Nearly eight-months ago some rando at the Times branded Knoxville as “The Couch“. This new-to-Knoxvillians moniker caught fire – we covered most of the stories here.
Last week over at the Wigshop, ‘the modern gal’ raised the question again, “is Knoxville having an identity crisis?”
Since the 1920s Knoxville has been searching for its I.D. card. In Knoxville, Tennessee: A mountain city in the new south, William B. Wheeler writes, “…instead of inventing a past that would give them energy, optimism, and strength, Knoxvillians fabricated a history that portrayed the city as the almost impotent product of historical forces that it could neither alter nor control.”
Our city is living in a time of peril with no time for an identity crisis. We are Knoxville, a city of people in four corners that can weather the storm and paint our town a new color.
How can we, as Knoxvillians, band together and shed the fear of today’s times so that we can help our city thrive, all while creating a new name for Knoxville?
Photography by william c hutton jr
I think the city needs to shift away from the consumerist sprawl of the late 90s, and get back to the rustic Appalachian roots. But with a twist of technology.
I think Knoxville can merge a Nashville/Asheville culture to create something in between. I’m just not sure what you call it. New Appalachia?
I think it thrives by being what it is – a giant suburb. @Patrick is a much smarter man then I, but I don’t think it’s possible to flip the change of sprawl and I’m not sure that those sprawler’s care.
But if you say let’s forget those 150k people in the burbs and focus on a smaller group of people who do want Knoxville to thrive and have the citizen ownership of a Louisville, Austin, Asheville or even Nashville I think it needs a unified identity.
The fact that Knoxville doesn’t have a unified identity is pretty amazing to me considering this town seems to have more creative agency’s per captia then any place else I’ve lived.
So let’s recreate Knoxville, but is the identity found in our roots or our future?