Scenic America's 2022 Scenic Symposium



Plan Your Visit



Sponsorship information

Scenic America and Scenic Tennessee invite you to Nashville this fall for the 2022 Scenic Symposium. This year’s event will explore THE PERSONALITY OF PLACE—the scenic, natural, cultural and emotional qualities that give a place its identity, drive its economy, connect its people and tell its story.

Note to planners, architects and landscape architects:
Continuing education credits (ASLA CM, LA CES and AIA CES) will be available

Agenda Highlights

(scroll down for full agenda)

East Bank Design Dialogue, featuring Andrés Duany
In August, Nashville’s planning department unveiled Imagine East Bank, a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to re-envision 338 underused and largely industrial acres along the Cumberland River into a network of walkable neighborhoods, sustainable outdoor spaces, equitable housing and a renewed respect for the river. The plan is now open for public comment, and few observers are better positioned to weigh in than Miami architect Andrés Duany, “father of the New Urbanism,” whose ideas about the American city have influenced hundreds of projects across the country. You won’t want to miss this conversation, which includes Anna Grider, project manager for Imagine East Bank, Ben Crenshaw, VP of design at Southern Land Company, and Ronald Lee Fleming, founder of The Townscape Institute in Boston and board chair emeritus of Scenic America.

Revisioning Second Avenue
Led by the project management team at architectural and design firm GHP and others, this session will look at the challenges and opportunities created by the Christmas Day 2020 bombing of Nashville’s defining historic district. After the presentation, we’ll head downtown for a look at how the project is progressing, followed by a reception at the Civic Design Center. Photo credit: Alan Poizner for The Tennessean.

Placemaking: Jefferson Street
For generations of Black Tennesseans, North Nashville’s Jefferson Street was “their” street, home to thriving neighborhood businesses, an axis connecting three of the country’s best Black colleges and universities, and a mecca for some of the biggest names in music, from Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix to Aretha Franklin and Etta James. Urban renewal, Interstate 40, gentrification and a devastating tornado have severely tested but not broken that spirit. Photo credit: Marge Davis.

Scenic Considerations of the EV Revolution
Electric vehicles are poised to transform the landscape in a myriad of ways, from the aesthetics of EV charging stations to the air-quality and climate benefits of reduced carbon emissions. With the Blue Oval City megasite breaking ground near Memphis and the launch of the Drive Electric Tennessee visioning initiative, Tennessee can and should play a major role in ensuring that scenic considerations are part of the EV revolution. Photo credit:

The Road Ahead for Scenic Byways
Thanks to last year’s designation of 49 new national scenic roads by the Federal Highway Administration, Tennessee now has nine national scenic byways, more than almost any other state. In this session we’ll hear from national byways experts as well as a member of two local byways teams who will discuss the process for gaining designation, quantify the benefits and review new funding and prospects for additional support. Photo credit: Chuck Sutherland.

Tennessee Vistas: Tennessee’s Scenic Viewshed Register
Learn about this new community-based initiative to identify, map and encourage the preservation of the vistas that define Tennessee and drive local economies. National authorities in visual resource stewardship will discuss recent research, GIS specialists will explain how the public can use smartphones to nominate favorite views, and a team from the pilot inventory in the Upper Cumberlands will give a report. Photo credit: Larry Anderson.

Essential Agritourism
Speakers representing the Center for Profitable Agriculture, the Climate Institute, Lucky Ladd Farms, TennGreen Land Conservancy, Burns Village & Farm Agrihood and the state’s thriving agritourism entrepreneurs will discuss the importance of this sector to Tennessee’s scenic, economic, climate and environmental sustainability. Afterwards, we’ll head to Arrington Vineyards in Williamson County for outdoor jazz, bluegrass and Food Truck Friday. Photo credit:

History in the Palm of Your Hand
Learn what goes into building web-based local history tours AND enjoy a walking tour of Music Row with the team behind Nashville Sites, a series of self-guided, credibly curated online tours that tell Nashville’s story, from lunch-counter sit-ins to the Nashville Sound. Photo credit:

