One of the things that really struck us about Nashville, and Memphis, was the seeming lack of people! Or should I say the lack of people walking around.
Living in London, and with my only other experience of the USA being New York, I am used to the hustle and bustle of people on streets. A place where you develop an internal radar so that you can negotiate Oxford Street, Covent Garden or even Sutton High Street without bumping in to your fellow men, women, children and dogs!
Visit the town centre of most British cities/towns on a Saturday morning/afternoon and you'll find yourself somewhere that is a mixture of meeting place, shopping area, amusement arcade and playground. Most of all you will find people walking and strolling around.
In downtown Nashville, however, on our Saturday morning/afternoon stroll, we saw only a handful of other people walking about. I am not sure why it bothered me (I mean bother in the sense of 'wondering about it' rather than 'worrying about it'). Maybe because it was so alien to what I was used to. However, I found it strange enough and intriguing enough to want to comment on it!
I did wonder if the cliche "the car is king", which is often trotted out when talking about the States, was true. Were most people driving to and from places rather than walking? There was a fair amount of traffic on the roads, and when we did pop into places, i.e., the Frist Centre for the Visual Arts, we did see quite a few people compared with people we'd seen on the streets. So, possibly.
I don't know the downtown district well but there did seem to be a lot of municipal and office buildings, which looked closed for the weekend. Which would mean that without the influx of people coming in to work there would be less people around (where I work in Warren Street in London it is very busy Mon-Fri but as quiet as anything at the weekend). Also downtown Nashville is not like the traditional town centre, as I described before, that you would find in a British city. It's not a shopping centre as such. Indeed, when we did visit a shopping mall (Opry Mills) later in the afternoon, we did encounter a lot more people.
America is just so much bigger than Britain! Therefore there are just less people to fill the space! (The latter reasoned argument was possibly thought out after a few Bud Lights later in the evening!).
I'm not sure what the answer is but if anyone else has any ideas, views or comments please let me know!