CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF) -- Is Chattanooga, Tennessee different from most other southern cities?
Local leaders will tell you its difficult to convince the world that something special is happening in the Scenic City, when the world tries to paint everyone in the south with the same brush.
The question is what's driving Chattanooga, and why should you care?
With rivers, mountains, the southern climate and easy access to outdoor activities, you might say the Chattanooga area already has a leg-up in the quality-of-life category.
The job opportunities are here, and in addition to industrial strength, high-tech companies are moving in.
As most of us go about our daily activities, the changes going on around us may be a little too subtle.
So, who says things are different here?
JON KINSEY, FORMER MAYOR "There's no question that we are on the map for many new reasons..we've never been viewed before, we're being seen certainly as place for innovation, entreprenuership."
Former mayor Kinsey says that unlike other southern cities who prefer the status quo, the leadership has been pushing Chattanooga ahead for decades.
KEN HAYS, KPH DEVELOPMENT "One of the amazing things that's happened in the last four or five years is that we've had some wickenly smart young folks come to this town....and stepping up in leadership roles..in the new generation...and from what I've seen, part of..is that people welcome that."
Hayes headed the River City Company when the 120-million dollar riverfront project was underway.
That's been one of the biggest draws for the city's other important industry--.tourism.
The current leader of River City underlines the overall progress.
KIM WHITE, PRES. RIVER CITY COMPANY "Absolutely, we are different from all these other southern cities. When you look at the talent we're recruiting into our city and stand on the street corner and see who's going by...I told someone the other day, now you see more bicycles and briefcases."
Technology is the operative word for the rest of the 21st century, but it raises the question, how can it be a boon for the entire community.
REP. JOANNE FAVORS, (D) CHATTANOOGA "There's no way for you to live in this society without tapping into the technology...and yes, the black community is very much involved in this."
With EPB's one giga-bite per second speed we are attracting internet leaders.
They may eventually put Chattanooga at the forefront of 21st century technology.
The world is taking a second look at the scenic city, and waiting to see what it does next.
Who are these "wickedly smart" young people who are moving into Chattanooga and changing it into a leader in this day of "digital wonders"?
We'll meet some of them in our next report as we explore the idea that Chattanooga is not just another southern city.