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Robert Moses and Haydon Burns - Part 2

By the luck of the draw, exactly as the era of Robert Moses was at its greatest power and influence, the city of Jacksonville found itself in the hands of an odd and ambitious Good Old Boy Network of politicians and powerbrokers led by the development and growth minded Haydon Burns. The irrascible mayor was not only an admirer of the great reformer from New York City but one of the most infamous good old boy politicos in the city's history.

Published July 15, 2010 in Development      24 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Check out the first Part of  Haydon Burns and Robert Moses

It was under Burns that the city initiated its great leap forward into modernity and it leaped right into the mold established by Moses.

Why is any of this relevant?  What nebulous 'city planning' could the Cracker Mayor of Jacksonville have insidiously adopted from New York City (of all places)?

Well that is the awesome and subtle power of planning.  It is really pretty amazing what huge effects a careful planner can get from seemingly insignificant details of public architecture.

A detail as minor seeming as an extra lane of traffic down Southside Boulevard for example:  It allowed explosive growth all the way down that traffic corridor in the space of only 10 years.

Now the reader of MetroJacksonville can easily see the cause and effect of such a detail.  Maybe not so clear to a person deciding to add a lane in order to relieve traffic congestion, which was why Southside Boulevard was widened in the first place, but after all the infill has already happened, it is simple enough to understand how easier traffic access made the growth of areas like Tinseltown possible.  

And this process is a simple illustration of the dynamics involved with modern planning.  A simple engineer widens a road to solve an immediate problem like traffic congestion.  An urban planner knows that there are long term consequences besides easier traffic flow and uses that simple extra lane to encourage business corridors.

In the modern discipline of urban planning there are literally thousands of little ways to influence crowd behavior using small details.  Even smaller seeming than an extra lane of traffic.

Moses was the master of such details in his development of New York City. 

According to Sidney M. Shapiro, Moses's General Manager,and chief engineer of the Long Island State Park Commission, who worked for Moses for forty years, the construction of low overpasses on parkways were made purposely too low for buses to clear, and the veto of extension of the Long Island Rail Road to Jones Beach, was to prevent the poor and racial minorities (largely dependent on public transit) from accessing the beach while providing easy car access for wealthier, white groups.

Shapiro was the man who carried out Moses's instructions to build the bridges on his parkways too low for buses. In his notes on sources Mr. Caro writes: "It is thanks to Shapiro, more than any other source that I came to understand Moses' attitude towards Negroes...."

One small detail.  The height of newly built overpasses.

Moses built a hugely waterfront parkway that led to his beautiful beautifully designed recreational parks and beaches.  But he built overpasses over the roads that led to it.  Just a foot too low for buses to pass underneath.  Oops.

He then used his position as the ciy planner to argue that an extension of the public trains was too expensive. 

Small passive details that deliberately kept 'undesirables' out.  Nothing visible.  Nothing blatant.  Just a slightly too short overpass and a tight transportation budget.

Moses also built public structures that slightly discouraged traffic over them.  Nothing that would actually prohibit movement, necessarily but just a slight barrier.  Perhaps a line of hedges combined with a set of steps.  Or blocking off several cross streets with a public swimming pool building that was built with a park that stretched for several blocks on either side and making sure that the entrances to the facility opened up onto the wealthier white district and logically with solid walls and hedges that fronted the poorer disctrict---forcing anyone from the lower income area to have to walk blocks in order to enter the facility.

He once bragged that he could keep Negroes out of the public swimming pools by keeping the water cooler by three degrees Farenheit.

This is the power of Planning.

One of the negative side affects of Robert Moses' theories, was the relocation of the Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field to Los Angeles. 



At the time he seemed a genius.  He was the very cure for 'urban blight'.  Where slums existed, he built highways, overpasses, and bridges directly through, over or around them, in most cases cutting them physically off from the rest of the city when not outright demolishing them.

In every circumstance he favored the needs of cars coming in from the suburbs to the needs of historic neighborhoods or the people who lived in them.

In short the giant works of this revolutionary man were often used to literally build segregation and bigotry into the landscape of the city itself.  And you could say that Robet Moses pretty much wrote the book.

