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Memphis Metropolis

Memphis Metropolis

By Emily Trenholm
Memphis Metropolis is about the built environment – the building blocks that define the look and feel of our city and region. From the downtown skyscrapers to the historic neighborhoods to the suburbs, we’ll talk to community leaders and residents, examining architecture, transportation, public art, parks, development and redevelopment plans, and much more, from a variety of perspectives. Your host is Emily Trenholm. Memphis Metropolis airs every Monday from 1 to 2 pm. Central on WYXR 91.7 FM.
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Fighting Blight in Memphis. With Leslie Smith and Austin Harrison.

Memphis Metropolis

Fighting Blight in Memphis. With Leslie Smith and Austin Harrison.

Memphis Metropolis

A Conversation with Rusty Bloodworth
Rusty Bloodworth has been quietly influential in the development of the Memphis region for many years. Earlier in 2022, Rusty celebrated 54 years with Boyle, a leading real estate company known for nearly a century of visible projects from Belvedere Avenue - developed by a predecessor company and often called the most beautiful street in Memphis; to Ridgeway Center, one of the country's first mixed-use developments; to most recently, Schilling Farms in Collierville. The firm also has a large Nashville-based practice. In 2007, Rusty teamed up with other real estate leaders to create a local chapter of the Urban Land Institute, an international organization focused on urban planning, growth, and development. In this discussion, Rusty reflects on how land use and real estate trends have come and gone over his career, and how he and Boyle's philosophy on development have changed over his career, with much more emphasis in newer projects on a mix of uses, walkability, and the incorporation of green space. 
July 03, 2022
Memphis Parks Need Our Support and Bloom is Here to Help. With Jamal Boddie
Jamal Boddie's career has been diverse, taking him from positions at USC basketball operations and White Station High School athletics to the Library System and the Memphis Grizzlies. That broad experience in community engagement and program management made him a great candidate for his current position as executive director of local nonprofit Bloom. Bloom is an organization focused on helping resident groups organize and engage around their neighborhood parks. In this interview, Jamal visits Memphis Metropolis to talk about some current "park friends" groups around town and Bloom's plans to grow that network through support, partnerships, and capacity building.  For more information, visit the Bloom website. 
June 19, 2022
Champions of the Built Environment. With Marvin Stockwell.
Marvin Stockwell has worn many hats, including medical PR specialist, musician, podcaster, author, and advocate. In the latter role, he has played a leading role in the formation of the Coliseum Coalition, which is dedicated to the preservation and redevelopment of the MidSouth Coliseum. Many would consider the Coliseum a lost cause...after all, it had been mothballed and the city had announced its intention to tear it down. That got Marvin thinking: "What makes us take up causes that others think are impossible?" In this program, Marvin and Emily dig into what makes champions tick, and talk specifically about buildings and places where local advocates have made a difference in preserving them, from the Coliseum and Crosstown to smaller places like the Luciann Theater and Griggs Business College.  More listening Champions of the Lost Causes website - for Marvin's free e-book and episodes of his podcast. Past Memphis Metropolis episodes on champions of the built environment How Small Grassroots Action Can Ignite Transformational Neighborhood Change. William Townsend Loves Old Buildings Endangered Places: Griggs Business College Gets a New Life. Endangered Structures: Mid-South Coliseum.
June 12, 2022
A Conversation with Photographer Brandon Dill
Memphis-based photographer Brandon Dill has had a wide-ranging career, covering subjects ranging from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Byhalia Pipeline through his freelance work with the Commercial Appeal, Associated Press, MLK50, New York Times, Washington Post, and many other clients. In this discussion, Brandon and Emily dive into his photography of special places in Memphis - including iconic buildings such as Crosstown and the Coliseum, and neighborhoods like Orange Mound - as well as the role of photography in advocacy and the importance of engaging residents in the work.  Visit Brandon's website to see his portfolio of work. 
June 05, 2022
Meet the Dynamic Couple Behind Black Seeds Urban Farms. With Derravia Rich and Bobby Rich.
When Derravia and Bobby Rich were growing up in or near the Castalia neighborhood of South Memphis, neither could foresee they would team up for marriage and the creation of a very special urban farm in Uptown. Black Seeds Urban Farms - located at 580 North Fourth Street - is a farm garden where a wide variety of herbs and vegetables are grown and shared with the community; an oasis for tranquility and contemplation; and a fun space for special events and group gatherings.  In this episode, Derravia and Bobby join Emily for a wide-ranging discussion about family ties, food access, entrepreneurship, and their vision for similar places in other neighborhoods.  More information Black Seeds Urban Farms
May 22, 2022
A Conversation with Josh Whitehead.
Josh Whitehead recently left a long career in public sector planning - working in both Germantown and Shelby County. During his tenure in Memphis and Shelby County, Josh led the long-overdue overhaul of the local development codes and also was involved in the Memphis 3.0 comprehensive plan. In this discussion, Josh reminisces about childhood experiences that fostered an early interest in urban planning and discussed highlights of his career in government. He and Emily also get into the weeds about our community's addiction to conditional zoning. Finally, Josh explains the origins of Creme de Memph, his quirky and informative blog about all aspects of the local built environment.  Visit Creme de Memph
May 15, 2022
How Small Grassroots Action Can Ignite Transformational Neighborhood Change. With Sarah Newstok.
In this program, host Emily Trenholm travels down memory lane with Sarah Newstok, a former colleague at LIvable Memphis. Emily and Sarah talk about how grassroots action helped ignite a new era of bike infrastructure in Memphis, including the then-controversial Madison Avenue bike lanes; the New Face for An Old Broad event that kicked off the redevelopment of the Broad Avenue district, and a wave of other similar MemFix events; and how both movements linked up for the development of the innovative Hampline, which connects Overton Park to the Shelby Farms Greenline. 
May 08, 2022
Northside: A Transformative Project in North Memphis. With Roshun Austin and Cole Bradley.
Northside HIgh School - opened in 1968 - was the jewel of the Klondike neighborhood, surrounded by other important institutions such as Klondike Elementary, the North Branch Library, Katie Sexton Community Center, and Klondike Park. Northside closed in 2016 due to declining enrollment and has been vacant since then. But now, the former school building is being turned into a community hub, including affordable housing, job training, health services, art activities, and more. In this program, we welcome Roshun Austin of the Works CDC to explain the community-led vision for the new space and how her organization is partnering with residents, alumni, and other stakeholders to bring that vision to reality.
