A Different "We" in Urban Sustainability: How the City of Chattanooga, TN, Community Defined Their Own Sustainability Path

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well-being, sustainability, community involvement, chattanooga, key informants


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to try to understand the process of community building that helped transform the City of Chattanooga to become one of the greenest cities in the country and why the sustainability program worked for Chattanooga.

Design/methodology/approach: In total, 30 key informants, identified through snowball sampling, were interviewed. To corroborate the interview data, numerous documents were reviewed and repeat field visits to Chattanooga and surrounding area conducted over a period of three-and-a-half years. Interview data were analyzed using MAXQDA qualitative data analysis software.

Findings: Findings show that the transformation process from "the dirtiest city in America" to "green city" was mainly a community agenda. Led by concerned private citizens and visionaries, Chattanooga went through aggressive community mobilization, citizen empowerment and participation in environmental improvement, building of social capital and economic revitalization.

Recommended Citation

Kitheka, Bernard M., Elizabeth D. Baldwin, David L. White, and Daniel N. Harding. "A different “we” in urban sustainability: how the city of Chattanooga, TN, community defined their own sustainability path." International Journal of Tourism Cities (2016).

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