The Case for Undergrounding
Scenic values are reason enough to consider burying power lines. However, the growing frequency of severe weather events, such as the super-tornado that devastated parts of middle Tennessee in 2021, adds to the urgency and further justifies the costs to local communities and utilities—costs that in many cases may be covered at least in part by increased federal funding. Photo credit: George Walker IV /

Pushing Back on Billboards
Earlier this year, Tennessee legislators tabled a bill that would have forced cities to allow virtually any legal static billboard to convert to digital (changeable) display. Shortly afterwards, the U.S. Supreme Court in Austin v Reagan upheld the on/off-premises distinction, a key provision in billboard control law. These were important wins, but the issues behind them aren’t over. We’ll hear from local, state and national experts on the implications of these cases and what to expect going forward. Photo credit: Marge Davis.

Getting Consensus on Scenic Ordinances in a Gateway Community
As the access points to national parks and other federal lands, gateway towns play a vital role in ensuring repeat visits while providing an enormous boost to regional economies. The challenge for scenic advocates is how to accommodate millions of visitors and the businesses, services and infrastructure that support them, while preserving the natural and cultural qualities that attract them in the first place.

Dark Skies
Some of the most dramatic scenic views are the ones we never get to see—because they are obscured by excessive, intrusive or inappropriate use of artificial light. Last year, Metro Nashville became the latest Tennessee community to pass an ordinance limiting light pollution. At-large council member Burkley Allen, who guided the ordinance to its 32-1 vote, will discuss the measure, the goals of the Dark Sky movement and why its success is important. Photo credit:

Tennessee CLEAN: An Update
Tennessee CLEAN (cleaner landscapes for the economy, agriculture and nature) is the most ambitious effort in decades to fix Tennessee’s litter problem. You’ll get an update on the proposal and what’s needed to win in the 2023 legislative session. Photo credit: Marge Davis.

Tennessee’s First Agrihood
An agrihood is a type of co-housing community with a focus on a working farm or community garden. There are nearly 100 agrihoods in the U.S. today, including, as of this year, Burns Village & Farm in Dickson County, Tennessee. Burns Village founding member John Patrick will describe the benefits of agrihoods, organizers’ plans for the Burns community, and its partnership with a legacy farm family that will help preserve and regenerate their farmland. Photo credit: Nashville Parent.

2022 Scenic Symposium Agenda

Unless otherwise noted, all events are in Laskey Great Hall, Scarritt Bennett Center, 1027 18th Ave. South.
Breakfast & lunch are included in registration fee; dinners are on your own

Weds, Oct 19 1-5 pm
Check-in for symposium
Laskey lobby
3-4:30 pm

Walking tour of Music Row
meet at Laskey lobby
Tour guides: Mary Ellen Pethel, Ph.D., executive director, Nashville Sites
Jessica Reeves, historic preservation planner, Metro Nashville Historical Commission
5-6 pm
Reception at TennGreen Land Conservancy
1213A 16th Ave South, Nashville
6 pm Dinner on your own
Thurs, Oct 20
7:30-8:30 am
Susie Gray Dining Hall
8:30-10 am
Check-in for symposium continues
8:30-10 amScenic America chapters and affiliates meeting
Kreitner Room, Laskey Building, 2nd Floor
10-10:15 am
Greetings and national updates from Scenic America
Mark Falzone, president, Scenic America
10:20-10:25 am Welcome from Music City
Nashville Mayor John Cooper
10:30-11:30 am

Visual Resource Stewardship Part 1: The Viewshed Approach to Scenic Protection
Richard Smardon, professor emeritus, SUNY dept of environmental studies & landscape architecture;
Patrick Miller, FASLA, FCELA, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech landscape architecture program
Brent Chamberlain, assoc prof, dept of landscape architecture & environmental planning, Utah State
11:35 am-noon
Creating & Marketing Self-Guided History Tours
Mary Ellen Pethel, Ph.D., executive director, Nashville Sites
Jessica Reeves, historic preservation planner, Metro Nashville Historical Commission
12-1 pm
Susie Gray Dining Hall
1-1:45 pm