April 17, 2022
Is Trolley Service Returning to Madison Avenue? With Joel Cox, John Lancaster, and Charlie Santo.
In late March, Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) announced that it was testing a new kind of trolley car on the Madison line, in hopes of restoring service to that and the Riverfront loop. John Lancaster and Joel Cox from MATA visited Memphis Metropolis to talk about what's different about the new cars (for one, they are air-conditioned!) and how the recent redevelopment of the Medical District may attract a new type of rider. Later in the show, regular commentator and University of Memphis professor Charlie Santo joins Emily to reflect on the extensive streetcar system Memphis once enjoyed and why it and similar systems around the U.S. disappeared in the first place. Additional Resources Testing underway for Madison Ave. trolley service - from The Daily Memphian MATA web site Memphis Street Railway Map (1913) The Very Best Songs About Mass Transit (from Citylab)
April 10, 2022
Memphis LISC Brings New Funding Options to Community Developers. With Kathy Cowan.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national community development funding intermediary, recently began working in Memphis. Longtime community development leader Kathy Cowan is heading up that effort, and she visits the program this week to discuss her career accomplishments and which programs and partnerships are kicking off the LISC work in Memphis. More information LISC web site
April 03, 2022
Gayoso Bayou and Other Interesting Memphis Sewer History. With Caroline Carrico and Charlie Santo.
Memphis Metropolis welcomes Caroline Carrico from Storyboard Memphis to the show, to discuss her recent article about the important role Gayoso Bayou played in Memphis history, and a little-known adjacent settlement called Catfish Bay. Later in the program, regular commentator Charlie Santo and Emily veer off into a wide-ranging discussion about the role infrastructure plays in urban development and Memphis' role as an innovator in the development of sanitary sewer technology.  Learn More Gayoso Bayou and Catfish Bay: Where are They Now? How Memphis Found Its Water
March 20, 2022
William Townsend Loves Old Buildings
Over the past two years, William Townsend of Townsend has acquired - in fairly quick succession - the Luciann Theater on Summer Avenue, the Desoto Masonic Lodge at Court Avenue and Fourth Street, and the historic Lowenstein mansion on Jefferson Avenue and Manassas Street. In this episode, Bill explains his passion for old buildings, which dates back to his childhood in Memphis, and his plans to use the properties' renovations to spur or support the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhoods. 
March 13, 2022
A Garden Walk and More in Cooper Young. With Kim Halyak.
The 2022 Cooper Young Garden Walk is coming up May 21-2, but that's just one piece of what's going on at the Cooper Young Garden Club. In this program, club organizer Kim Halyak visits to discuss the club's seventh annual walk (featuring 90 gardens!), their gateway landscaping project along the neighborhood's southern border, the Cooper Young Arboretum, and much more. Kim and Emily also talk about how gardens and other green spaces are an integral part of the built environment, contributing significantly to a city's livability and attractiveness to visitors.  More Information Cooper Young Garden Club and Walk
March 06, 2022
A Conversation with Darrell Cobbins.
Commercial real estate broker Darrell Cobbins visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss the 15-year anniversary of Universal Commercial, the firm he founded 15 years ago. Darrell has played a role in a wide range of projects in the community, from helping the Crosstown Concourse developers acquire property at the beginning of his firm's tenure to most recently assisting Junior Achievement in moving its local headquarters from downtown to Binghampton. Darrell also talks with Emily about Lakeview Gardens, one of the first subdivisions built for African American homeowners, developed by his grandfather. This wide-ranging discussion also touches on the lack of diversity in the commercial real estate industry, and how intentional hiring strategies can benefit the field and the larger community.  Later in the show, regular commentator Charlie Santo stops by to talk about how the urban planning profession is also facing diversity challenges and the strategies the University of Memphis is deploying to recruit a student body that is diverse not only in race but also in terms of socioeconomic status, gender identity, and more. 
February 27, 2022
BLDG Memphis. With Deveney Perry and Austin Harrison
In this show, Memphis Metropolis welcomes Deveney Perry, executive director BLDG Memphis. BLDG Memphis is a 22-year old community development organization, working in the areas of organizational capacity building, community engagement, and public policy advocacy. Later in the show, regular commentator joins host Emily Trenholm to talk about the origins of BLDG Memphis and examine the history of community development corporations in Memphis in a national context. For more information BLDG Memphis website
February 20, 2022
A Conversation with Longtime Memphis Reporter Tom Bailey
Tom Bailey, recently retired after a long career in local journalism, visits the show for a conversation about the most significant real estate and community development projects and trends of the past decade or so. In this wide-ranging discussion, Tom and Emily talk about projects that succeeded against all odds - such as Crosstown and the Tennessee Brewery redevelopments - as well as smaller but significant events that helped ignite broader change, such as the addition of bike lanes to Madison Avenue and the New Face for an Old Broad event. 
February 13, 2022
What Could Congress' Big Infrastructure Bill Mean for Memphis? With Robert Knecht and Charlie Santo.
Late last year, Congress passed the bipartisan Federal Investment and Jobs Act, which represented the largest investment in the country's infrastructure in generations - some $500 billion in new funding to be utilized over five years. In this program, City of Memphis public works director Robert Knecht visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss why the infrastructure bill is so important for cities like Memphis, and how the city hopes to utilize its funding for projects of all types, from long-planned street repaving to broadband and resilience initiatives. Later in the show, regular commentator Charlie Santo and Emily do a deeper dive into the bill itself, including the different funding categories, and tee up a future program on how future city investments could connect Memphis workers and communities to the Blue Oval electric car manufacturing plant.
January 30, 2022
Endangered Places: Griggs Business College Gets a New Life. With Stephanie Wade and Cole Bradley.
