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The goal of Depave is to restore manmade, impervious surfaces back to their natural state

Asphalt, concrete, and metal are impervious materials that do not allow water to sink into the soil, causing stormwater to flow into our streams at a much faster rate and in increased volumes. These heavy flows carry oils, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and trash into our streams.

Nashville is experiencing rapid growth. Where population growth occurs, an increase in manmade impervious surfaces is sure to follow. As we gain impervious surfaces, we are actively losing the pervious, water-absorbing surfaces essential for clean water and aquatic habitat.

Do you have a paved site that you would like to turn into a garden, green space, or community park?

The Cumberland River Compact is looking to partner with communities, institutions, businesses, or land owners to identify and transform depave sites in need of restoration.

Propose a Project

Guidelines for Proposing Depave Projects

1. The site is currently paved! (e.g. abandoned or underutilized parking lots, vacant lots, or wide sidewalks with no trees are ideal for depaving). Note: Asphalt paving (<5” thick) or thin concrete are feasible surface covers. Sites with thick concrete building foundations (>6”) will be harder for us to handle.

2. The site is located in a frontline community that experiences urban heat island effect, air pollution, flooding, lack of park space, and/or other stressors due to an abundance of pavement, little tree canopy, and/or adjacent highways and industry. Depaving and greening the site should clearly and directly benefit the surrounding community.

3.The site should have support and advocacy by the land owner and/or community for depaving and greening. We understand if the proposer is in an early stage of developing this support.


How It Works

When you propose a project, our team will visit the site to assess feasibility of the project. The team will then reach out to schedule a meeting to talk about the project.

Following site selection and project acceptance, the team will work with the site owner and community to develop a design vision, test soil quality and infiltration rates, develop a budget and funding sources, submit required permitting, and do outreach with the community to generate interest and participation in the project. 

The actual depaving and transformation will include cutting up the asphalt, holding a depave volunteer day where volunteers pry up the asphalt to be hauled away, followed by laying down new healthy soil and planting the site with new trees, gardens, and other desired features. 

The Cumberland River Compact will work with the site host to develop a maintenance plan and to monitor the site in the years following.


Check out this interactive map to see where we have completed depave projects and learn more about them.