What’s Ahead for Scenic Byways?
Mark Falzone, president, Scenic America
Sharon Strouse, executive director, National Scenic Byway Foundation
Mark Dudney, historic preservation planner, Upper Cumberland Development District
1:45-1:55 pmBreak
1:55-2:50 pm

Placemaking: Jefferson Street
LaTonya Turner, editor, Nashville Public Radio; documentary producer, Facing North
Tifinie Capehart, TSU urban studies; board member, Jefferson St United Merchants Partnership
Lorenzo Washington, founder, Jefferson Street Sound Museum
Butch Spyridon, CEO, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp
Kenneth Chilton, associate professor, department of public administration, Tennessee State Univ
2:55-3:40 pm

Revisioning/Rebuilding Nashville’s Second Avenue Historic District
Ron Gobbell, FAIA, president emeritus, GHP; project manager, Second Avenue recovery project
Michelle Scopel, senior project manager, Metro Development & Housing Agency
Gary Gaston, CEO, Nashville Civic Design Center
3:40-4 pm
Guests make their way to Second Avenue Historic District (limited seating available on minibus)
There will not be a return bus. We recommend you use rideshare to get back to your lodging
4-5 pmVisit to renovation site, Second Avenue Historic District
5-6 pm
Reception at the Civic Design Center
138 Second Ave., North, Suite 106 (Butler’s Run)
6 pmDinner on your own
Fri, Oct 21

7:30-8:30 am
Susie Gray Dining Hall
8:30-9:40 am

East Bank Design Dialogue 
Anna Grider, project manager, Metro Nashville planning department
Andrés Duany, FAIA, founding partner, DPZ CoDesign;
Ben Crenshaw, BLA, senior vice-president for design, Southern Land Company
Moderator: Ron Fleming, FAICP; founder, the Townscape Institute
9:45-10:35 am

Billboard Updates
1. The SCOTUS decision in Austin v Reagan 
Cooke Kelsey, Parker Sanchez, Houston, Texas (attorney for amicus brief)
Shawn Bible, beautification office coordinator, Tennessee DOT
2. Local Sign Ordinances & the Question of Local Control 
Sunny Sandos, city attorney, city of Johnson City
10:35-10:50 amBreak
10:50-11:35 am

VRS Part 2: TN’s Scenic Viewshed Register
Patrick Miller, FASLA, FCELA, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech landscape architecture program
Paul Dudley, location intelligence analyst, state of Tennessee Strategic Technology Services
Kari Williams, GIS specialist, state of Tennessee Strategic Technology Services
11:40 am-noon
Update on Tennessee CLEAN (Cleaner Landscapes for the Economy, Agriculture & Nature)
Kevin Botts, conservation policy director, Tennessee Wildlife Federation
12-1 pm
Susie Gray Dining Hall
1-1:45 pm

Scenic Tools & Ordinances
1. Undergrounding utilities 
Nathan O’Neill, policy and program director, Scenic America
2. Nashville’s dark sky ordinance
Burkley Allen, Metro Nashville Council
3. Passing scenic ordinances in a gateway community 
Jeff Ownby, director of building & planning, City of Gatlinburg
1:50-2:50 pm

Scenic Considerations of the EV Revolution
Moderator: Mike Dawida, executive director, Scenic Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
Savannah Robertson, Drive Electric Tennessee / East Tennessee Clean Fuels
McKale Carter, EV specialist, TVA Energy Services & Programs
Matthew Meservy, PE, TDOT long-range planning division
Laura Leigh Harris, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce
2:50-3:05 pmBreak
3:05-4:05 pm

Essential Agritourism: Scenic, Climate, Social & Economic Impacts 
Megan Bruch Leffew, marketing specialist, UT Extension Service’s Center for Profitable Agriculture
Amy Ladd, owner, Lucky Ladd Farms
John Noel, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Climate Institute
Christie Henderson, director of land conservation, TennGreen Land Conservancy
John Patrick, founding member, Burns Village & Farm Agrihood
4:05-4:15 pm
Final remarks
Mark Falzone, president, Scenic America
Marge Davis, president, Scenic Tennessee
5 pm
Buses depart Laskey parking lot for Arrington Vineyards (35-45 minute drive)
NOTE: If you are able to bring folding chairs or a blanket, please do!
6-8 pm
Outdoor jazz & bluegrass, Food Truck Friday (pay your own way)
Arrington Vineyards, 6211 Patton Rd, Arrington, TN
8 pmBuses depart Arrington Vineyards and return to Laskey Hall

