gb&d: How have you contributed to the reinvigoration of Nashville’s public spaces?
Gary Hawkins: We did the first green street in Tennessee several blocks away from the Korean Veterans Boulevard (KVB). Deaderick Street started out as a ‘patch-the-sidewalks’ project, but after working with the mayor and public works, we saw that something more valuable could happen. We created a high-performance green street. With the KVB, we were asked to do the same for a brand new, urban boulevard by examining pedestrian-friendly features and incorporating green infrastructure by using bioswales and native plants.
gb&d: What’s unique about the design of the KVB?
Hawkins: The boulevard uses a complete street design strategy, which allows for on-street parking, bikeways along the sides, and pedestrian walkways. Broad pedestrian sidewalks contribute to the strategy, and LED lights illuminate them with little electricity. Large planting strips along the sidewalks have been designed as rain gardens, and the landscape pallete used in the planters is very tolerant of urban conditions. The sidewalks have been engineered to include areas of pervious concrete pavement.
gb&d: How will Nashville benefit from this project?
Hawkins: KVB is literally a gateway into the city and used to be named as such. Hundreds of thousands of visitors will travel from the airport to the new Music City Center using this boulevard. This ‘complete green street’ not only provides a tremendous boon to traffic management in the city, but it sets the framework for new building opportunities that weren’t there before. Hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment on private land will be stimulated by this public investment in green infrastructure.