I’ve always thought that if I had to move back to my home state of Tennessee, I’d kill myself live in Chattanooga. It used to be one of the most polluted cities in the country. I remember driving through it on the way to Atlanta — it was nasty, dirty, bleak, and oh my god, the smell. A real shithole.

But in the last 20 or 30 years, the city has completely turned around, and now it’s one of the most forward-thinking, progressive cities in the Southeast.

Sprol has a great piece on the transformation:

While most cities, nationally and globally, make an effort to reduce negative affects on the environment; few (if any) have attained the level of success enjoyed by Chattanooga. Here, industry is not the enemy, but instead has offered viable and effective solutions. Here, the citizen and the government official aren’t at odds. Rather, they work together to creatively address the environmental challenges the city has faced.

Chattanooga has become one of the few cities designated as an EPA attainment city. This has been due, in large part, to combined efforts of Chattanooga citizens and city officials.

An inspiring read.