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The Venue: Scarritt Bennett Center

The nonprofit Scarritt Bennett Center is Nashville’s premiere urban conference and retreat center, known for its old-world meeting spaces, superb meals (always including vegetarian options), affordable dorm-style rooms, and commitment to a just and sustainable world. Located on ten peaceful acres next to Vanderbilt University and just off Music Row, the campus is an easy walk to nearby restaurants and hotels, a five-minute Lyft or Uber ride to downtown and a 15-minute drive to the airport. Its five original buildings, built of native Crab Orchard stone between 1925 and 1928, were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as the Scarritt College Historic District.

Scarritt Bennett was founded in Kansas in 1892 as a training school for women missionaries; it moved to Nashville in 1921, and in 1952 it became one of the first private schools in the state to integrate (the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached here in 1957). Scarritt College for Christian Workers operated until 1988, when the campus was purchased by the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church, renamed the Scarritt Bennett Center and given a new mission: “To create space where individuals and groups engage each other to achieve a more just world.”

The official address for Scarritt Bennett Center is 1027 18th Avenue South, (615) 340-7500. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are in the Laskey Building and meals are in the Susie Gray Dining Hall. Please note than smoking and alcohol are not permitted anywhere on campus, including in the residence halls. Scroll further for lodging details, transit info and other information. Click here for campus and area maps and driving directions.

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Plan Your Visit

Unless otherwise noted, all events are at Scarritt Bennett Center, 1027 18th Avenue South, Nashville, TN (615) 340-7500. Click here for campus and area maps and driving directions.

If you drive: Set your GPS for 1027 18th Avenue South, the official address of the Scarritt Bennett Center. Enter the campus from 18th Avenue South via Parking Lot A (or, if Lot A is full, try Parking Lot B). The Laskey Building, prominently marked “Welcome Center,” is at the far end of Parking Lot A. You can also enter Laskey from 19th Avenue South, via the entrance closest to Wightman Chapel. See the map and directions PDF for more details.

Parking. Free, overnight parking at Scarritt Bennett Center is available on a first-come, first-served basis in Parking Lots A and B, accessible from 18th Ave. South. (Parking Lot A is the one closest to the Laskey Building.) On-street parking may be available, but it may be metered and limited to 2 hours. Longer term and overnight parking is available in some surface lots and parking garages; try using ParkMobile or other parking app. Ridesharing or carpooling are strongly recommended.

If you fly. Nashville International Airport (BNA) is about 15 minutes east of the conference venue via I-40. Car rental counters are near baggage claim 10. For all other ground transportation (ride-share pickup, taxi/limo, bus/shuttle), make your way to the Ground Transportation Center, located on Level 1 inside Terminal Garage 2. CAUTION: BNA is in a constant state of expansion, and finding your way to the Ground Transportation Center can be incredibly frustrating. To keep from getting lost once you exit the main terminal, we strongly recommend you watch this wayfinder video on the airport’s website.

Uber/Lyft. There are lots of rideshare drivers in Nashville. From the airport to Scarritt Bennett should cost around $20-25, not including tip. Uber/Lyft between Scarritt Bennett and downtown is about $8.

