have running through downtown and put in on the south connector bridge where it is much more appropriate.

We have a great opportunity at our doorstep that I fear will simply be tossed aside. I love downtown Knoxville, but if you look at it everything is so disjointed. It lacks continuity that if it had could go a long way into developing this small city into something special.

At April 26, 2011 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Anonymous #1, thank you very much. Anonymous #2, I think you are on to something there. tthurman, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I can't really disagree with anything you said about Knoxville. We have a very long way to go. If it has been ten years since you've been to Chattanooga, you might take a little field trip the next time you are able and go there with current Knoxville in mind. I'd love to see what you think.


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