The blog of the Urban Institute
August 2, 2011

Chattanooga: Will the Success Story Prevail?

August 2, 2011

In a region where historically strong manufacturing cities have lost steam in recent decades, Chattanooga’s nickname, “The Dynamo of Dixie”, seems well-deserved. After its population nosedived between 1980 and 1990, Chattanooga’s revitalization program transformed abandoned manufacturing warehouses into a theater, new housing, and retail services. Large corporate headquarters, new manufacturing, and mixed-use developments soon followed. By 2010, Chattanooga had regained nearly all of its lost population.

Chattanooga Population Loss and Gain 1980-2010

Hard hit by the Great Recession, Chattanooga struggles again, this time with high unemployment, low average wages, and stagnant wage and job growth. What lessons will the city’s leaders –and the rest of the country--take from its previous revitalization successes?  To learn more, read this week’s Metropolitan Spotlight about Chattanooga, TN.


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