Program Areas


economic & Community development

The Chattanooga tri-state region continues to position itself as a major player in the global economy. In the last year alone, the region’s industry has diversified to include a Google data center, a South Korean solar manufacturer, and a Swedish tire manufacturer. The Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership, a direct outcome of the Thrive 2055 strategic planning initiative, serves as a marketing entity to attract international business to the region. 

As industry and business expands, residents of the Chattanooga tri-state region remain protective of their hometowns and community spaces. They desire economic development anchored by distinctive, charming Main Streets, and neighborhoods imbued with character, a sense of place.

Thrive Regional Partnership equips communities with strategy development programs to leverage distinctive cultural assets to generate economic and community vibrancy. The transformational process of placemaking empowers communities across the region with the creative confidence they need to “grow from within” for decades to come. 

featured project:
Thriving Communities

Our Thriving Communities project is an intensive creative placemaking course designed to enhance professional and community development throughout the region. Participating communities learn strategic approaches to leverage their artistic and cultural assets in order to generate economic vibrancy.



As industry in the Chattanooga tri-state region continues to expand, it is imperative to address transportation and infrastructure needs. Currently, Chattanooga ranks #11 in United States for heaviest freight gridlock. 80% of tractor trailers carry goods to destinations beyond Chattanooga, a figure that could rapidly worsen in the age of e-commerce. 

Historically, the region has always been a major crossroads for commerce. Now, Chattanooga has elevated itself as a leader in logistical technology. Thrive Regional Partnership convenes key stakeholders in necessary workshops to proactively mitigate freight traffic, creating an unprecedented collaborative around a national challenge. 

Commuter patterns between the 16 counties further exemplify the connectivity between the region and a need to alleviate traffic that could prove detrimental to quality of life. 


Thrive's Transportation Collaborative is a coordinated team of private and public partners dedicated to promoting the safe and efficient movement of people, products, and data in and around the tri-state region. Using design-thinking methodology, the Collaborative generates long-term resolutions to issues related to freight, workforce transit, and connectivity.



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The abundance of natural beauty and biodiversity in the region is unparalleled in most other places in the world.

The natural environment also sustains the region's people with wholesome food, renewable forests, clean air, fresh water and world-renowned outdoor recreation. Strengthening these natural treasures will strengthen the economic vitality and character of the region, and improve the health of the people and the place that they call home.

As our region experiences a greater influx of people and the resulting footprints of growth and development, Thrive Regional Partnership seeks to expand outdoor recreation opportunities and espouse regional conservation benchmarks. Everyone must have access to the spectacular natural treasures in the region and develop the will to preserve them.

Watershed Moment Map

The award-winning Watershed Moment Map highlights 46 "must-see" sights in the greater Chattanooga region. It is the outcome of five years of collaboration among the region's citizens, farmers, outdoor recreation and conservation professionals to provide a public-facing tool for education about the natural landscape of our region.

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Nothing threatens our region's economic momentum more than the gap between educational outcomes and the evolving needs of a global economy.

The region as a whole suffers from education problems connected to poverty, social issues, health, and difficulties and affording and gaining access to higher education, whether it be four or two-year programs.

As the tri-state region continues to grow in global economy, residents desire to increase their earning potential, and employers desire to find qualified employees from within.

Thrive offers experiential learning opportunities that engage students around real-world challenges, while connecting them to industry professionals around the region. 



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Thrive's Student Design Challenge engages students of all ages throughout the region in experiential learning to prepare them for future opportunities in the workforce. Participating students learn and apply design thinking methodology to brainstorm creative solutions to relevant challenges of today. Throughout the contest, the participants conduct research, build prototypes, and meet industry professionals for constructive feedback.