The Westside Evolves Transformation Plan establishes a bold vision for one of the oldest low-income communities in Chattanooga. Working with the Chattanooga Housing Authority (CHA), the Chattanooga Design Studio (CDS), and the City of Chattanooga, SGS led the master planning design team for the visioning and redevelopment of an urban neighborhood near downtown consisting of numerous public housing properties. Within walking distance of Downtown, the Plan will create a healthy and sustainable mixed-income community providing long-term physical, social, and economic benefits for all residents.
Creative and Robust Community Engagement – As part of a multi-faceted innovative engagement effort, the team employed artists to assist with the visioning. This “Imagination Team” became a bridge to the community by gathering memories, interpreting history, and enabling new forms of expressing community concerns. Additionally, multiple high- and low-tech, pandemic-friendly methods of reaching and engaging a larger audience were utilized.
Heart of the Plan – Existing assets and sacred places identified by the community—the “Grace Tree,” Flagpole, and the historic James A. Henry school building—were envisioned as a “Community Hub” for social services, arts, education, and training opportunities, promoting local economic activity and neighborhood stabilization. The Plan recognizes the heart of the neighborhood is its residents and creates a “sense of place” for them.
Support and Implementation – Stewarded by the city, CHA, and CDS and their local private funding partners, the Plan prioritizes major redevelopment of underutilized city-owned property and two public housing sites. Initial investments in the repurposing of the James A. Henry school and the adjacent public park are underway.