The Griggs Business College building,  at the corner of Vance Avenue and Danny Thomas Boulevard, isn't as well known as other historic structures. But that's about to change. Emerging real estate developer Stephanie Love and partners literally saved the Griggs Building from the wrecking ball (it was set to be torn down for a gas station) and now the former Black-owned college will be redeveloped to serve the community. Stephanie visited Memphis Metropolis to explain how she got interested in the building, and the long journey that led to her company's eventual acquisition of it. Later in the program, commentator Cole Bradley returns to reflect on the role of champions like Stephanie in redeveloping some of the city's important (and cool) older buildings. 
January 23, 2022
Talking with Tonya Meeks, New Local Urban Land Institute Coordinator
In this program, Memphis Metropolis welcomes Tonya Meeks, new district coordinator for Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Memphis. ULI is an international organization made up of real estate and land use professionals with a shared vision to shape the built environment.  Tonya brings years of work in nonprofit consulting to her new role, as well as experience in the real estate industry. Emily and Tonya talk about the role of ULI in the community and highlight upcoming programs that will focus on receivership (a tool to redevelop blighted properties) and housing for refugees coming to Memphis.  Resources and Information Urban Land Institute - Memphis
January 16, 2022
Memphis Neighborhood Plans Are Coming to Life. With Susannah Barton and Charlie Santo.
Planning for a whole city's future development is critically important but the process can seem abstract to many participants. That's where small area plans come into play. In this program, Memphis Metropolis is joined by Susannah Barton, administrator of comprehensive planning at the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development (DPD). DPD recently completed small area plans around important anchors in eight Memphis neighborhoods, from South City and Soulsville to Hollywood-Hyde Park and Highland Heights. Susannah explains how the community was engaged in setting its own priorities and how funding has already been set aside to implement some of the top recommendations. Later in the program, regular commentator Charlie Santo returns to talk about the city's welcome new era of planning and to reflect on a favorite Ry Cooder song about cities and baseball: 3rd Base, Dodger Stadium. Information and Resources Memphis 3.0 (Office of Comprehensive Planning
January 09, 2022
Memphis Medical District Collaborative Celebrates Five Years. With Alex Feldman and Rory Thomas
If you've driven around the Memphis Medical District recently, you've probably noticed new housing development projects, spiffed up storefronts, and improvements to the neighborhoods streets and public spaces. Plus there's lots more going on behind the scenes. Learn about it in our interview with Alex Feldman of U3 Advisors and Rory Thomas from the Medical District Collaborative, as they reflect on the results of the "anchor strategy" being implemented in the area - and share their wishes and plan for the next five years.  More information MMDC Five Year Report
December 26, 2021
A New Ed Rice Community Center is Coming to Frayser. With Todd Walker and Shelly Rice.
Several transformative development projects are coming to the Frayser neighborhood, including a brand new Ed Rice Community Center. In this program, Memphis Metropolis speaks with Todd Walker, architect and principal at Archimania, and Shelly Rice from the Frayser Exchange Club. Todd, Shelly, and Emily talk about why Ed Rice is so important to the Frayser community, and how the new community center is all about connectivity - between inside and outside spaces and between people.  Later in the show, regular commentator Cole Bradley joins in to talk more about connections and why urban design is so important in civic spaces.
December 19, 2021
Helping Memphis Seniors Age in Place. With Christin Reeder and Austin Harrison.
Many elders want to stay in their homes as they age, but poor housing conditions and lack of accessibility can be significant barriers. Christin Reeder, senior research and evaluation manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, visits the program to discuss these challenges and how Habitat’s Aging in Place home repair program has helped many Memphis seniors stay in their homes and improve their quality of life. Later, regular commentator Austin Harrison shares his thoughts on the many benefits of staying in place, including familiarity and stability, and other topics. More information Habitat for Humanity Aging in Place
December 12, 2021
Liberty Park Development Ushers in a New Era for a Historic Community Space. With Ashley Cash, Mary Claire Borys, and Cole Bradley.
Ashley Cash and Mary Claire Borys from the City of Memphis Divison of Housing and Community Development visit Memphis Metropolis to discuss the new Liberty Park community and youth sports complex being built on the former site of the MidSouth Fairgrounds. Ashley, Mary Claire, and Emily discuss the land's interesting history - as a race track, casino, municipal swimming pool, among many other uses - and plans to knit the new facilities into the broader campus that also includes the Kroc, Children's Museum, Tiger Lane, and the Liberty Bowl.  More information about Liberty Park:
November 26, 2021
Making Midtown's Cooper Street a Carbon Neutral Corridor. With Jacob Davis and Charlie Santo.
Architect Jacob Davis from Archimania visits Memphis Metropolis to explain the firm's innovative efforts to reimagine Cooper Street as a "carbon neutral corridor" by renovating its aging building stock in a sustainable and connected manner, beginning with their own headquarters. Later in the program, commentator Charlie Santo comes by to discuss other strategies - from street trees to micro-transit - that could reduce the carbon footprint of Cooper and similar streets.  Resources and Information Visit the Archimania website for more information about their work on carbon neutral corridors.
November 20, 2021
Making All Places Matter. With Jamilica Burke and Cole Bradley.
What neighborhood or zip code families live in can have huge implications for how well they live, in terms of health and longevity, income, transportation, and access to economic opportunities. This week Memphis Metropolis welcomes Jamilca Burke, chief strategy and impact officer for Seeding Success. Seeding Success is helping facilitate a multi-sector initiative called Place Matters that aims to "define the challenges of our social and economic systems and policies, and identify sustainable solutions that make a shared vision for a thriving community a reality. The goal will be to improve the connection between the systems that support families like housing, community development, economic development, education, transportation, health, and workforce development and allow residents to access these resources efficiently." Later in the show, regular commentator Cole Bradley returns to do a deeper dive into the disparity between places and the elements of a neighborhood where everyone can thrive.  Read more about and get involved with the Place Matters initiative here. 
