Memphis has been surprising people for more than a century, and it happened again in the wake of the Great Recession. With Memphis hit harder than almost any city in the country, many commentators predicted that it could not recover from the blow.
These were tough times for Memphis, leading it to identify viscerally with its NBA team’s mantra: grit and grind. The Great Recession left this Mississippi river city on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff to draw inspiration from the Memphis Grizzlies, who touted its refusal to give up and to find a way to win, even if wasn’t always pretty.
One small example: Memphis, the image of a slow-moving, sedentary river city suddenly became known for it's outdoor recreation. We went from zero to almost 300 miles of bike lanes and built more than 30 miles of greenlines in only five years, bike lanes are being added to the bridge connecting downtown’s riverwalk to Arkansas, a bike-share program is beginning soon, and the city was named one of America’s best paddling towns.