WeGo Bus. Nashville’s public transit system, formerly known as MTA, is now called WeGo, and fares must be paid through QuickTicket. You can order and pre-load a physical QuickTicket card before you arrive, but you can also download the QuickTicket app to your phone, create a virtual card and load it with enough funds for your time in Nashville. A 2-hour pass is $2, all-day is $4 ($1 and $2 for seniors). Transfers are said to be free and automatic, though we’ve not tried using them. You’ll need to transfer once if you are going to or from the airport:

  • WeGo bus from BNA airport to Scarritt Bennett Center. Make your way to the Ground Transportation Center at BNA (see instructions above) and look for the purple WeGo Bus #18. The bus driver will scan your QuickTicket app to collect your fare. The #18 bus runs every 45 minutes, and the whole trip, including transfer, should take just under an hour. At Wharf Station (where Lafayette crosses Wharf Ave/Charles E Davis Blvd), you’ll exit the bus, walk across Charles E Davis Blvd, and wait at the blue bus stop sign for Bus #25. The #25 runs every 10 minutes via Wharf, Chestnut and Edgehill avenues. At Edgehill and 19th Avenue South, exit the bus and walk half a block up 19th to Scarritt Bennett’s Laskey Building. It will be on your right, just past the Vanderbilt Child and Family Center, and just before Wightman Chapel.
  • WeGo bus from midtown (Scarritt, Vandy, etc) to downtown. Few buses go all the way to the heart of downtown, but buses #3, #5 or #7 will get you close. Check the WeGo route maps for details.

Carpooling / Park and Ride. WeGo offers free parking for carpoolers and those taking the bus. Access their Park and Ride locations here.

E-bike sharing. Download the Nashville BCycle app to rent an electric-assist bicycle at any of 23 BCycle stations across the city: the closest to Scarritt Bennett is on the edge of the Vanderbilt Law School complex, at 200 21st Avenue South, and there are several downtown. Rates start at $5 for 30 minutes; a 3-day pass (unlimited 2-hour rides over 3 days) is $25.

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Just a tip: October is the height of Nashville’s busiest season, and rooms fill up quickly.

Lodging at Scarritt Bennett (managed by UrbanNashville)
(615) 669-1293
Check in: 4 pm
Check out: 10 am
UPDATE: As of 9-19-22, all rooms at Scarritt Bennett have been booked. However, UrbanNashville manages a number of other properties, including in nearby Hillsboro Village.

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Alternative lodging with group rate

Mint House Music Row
1016 18th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
(across the street from Scarritt)
(855) 972-9090
check in: 3 pm
check out: 11 am

Click here for $255 booking link (guaranteed through Sept. 28)

Mint House is an Airbnb-style company with three locations in Nashville, including this one directly across 18th Avenue from Scarritt Bennett. Mint House Music Row features fully equipped kitchens, stylish furnishings and one (small) parking space per reservation. We’ve reserved 10 one-bedroom suites at a rate of $255 per night (plus taxes, etc.). This rate is guaranteed until Sept. 28.

Other recommended lodging

Hampton Inn West End/Vanderbilt
1919 West End Ave.
Nashville, TN 37203
(half-mile walk to Scarritt Bennett)
(615) 329-1144
check in: 3 pm
check out: noon

Hampton Inn West End/Vanderbilt, located half a mile from Scarritt Bennett, is the closest non-boutique hotel to the conference venue. An earlier group rate has expired, but it’s still among the more affordable mid-town lodging options.

There are plenty of other lodging options less than a mile from Scarritt Bennett, including Kimpton Aertson, Marriott Courtyard, Loews Vanderbilt, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Best Western and Comfort Inn, as well as Airbnb-style rentals.

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Click here to register. Regular registration is $229. A student rate is available; contact Marge Davis for information: (615) 294-2651 or

What’s included: The registration fee includes all symposium sessions; the walking tour on Wednesday; breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday; breakfast on Saturday for those staying Friday night; receptions on Wednesday and Thursday; break snacks; and bus transportation to and from Arrington Vineyards on Friday. Dinners are on your own, but Nashville offers dozens of restaurant options and price ranges.

Please note that registration must be made online. Sorry, no walk-ins.

Note: Due to our obligations with the venue and other expenses, we cannot accommodate requests for refunds after September 18. If you have questions or special needs, please call or text Marge Davis at Scenic Tennessee at (615) 294-2651 or email her at


If you, your company or your organization would like to be recognized as a supporter of this event, click here for details about sponsorship levels and benefits, or click here to proceed to payment.

Bronze Sponsors



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