NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Henry Cisneros, came to Nashville Monday night to give insight as to what the city needs to do to prepare for the future.
His speech was part of the Nashville Next initiative, a two-year program charged with coming up with a plan to move Music City smoothly into the future.
It is estimated the Nashville area's population will grow by one million people over the next 25 years.
Cisneros said, right now, Nashville is doing most everything right.
"I think Nashville is one of the more diverse economies in the country, I think it's why it's growing as rapidly as it is," Cisneros said.
But the urban development expert said the city cannot rest on its current success.
"You can't stand still. You either are moving forward, or you're going to fall back," according to Cisneros.
While Nashville had a diverse economic base, which kept the city from crashing during the recent recession, Cisneros told a crowd at the Nashville Children's Theater, the city's economy needs to be even more diverse moving forward.
"Most every job sector you can think of for the future is going to have a science, technology, engineering component. Cities that have that kind of base in their higher education, engineering, are going to be better off," Cisneros explained.
He said the region needs to produce graduates who are able to work in those fields, in order to attract more companies and corporations to the Middle Tennessee area.
"For a community to think it can create a strong and growing economic base and not focus on technology, engineering, math, science, to me that is a very, very dangerous strategy," Cisneros said.
It was that type a feedback several hundred curious Nashvillians came out to hear. Nashville Next is a collaborative effort, where information and suggestions will come from many different places.
"And over the next two years we are going to take that information, draw up some potential plans, with a lot of community input and go back out into the community with some ideas on what could happen as we lead Nashville into the year 2040," explained Craig Owensby with the Metro Planning Department.
Nashville Next will host more speakers over the next few months as the planning process for 2040 continues.