November 14, 2021
Land Installment Contracts Pose a Danger to Hopeful Homebuyers. With Andrew Guthrie and Austin Harrison
Land Installment Contracts (LICs) are a dangerous rent-to-own scheme that can leave potential homebuyers in the lurch instead of leading to homeownership. Although not a new kind of agreement, LICs have proliferated in Memphis in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, after which many single-family homes were purchased by large out-of-town investors. This week, Dr. Andrew Guthrie from the University of Memphis Dept. of City and Regional Planning visits the program to discuss some research he and U of M colleagues are undertaking around the impact of LICs on Memphis families and neighborhoods. Later in the program, regular commentator and housing expert Austin Harrison returns to talk about what's happening around LICs in other parts of the U.S., in terms of both research and activism.  Further information A Memphis Mirage: How Home Mortgage Alternatives and Increased Equity Firm Ownership Diminish Wealth in Low-Income Communities” by Wade Rathke (founder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and Diné Butler examines how large equity firms diminished home wealth in low-income neighborhoods in Memphis and the nation in the years following the Great Recession. White paper from the Hooks Institute.  United Housing. For help or resources if you think you have or are being offered a land installment contract.
November 07, 2021
What's Behind the Big Rent Increases in Memphis? With Jacob Steimer and Austin Harrison.
MLk50 reporter Jacob Steimer visits Memphis Metropolis for a discussion of his recent reporting about dramatic increases in local rents and how families are being impacted. Later in the show, regular commentator Austin Harris provides some historical context to how the local rental market has changed over the past 15 years and talks with Emily about potential policy changes that could keep rents in line. 
October 24, 2021
Community Organizing During COVID. With Justin Merrick and Cole Bradley.
Justin Merrick from Center for Transforming Communities (CTC) visits Memphis Metropolis to talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected community engagement and organizing.
October 17, 2021
Strengthening Neighborhood Centers Through Strategic Rezoning. With John Zeanah.
This week we take a deep dive into the qualities that make neighborhood commercial districts attractive, appealing, and livable - and how proposed local zoning changes could over time eliminate undesirable land uses and contribute to the revitalization of those places. Returning to the show for this discussion, Director of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development. 
October 01, 2021
V & E Greenline Celebrates 25 Years. With Dennis Ostrow and Cole Bradley.
This week, Dennis Ostrow from the volunteer-built and -maintained V & E Greenline visits to discuss the origins of the city's first green line, its enhancements over the years, and its importance to the VECA neighborhood. Later in the show, commentator Cole Bradley and host Emily Trenholm talk about the many community benefits to green lines and greenways, in the areas of transportation, health, neighborhood connectivity, and community building.  VECA's annual fundraiser for the V & E Greenline will be Saturday, October 9, 2021. Plan to attend! Resources and Information V & E Greenline
September 26, 2021
How Resilient is Shelby County? With Jared Darby and Charlie Santo.
With extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida happening so frequently, communities around the U.S. are considering their own preparedness. This week, Memphis Metropolis sat down with Jared Darby from the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustainability and Resilience. After the severe local flooding in 2011, Shelby County received federal grant funding to craft a resilience plan and just as importantly, build projects that would help mitigate future flooding. On the show, Jared discusses those ongoing projects and more. Later in the program, regular commentator Charlies Santo from the University of Memphis came by for a deeper dive into the meaning of resilience and the importance of social vulnerability in addressing it. Charlie and Emily also discussed the Regional Greenprint Plan, which built the foundation for local sustainability efforts and indirectly also ushered in a new era of planning in Memphis and Shelby County. More information Resilient Shelby Memphis and Shelby County Resilience Plan
September 19, 2021
Rethinking the Role of Agriculture in Real Estate Development. With Daron Joffee and Marlon Foster.
Daron Joffee, also known as Farmer D, visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss how incorporating agricultural uses such as farms, gardens, and farmers markets into "agrihoods" (agriculture-based neighborhoods) can promote land conservation and the farming sector while also benefiting residents through a greater sense of community. We were also joined by Marlon Foster, executive director of Knowledgequest in South Memphis, an early proponent and practitioner of the agrihood concept through the Greenleaf Learning Farm.  Resources and Information Citizen Farmer website, including a link to the CF podcast and book.  Greenleaf Learning Farm at Knowledgequest
September 12, 2021
Endangered Places: Preserving Shelby County's Historic Cemeteries. With Jimmy Rout III
Shelby County historian Jimmy Rout III visits the show to discuss the preservation of Shelby County's smaller historic cemeteries, including African American resting places such as Hollywood (Memphis Slim and Furry Lewis are buried there)  and Mt. Carmel (containing the grave of Memphis hero Tom Lee) in South Memphis, as well as the many family-owned burial sites in the county.  Additional information  Email Shelby County historian Jimmy Rout III Gravestone Inscriptions from Shelby County Photos from Hollywood, Mt. Carmel, and other historic cemeteries at the Historic Memphis website. Sacred to the Memory - a portfolio of photos of forgotten African American burial places in Shelby County, from University of Memphis professor Coriana Close. 
September 04, 2021
Metamorphosis Project Addresses LGBTQ Youth Housing Insecurity. With Stephanie Bell and Cole Bradley
When LGBTQ+ youth become homeless or face housing challenges, the ripple effects on health, employment, and safety can be profound. This week, Stephanie Bell visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss how Out Memphis is addressing the issue on many fronts through its Metamorphosis Project, a new resource and housing support center. Later in the show, regular commentator Cole Bradley stops by to talk about other local progress on the homeless-serving front and the historic importance of special places - from bars to neighborhoods - in the gay community.  More information Out Memphis Donate to the Metamorphosis Project Bar Fight: The Rise and Fall of Memphis' Gay Bars
August 29, 2021
Mound Up: How a Community-College Partnership is Helping Orange Mound Residents Chart Their Future,
This week, Mr. Muhammad from Juice Orange Mound and Rhodes College student Mary Elizabeth Whitmire visit Memphis Metropolis to discuss the Mound Up Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. Through a resident-led planning process - supported by Rhodes students - the Orange Mound community is identifying its own priorities and projects as the neighborhood and surrounding areas are experiencing rapid change. Later in the show, commentator Austin Harrison shares his perspective as the Rhodes professor working to support the plan and build long-term partnerships between the college and the community.  Resources Mound Up Urban Revitalization Plan  Mound Up on Facebook  Juice Orange Mound
August 23, 2021
Summer Avenue stakeholders plan for a safer and more attractive street. With Bradyn Carson, Meghan Medford, and Austin Harrison.
