Nashville has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years with no signs of that letting down.  The city’s economic, cultural and geographic strengths have been a magnet for new residents and businesses.  But this growth does not come without challenges; in the NashvilleNext plan, city officials and local stakeholders have set out to grow in a way that does not compromise natural resources, enhances public access to green space, and ensures equity and inclusion in the city’s growth benefits, serving a prosperous and resilient future in a changing climate.

The Trust for Public Land’s national Climate-Smart Cities program is providing key planning and decision-making support to help the city achieve climate resiliency by leveraging the power of green infrastructure for those who need it most. Together with city and community partners, we’re bringing cutting-edge science, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) planning, and innovative design to drive park, open space and green infrastructure solutions in preparing the city and its most vulnerable for a climate-resilient future.

Our Climate-Smart Cities process bring together a team of experts to research, design, and build the infrastructure and tools that help increase our resilience to climate change. Our strategy is to:

Additionally, The Trust for Public Land has teamed up with the City of Nashville, Metro Parks Nashville, and Nashville Parks Foundation to set the vision for the countywide parks and greenways system in “Plan to Play: the Nashville parks and greenways master plan.”

The Challenge

Recent trends show that Nashville is growing by 100 people per day. At the same time, the city is seeing changes due to climate change. The NashvilleNext plan (2015) reports that the average nighttime temperatures have risen 1.8°F since 1950 (and are expected to rise another 5 to 9°F by 2100). Nashville is particularly at risk for increased frequency and severity of hazardous weather, such as floods, heat waves and tornadoes. With a rapidly growing senior population, rise in heat waves and extreme heat poses particular concern.


Working in partnership with city agencies, and with critical input from state and federal partners, the local non-profit community, and research institutions, The Trust for Public Land’s Climate-Smart Cities program is meeting the city where they are – taking advantage of the great work happening across the city, from NashvilleNext to the Green Infrastructure Master Plan and Parks Master Plan, and many others – to arm and connect local change agents and resources for greatest impact.

GIS-based Decision Support

A web-based decision support tool and other related web applications will foster effective collaboration and science-based prioritization for green infrastructure development. This Climate-Smart Cities planning tool will consider climate risks in Nashville and identify priority areas for multi-benefit green infrastructure investment—based on environmental threat and the location of vulnerable populations. The development of the tool was guided by a Technical Advisory Team with representatives from each of partner agencies, organizations, and universities.

Green Infrastructure Demonstration

In collaboration with city agencies and other partners, The Trust for Public Land is using the decision support tool to identify strategic sites for green infrastructure, evaluate and identify multiple benefits for proposed projects. We’re working with decision-makers to establish processes to incorporate this tool into decision-making and budgeting processes, such as the Capital Improvement Budget.