Market Square Named One of 'Great Public Spaces' in America

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Market Square Named One of 'Great Public Spaces' in America

Posted: 10/04/2017
Market SquareThe American Planning Association (APA) recently named Knoxville’s Market Square as one of five Great Public Spaces on the organization’s annual Great Places in America list. Market Square will formally receive its national designation from the American Planning Association on Friday, Oct. 6. An official announcement will be made at Market Square at 7 p.m., just before this week’s Movie on Market Square.   

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, APA’s Great Places in America launches National Community Planning Month and recognizes streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality, and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces of 2017 are places that are unique and exemplary in their amenities and infrastructure, cultural identity, and use of sustainable and innovative practices.

“Public spaces serve a number of functions within a community, from gathering places to recreational venues, and to satisfy these varied community needs requires thoughtful collaboration and planning,” said Cynthia Bowen, AICP, president of APA. “These places demonstrate how to effectively create a sense of place that enhances the lives of all residents and visitors. Congratulations to this year’s designees.”

Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, Market Square is a testament to the effectiveness of community-driven planning and how a diversity of uses and historic preservation can work together to revitalize an area. The Square is deeply rooted in the history of Knoxville and, despite a devastating fire and multiple economic downturns, continues to flourish today. The mix of these distinctive buildings with the activity taking place in the Square truly makes it Knoxville’s front yard. 

“Market Square, long a center for commerce and culture in Knoxville, had fallen victim to abandonment and disrepair by the end of the 20th century,” said Knoxville’s Bill Lyons, Chief Policy Officer & Deputy to the Mayor. “Today’s thriving Square was revitalized through an extensive community process that incorporated the vision of property owners, stakeholders, and the general public.”
To date, APA has designated 275 Great Places around the country. Knoxville’s Gay Street was also recognized as one of the Great Places in America by the American Planning Association. The downtown avenue was named to its top ten America's Great Streets in 2012. To learn more about this year’s Great Places and previous designees, visit
For more about National Community Planning Month taking place throughout October visit