This week, Bradyn Carson from the Memphis Office of Comprehensive Planning and Meghan Medford from Summer Avenue Merchants Association visit Memphis Metropolis to talk about a so-called Complete Streets study for Summer. Through the planning process, stakeholders including business owners, residents, and nonprofits will identify needs, priorities, and recommendations to make the streets safe for all users - including pedestrians, bike riders. and transit users - and more attractive as well.  Later in the program, regular commentator Austin Harrison returns to talk with host Emily Trenholm about the ongoing renaissance of Summer and how planners and neighbors are working to celebrate and preserve the city's true international district.  Resources and Information Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development website Summer Avenue virtual planning session - Thursday, September 9 @ noon - Zoom link here Summer Avenue virtual planning session - Thursday, September 9 @ 4:30 p.m. - Zoom link here Summer Avenue Merchants Association website Summer Avenue Merchants Association on Facebook
August 15, 2021
Groove On-Demand Shuttle Expands Transit Options. With Lauren Bermudez and Charlie Santo.
Memphis Metropolis returns after a break! This week, Lauren Bermudez of Downtown Memphis Commission visits to talk about the Groove On-Demand Shuttle, an on-call van service connecting downtown and the medical district with neighborhoods in North and South Memphis. Groove is being piloted by a partnership between DMC, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, and Memphis Area Transit Authority, and has the potential to make transit more accessible and useful to both existing and new riders.  Later in the program, regular commentator Charlie Santo joins Emily to talk about the role of technology in the future of transit (could self-driving transit vehicles be in the future?) and whether or not services like the Groove On-Demand Shuttle could increase ridership from populations MATA hasn't traditionally served.  Information and Resources Learn more and sign up for the Groove On-Demand Shuttle
August 08, 2021
Endangered Structures: Mid-South Coliseum. With Angela Barksdale, Roy Barnes, and Cole Bradley.
For the second show in our Endangered Structures series, Memphis Metropolis sits down with Angela Barksdale and Roy Barnes of the Coliseum Coalition to discuss why the Coliseum is so important to Memphis and particularly, the Orange Mound neighborhood; how the Coalition is working to support its redevelopment; and how the building can enhance and support the Liberty Park development at the Fairgrounds. Later in the program, regular commentator Cole Bradley from High Ground News comes back to share childhood memories of the Coliseum and discuss the Beltline, a smaller but equally historic neighborhood that is also adjacent to the Fairgrounds. Resources and Information Coliseum Coalition website Coliseum Coalition on Facebook Liberty Park website
June 06, 2021
Explore Bike Share Gets Electrified. With Anton Mack and Charlie Santo.
Anton Mack from Explore Bike Share pays a visit to Memphis Metropolis to discuss the organization's new fleet of electric bikes, how their program and ridership shifted during the pandemic, and their long-range plans to integrate more seamlessly into local transit and overall transportation systems.  Later in the program, commentator Charlie Santo joins Emily to define and discuss micro-mobility - the use of shared transportation modes like bikes and scooters to make short trips - and its potential for Memphis. More information Explore Bike Share
May 28, 2021
A Community Land Trust Comes to Binghampton. With Magaly Cruz, Joni Laney, and Austin Harrison.
Community land trusts are a cooperative form of land ownership that keeps property affordable in perpetuity. Most commonly used to preserve housing affordability in a neighborhood where prices are appreciating (and threatening residents with displacement), CLTs can also be used for commercial, industrial, or agricultural purposes. This week, Magaly Cruz and Joni Laney visit Memphis Metropolis to talk about the city's first-ever CLT, in Binghampton, the development of their first housing unit, and the partners that helped them along the way. Later in the program, commentator Austin Harrison does a deeper dive into the history of CLTs and how real estate market dynamics may help determine what structure and purpose work in different neighborhoods.  Resources Binghampton Community Land Trust Grounded Solutions Network
May 23, 2021
Endangered Structures: Historic Baron Hirsch Synagogue
In this week's show, Josh First from the VECA neighborhood talks about the historic structure on Vollintine Avenue that was built in the 1950s by the Baron Hirsch synagogue along with an adjoining residential neighborhood - Vollintine Hills - that housed many of its members. The enormous structure, currently occupied by Gethsemane Gardens church, recently went on the market, and its future is uncertain. Josh and Emily also talk about the Volline Evergreen Community Association (VECA) which is celebrating 50 years of neighborhood activism, as well as the creation of neighbor-led amenities such as the VECA Greenline.  Later in the program, commentator Charlie Santo returns to discuss how VECA's strong understanding of and connection to its history has helped the organization stay engaged and relevant over the past decades.  More information: Then and Now: Baron Hirsch Synagogue
May 09, 2021
A Big Plan for Memphis Parks. With Nick Walker and Cole Bradley
This week, the city's Parks and Neighborhoods director Nick Walker visits Memphis Metropolis to talk about a new master plan for parks, the first that has been produced since 1999. 
May 02, 2021
The Skinny Lots of Memphis. With Josh Whitehead.
Many of Memphis's older neighborhoods - such as Cooper Young and South Memphis - were laid out with lots that are considerably narrower than what would be allowed today. Managing the redevelopment of those properties in a way that responds to real estate market pressures and is, at the same time, compatible with a neighborhood's look and feel, has presented challenges to both local government and community stakeholders. Josh Whitehead, zoning administrator of the city's Division of Planning and Development, joins Memphis Metropolis to discuss the history of some of the city's earliest subdivisions, and how both DPD and neighborhoods are working to ensure that infill development fits in and meets the desires of current and future residents of all older neighborhoods, from Midtown to Orange Mound. 
April 18, 2021
Fighting Blight in Memphis. With Leslie Smith and Austin Harrison.
This week, Memphis Metropolis gets deep into the weeds to understand the causes of blight and how community developers are using innovative tools to eradicate it, one property at a time. First, Leslie Smith, executive director of Blight Authority of Memphis, explains what a land bank authority can do and how BAM's creation brought some new tools to the table in the city's efforts to fight blight. Later in the show, regular commentator (and self-described 'blight nerd') Austin Harrison returns to discuss the economic impact of blight on neighborhoods and the city, and why acknowledging the racist causes of blight - including public policies that supported redlining and predatory lending - are key to developing equitable ways to eradicate it. Resources Blight Authority of Memphis Memphis Fights Blight
April 11, 2021
Historic Melrose School: Jewel of the Orange Mound Community. With Felicia Harris, Jimmie Tucker, and Charlie Santo.
This week,  Felicia Harris of the city's Division of Housing and Community Development and Jimmie Tucker of Self Tucker Architects visit Memphis Metropolis to talk about the upcoming revitalization of Historic Melrose School. Deeply informed by years of community advocacy for the building, the plan for Melrose calls for a new branch library, a genealogy room, affordable senior apartments, and other amenities.  Later in the show, commentator Charlie Santo, director of the University of Memphis Department of City and Regional Planning, joins Emily to talk about Mayor Strickland's recently announced Accelerate Memphis initiative, which will invest some $200 million in civic assets (such as Melrose), parks, and neighborhoods. Among many promising aspects to Accelerate Memphis is the resources it will allocate to supporting the city's recently adopted Memphis 3.0 comprehensive plan. 
April 04, 2021
The Challenge of Churches: What happens to the building when a congregation moves on? With Conner Walker, Dane Forlines, and Austin Harrison.
What happens when an urban congregation moves or closes, leaving a neighborhood with a large empty building? Conner Walker from Commercial Advisors and Dane Forlines with The Heights CDC visit Memphis Metropolis to talk about the redevelopment challenges presented by former church buildings, local success stories, and how congregations and neighborhoods can proactively encourage adaptive reuse, so important buildings are not lost to the wrecking ball. We also do a deep dive into the recent closure of Highland Heights United Methodist Church on Summer Avenue, and strategies the CDC is using to encourage the building's redevelopment and prevent its demolition. Later in the show, commentator Austin Harrison comes back to talk about the many different kinds of large buildings that can create blight in a neighborhood if empty - including schools, factories, and big-box stores - and how accumulated back taxes and liens can pose additional challenges to the feasibility of their redevelopment. 
March 28, 2021
Watch Where You Walk: Pedestrian Safety in Memphis. With Nick Oyler
Nick Oyler, bikeway and pedestrian program manager for the City of Memphis, makes a return visit to Memphis Metropolis to talk about pedestrian safety. This past week, Smart Growth America issued its Dangerous by Design 2021 study, which found that pedestrian deaths due to traffic accidents continue to increase nationally. Moreover, the study found that Memphis was the third most dangerous city for pedestrians, with pedestrian deaths up around 75 percent since 2019. In the show, Nick explains the connection between street design and pedestrian safety, why COVID and driver distraction have contributed to the rise in fatalities, and how dedicated funding for pedestrian infrastructure could help change the trajectory. And, why his team created a special map to help memorialize the lives of Memphis pedestrians that have been lost.  Links Dangerous by Design 2021 Bike-Ped Memphis Memorial Map
March 14, 2021
The Edge is Booming! With Ben Schulman and Ray Brown.
The Edge district is known for its eclectic style, great old buildings, public art, and an unconventional street grid.  The neighborhood is home to restaurants, recording studios, artist and makers spaces, art galleries, a craft brewery, and more recently, corporate offices and residential units. This week, Ben Schulman, director of real estate for Memphis Medical District Collaborative, stops by to discuss how a combination of neighborhood history, pre-vitalization activities, support for emerging developers, and other strategies has contributed to a development boom that is transforming the area. Later in the show, urban designer and regular commentator Ray Brown reflects on The Edge's walkability and how its musical and automotive histories give the area a clear identity and are a magnet for visitors.  Memphis Medical District Collaborative
March 07, 2021
Neighborhood Spotlight: Douglass. With Kathy Yancey Temple and Cole Bradley
Kathy Temple Yancey visits Memphis Metropolis to talk about Douglass, one of the city's most historic African American neighborhoods. Douglass is home to many important community institutions, including Douglass Park (longtime home of the annual Juneteenth festival) and Douglass HIgh, which was closed and demolished in the wake of school desegregation but has since been rebuilt as a state-of-the-art facility. Kathy also explains the work of Time is Now Douglass CDC, which is working to revitalize the neighborhood through community organizing and addressing issues such as blight and food insecurity. Later in the program, regular commentator Cole Bradley, editor of High Ground News, talks with Emily about the many qualities that have made Douglass unique among Memphis neighborhoods.
February 28, 2021
Introducing AIA Memphis' new director and learning more about historic cemeteries. With Amber Lombardo and Holly Jansen Fulkerson.
Amber Lombardo, recently appointed executive director of the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss AIA's mission, programs, and priorities, including the creation of a statewide tax credit for historic preservation. Later in the show, regular commentator Holly Jansen Fulkerson from Memphis Heritage elaborates on the need for additional preservation incentives and previews MHI's upcoming Preservation Series,  focusing on historic cemeteries.  Additional Information AIA Memphis Memphis Heritage (check back for information about registering for the preservation series) Sacred to the Memory - a portfolio of photos of abandoned and forgotten burial places in Shelby County. From University of Memphis professor Coriana Close.
February 21, 2021
The State of Memphis Housing. With Mairi Albertson, Austin Harrison, and Charlie Santo.
Last fall, The City of Memphis and Innovate Memphis published The State of Memphis Housing: Rising to Respond to Crisis to call attention to affordable housing challenges facing our community and foster collaborations to craft and implement solutions. In this episode, Mairi Albertson from the Division of Housing and Community Development and Austin Harrison with Innovate Memphis visit Memphis Metropolis to reflect on the impact of COVID on housing stability, how supply is falling in different segments of the affordable housing market, and how local government and nonprofits are and could be responding.  In the second half of the program, commentator Charlie Santo returns to talk about the history of government-sponsored affordable housing - both public housing and housing vouchers - and how recent federal government programs focusing on neighborhood revitalization have reduced the overall supply of public housing units. Charlie and Emily also tee up some future Memphis Metropolis topics, such as community land trusts, the current multifamily construction boom in Midtown and downtown, and various kinds of rent-to-own programs that often promise much more than they deliver to participants.  Resource State of Memphis Housing Report
February 14, 2021
My City Rides: Rethinking How People Get to Work. With Andy Nix, Megan Klein, and Cole Bradley.
This week, Andy Nix and Megan Klein from My City Rides discuss how the nonprofit is using affordable scooter ownership to help Memphians secure reliable transportation to work. Also: MCR's efforts to connect its "flyers" to food delivery opportunities during the pandemic and its upcoming move to a new campus on Summer Avenue. Later in the program, regular commentator Cole Bradley, editor of High Ground News, pays a visit to talk with Emily about expanding local transportation options and two new High Ground series.  For more information My City Rides High Ground News
February 07, 2021
South Memphis Collaborators Plan a Renaissance. With Reginald Milton, Andy Kitsinger, and Charlie Santo.
This week, Memphis Metropolis takes a deep dive into Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and in particular, a proposal to use the tool for the revitalization of South Memphis. Our guests are Reginald Milton, Shelby County Commissioner and executive director of South Memphis Alliance, and Andy Kitsinger, principal of Development Studio. The proposed TIF district is being spearheaded by the Soulsville USA Neighborhoods Development District, a broad community coalition made up of nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations, faith leaders, and institutions.  Later in the program, Charlie Santo pays a return visit to Memphis Metropolis to talk more about how TIFs work here and in other cities,  whether there can be too many TIFs, and what other tools can accomplish some of the same objectives. We also debate whether or not it is ever appropriate to utilize the tool in an affluent area, such as the recent (and controversial) TIF district established in East Memphis.  Resources Soulsville USA Neighborhood Development District
January 24, 2021
Neighborhood Spotlight: Alcy Ball. With Seth Harkins and Cole Bradley.
In our first field interview, Memphis Metropolis visits Seth Harkins of the Alcy Ball Development Corporation to learn about Alcy Ball, a South Memphis neighborhood northwest of the airport with a long history of African American homeownership and a strong sense of community. ABDC's most recent project is the Rogers Store, a long-time corner store that has been transformed into a community gathering place.  Later in the show, Cole Bradley from High Ground News returns to brainstorm with Emily about future Neighborhood Spotlight locations and talk about High Ground's "Still Serving" series of videos highlighting Memphis restaurants operating in the pandemic.  Links Alcy Ball Development Corp. web site Alcy Ball Development Corp. on Facebook Still Serving video: Paletas in the pandemic with La Michoacana Still Serving video: Take a pandemic-safe trip to Venezuela with Sabor Caribe
January 17, 2021
The urban grocery store conundrum. With Shawn Massey and Charlie Santo.
Retail expert Shawn Massey, principal of TSCG, visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss why it is so difficult to attract grocery stores to a low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. From Binghampton to South City,  community partners have come together in various efforts to bring food retailers to underserved areas.  For projects to be successful, funding incentives are often needed, and neighborhood commitment and involvement (on the part of both residents and operators) are critically important.  In the second half of the program, commentator Charlie Santo and Emily discuss the importance of better transit in addressing food insecurity, the need to support and incentivize grocers without letting them off the hook,  and how nonprofit models like The Works' Grocer at South Memphis Farmers Market and Knowledgequest's Greenleaf Learning Farm are making a difference in meeting neighborhood nutrition needs.
January 10, 2021
Memphis 3.0 - One Year In. With John Zeanah.
John Zeanah, director of the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development, visits Memphis Metropolis to reflect on the year since the city's first comprehensive plan in decades was adopted, and to solicit citizen input on some proposed 3.0 updates. Emily and John also discuss the launch of the Develop901 web site, which offers developers and other stakeholders easier access to information and resources.  Develop901 Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan (general site) Proposed updates to the 3.0 Plan Form for submitting comments about the updates
January 02, 2021
Overton Park plans for the future with a eye to the past and present. With Tina Sullivan and Holly Jansen Fulkerson.
Overton Park Conservancy executive director Tina Sullivan discusses OPC's master planning process, which is currently focused on the east side of the park.  Key issues the plan is addressing include creating a vision for the park's expansion into the 13-acre tract at the park’s southeast corner currently known as the General Services, as well as taking a fresh look at the Bike Gate plaza and the East Parkway playground, pavilion, and picnic areas -- better connecting these assets with each other and with the western part of the park.  In the second half of the program, Holly Jansen Fulkerson from Memphis Heritage returns to Memphis Metropolis to discuss the era of segregated public parks, the development of historic Church and Douglass Parks to serve African Americans, and the renaming of Memphis parks over the years.  Resources Overton Park Conservancy Overton Park Planning Effort – Zone 1 Memphis Heritage Overton Park: A People's History - By Brooks Lamb
December 27, 2020
Keep Your Land campaign engages Orange Mound residents. With Britney Thornton and Cole Bradley
Britney Thornton from Juice Orange Mound joins Memphis Metropolis to discuss the organization's origins and its recent growth, including the build out of its Street Assembly and the creation of a new program focused on entrepreneurs that are single mothers. With redevelopment occurring or planned Orange Mound's borders, The Keep Your Land billboard campaign encourages residents to maintain ownership of their property, in order to  build their assets and help maintain neighborhood control of land.  Later, High Ground News editor Cole Bradley visits the show to talk more about Orange Mound and reflect on how COVID has impacted Memphis neighborhoods in 2020.  Resources Juice Orange Mound web site Juice Orange Mound on Facebook
December 19, 2020
Neighborhood Spotlight: The Heights. With Jared Myers and Ray Brown
In the first of a series of Neighborhood Spotlights, Jared Myers from the The Heights CDC visits Memphis Metropolis to talk all about The Heights neighborhood - the places and the people. From Randolph Library to neighborhood schools to international food restaurants and market, The Heights  is rich in assets and has a strong sense of community. Jared and Emily discuss two current CDC-led initiatives, including The Heights Line - an active transportation route along National Street and a proposed small area plan for a portion of Summer Avenue. Later in the show, Ray and Emily reflect on challenges of managing neighborhood change in a way that benefits current residents, revisit the topic of how design standards for neighborhoods could help increase community support for more infill and density, and mourn the recent loss of architect Marty Gorman. Resources and Information  Heights Line Heights CDC
December 13, 2020
An innovative local program is helping prevent evictions. With Webb Brewer, Constance Brown, and Charlie Santo.
Webb Brewer and Constance Brown from Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. discuss an innovative Memphis and Shelby  County program that helps both tenants and landlords avoid evictions caused by COVID. Later in the show, commentator Charlie Santo from University of Memphis returns to discuss some of the historical causes and impacts of evictions in Memphis. Emily and Charlie also reflect on the legacy of Tommy Pacello, a transformative community development leader who died in November.  Resources Information about applying for the eviction program Form to declare COVID-19 related financial distress
December 06, 2020
Crosstown and VECA neighborhoods pursue Landmarks District status. With Jennifer Amido, Suzy Askew, and Holly Jansen Fulkerson.
Jennifer Amido from Crosstown and Suzy Askew from Vollintine Evergreen (VECA) talk about their respective neighborhood's special characteristics and their efforts to be designated as local landmark districts.  Later in the program, Holly Jansen Fulkerson from Memphis Heritage explains the differences between local and national historic district designations and the protections they do (or don't) provide,  Resources: VECA's application to be a Historic Conservation District Map of landmark districts in Memphis Application to create a new historic district in Memphis Memphis Heritage
November 28, 2020
How can Memphis increase black homeownership? With Antoine Thompson, Amy Scaftlein, and Cole Bradley.
Antoine Thompson, national executive director of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), and Amy Shaftlein, executive director of United Housing,  visit Memphis Metropolis to talk about the impacts of discrimination and public policy on black homeownership, and how strategies like down payment assistance and updated credit criteria can help.  Later in the program, commentator Cole Bradley and Emily talk about the impact of this disparity on Memphis neighborhoods,  the high percentage of homes owned by outside investors, and how neighborhoods like Orange Mound and Klondike Smokey City are working to take back control of their land and increase homeownership.  Resources National Association of Real Estate Brokers The State of Housing in Black America The State of Memphis Housing 2020: Rising to Respond to Crisis United Housing - homebuyer education, down payment assistance, affordable loans
November 21, 2020
Making Neighborhoods More Lovable. With Abby Miller and Charlie Santo.
In her decade in Memphis working with Innovate Memphis,  and (currently), the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC), Abby Miller -with her colleagues and collaborators - has helped pioneer a number of innovations designed to spur neighborhood economic vitality and reduce the barriers for emerging creative businesses. Abby visits Memphis Metropolis to reflect on how small-scale strategies such as pop-up shops, facade beautification,  and pedestrian improvements can help unlock the "lovabilty" and economic potential of a street or neighborhood.  Later in the program,  Emily and commentator Charlie Santo talk about the efforts of the MMDC and whether similar so-called "anchor strategies" (based around one or more institutions) could be deployed in the University District, as well. 
November 14, 2020
Building a City We Can All Afford. With Anna Holtzclaw, Alex Willis, and commentator Ray Brown.
Anna Holtzclaw from Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Alex Willis from Comcap Partners join Memphis Metropolis to discuss ULI's recent 21-day Equitable Development Challenge,  an opportunity for member and non-members to spend time both personally reflecting and in group discussions to identify real actions they can take individually, at their organizations, and as a community to address the inequities in the real estate industry.  Later in the program,  commentator (and explainer extraordinaire) Ray Brown discuss the Unified Development Code (UDC) for Memphis and Shelby  County and some proposed amendments that if adopted, could potentially reduce citizen input in planning decisions and lead to an increase in so-called "tall skinnies" in the Midtown area.  If you need a primer on the UDC as well as the difference between the Land Use Control Board and the Board of Adjustment, this is a discussion you won't want to miss.  Useful links: Event: ULI Memphis Building a City We Can All Afford - Session Four: Solutions for Memphis Information about proposed changes to the Unified Development Code
November 06, 2020
Memphis neighborhoods are calling the shots in public art decisions. With A.M. O'Malley and commentator Cole Bradley.
A.M. O'Malley from Urban Art Commission visits Memphis Metropolis to discuss the organization's Neighborhood Art Initiative and a new project celebrating postal workers.  Later in the show,  commentator Cole  Bradley and Emily talk about increasing resident influence on how neighborhood places are shaped,  including parks, public art, and more. 
October 31, 2020
Biking in Memphis: The State of the System. With John Paul Shaffer, Nick Oyler, and Charlie Santo
John Paul Shaffer from PeopleForBikes and Nick Oyler from the City of Memphis join us to talk about how Memphis has gone from 2 to 300 miles of off- and on-road bicycle facilities over a decade; which projects have been truly transformative, such as Shelby Farms Greenway and the Harahan Bridge Crossing; and how an intentional focus on equity and neighborhood-based programming has helped more Memphians get on bikes for recreation and transportation.  Later in the program, regular commentator Charlie Santo reflects on moving from transportation mecca Portland, OR to Memphis and trying to navigate the local system.  Charlie and Emily also talk about how bike infrastructure and related improvements like traffic calming can potentially help increase access to public spaces such as Tom Lee Park and Riverside Park.  Additional resources
October 23, 2020
Memphis Heritage looks ahead and recent doings on Broad and Summer Avenues. With Holly Jansen Fulkerson and Ray Brown.
Holly Jansen Fulkerson from Memphis Heritage visits Memphis Metropolis to explain what historic preservation is all about, discuss some recent advocacy efforts, and introduce a new program focused on the recognition and documentation of historic African American places.  Later in the program, urban designer Ray Brown joins Emily to talk about why a gas station and convenience store on Sam Cooper and Hollywood was a bad idea and the development challenges and opportunities on Summer Avenue. 
October 15, 2020
Special guest Steve Lockwood and commentator Charlie Santo
Memphis Metropolis is about the built environment – the building blocks that define the look and feel of our city and region. From the downtown skyscrapers to the historic neighborhoods to the suburbs, we’ll talk to community leaders and residents, examining architecture, transportation, public art, parks, development and redevelopment plans, and much more, from a variety of perspectives. Your host is Emily Trenholm. In our inaugural show,  Steve Lockwood of Frayser CDC reflects on his career in Memphis community development, including stints as staff or board member at VECA CDC and Cooper Young Development Corp.  Then, Charlie Santo, chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Memphis, talks with us about the growth of the local CDC industry, the challenges of redeveloping suburban-style neighborhoods, and why everyone needs to fill out their Census forms. 
October 09, 2020