All other writings on the subject at the time were reactions to his work.  The reader of MetroJacksonville is encouraged to Google the name of Lewis Mumford.  His theories that cities should be planned so that people could interact with each other were dismissed as socialist nonsense.  An interesting bit of trivia for Ayn Rand fans.  She based the character of Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead partially on Mumford.

The only other significant voice in those early years was that of Jane Jacobs, whose brilliant works on Cities are still among the most important volumes ever written for Urban Planners.  She was an early advocate of the Garden City concepts that are the backbone of New Urbanism.

But one can see how appealing Moses approach would have been to old style good old boys at a time when unrest over Civil Rights was omnipresent.

Which brings us to Jacksonville in the 1950s.

 

The Haydon Burns Administration



Haydon Burns and his legendary group of cronies came to office in 1948.  That year, parking meters became universal downtown.  They went from an experimental fundraiser backed by the Jacksonville JayCees not tolerated near the Courthouse to blanketing the entire downtown, backed by legal fines and penalties for not paying. 

The downtown was in the middle of a perceived slump, having to deal with the same automobile induced problems that every other city was dealing with---most people driving into downtown with very little room to store their parked vehicles--- and a newfound cultural zeitgeist for 'progress' and renewal.  Onto this stage Haydon Burns stepped up with "The Answers" and initiated a program of modernization and infrastructure building backed by a citizenry ambitious to join in the prosperity of the times.

The execution of Moses style Infrastructuring was like greased lightning.

The international trade (and crime) district surrounding the Wharves and running down Bay Street was first up on the chopping block.  The Wharves were demolished and the riverline itself was cemented over and turned into convenient parking lots.  The New City Hall and Courthouse were built on riverfront property along surprisingly modernist architectural lines that looked out over the newly cemented riverfront.


Under the Burns Administration, the waterfront was demolished in favor of modern surface parking lots.

Two new bridges were commissioned connecting Downtown to the southbank of the river, curiously sidestepping any of the established residential areas in favor of the sparsely populated Arlington and Southside areas.  In fact the Matthews Bridge was the original 'Bridge to Nowhere", so dubbed because of the undeveloped nature of the county property it touched down in.

The Hart Bridge exit ramps were built along classic Moses style lines.  Although the Bridge touches down not far from the shore line, the exit ramp literally flies completely over the traditionally black Eastside business district, touching down onto Liberty Street safely in the primarily white district around the courthouse.  All traffic from the prosperous downtown district to the northeast part of downtown slowed down to a trickle and the businesses began to starve to death. 

The Hart Bridge elevated ramp shortly before its opening.

Finally there was the establishment of the Jacksonville Expressway Authority, the predecessor to the our BRT evangelizing Jacksonville Transportation Authority. (JTA).

Most people today don't know that the 95 expressway was not originally part of the federal highway system.  However it was one of the few cases in the country where the interstate system took over a large highway originally built by a city.

Before the road was called I-95, it was called (with a bold stroke of originality) The Jacksonville Expressway.  It was built to facilitate trucking traffic to and from our port and railroads for out of state commerce.  In routing the huge highway, The Jacksonville Expressway was built perfectly down the middle of the color line separating the white and black neighborhoods of the Northside.  White Springfield, Brentwood and their northerly neighbors were separated by a multi-lane highway crossable only with elevated walkways and flights of stairs encased in cages from historically black Durkeeville and the African American neighborhoods west of 95.

In the downtown, the transitional neighborhood of LaVilla was bisected by the highway and Sugar Hill, the city's historic upperclass black neighborhood was completely demolished, uprooting some of Jacksonville's most prominent black families in the process.

The new Expressway created an elegant and devastatingly effective physical block that separated the races without the need of separate but equal signs or even policemen or security guards to enforce it.  It simply became an organic part of the landscape.


Construction of highways like the Jacksonville and 20th Street Expressways cut once vibrant neighborhoods off from each other.

All of these reforms were undertaken during the Haydon Burns Administration against a backdrop of events like the Florida Avenue Race Riots and later on Ax Handle Saturday and were directly influenced by the national dissemination of the newfound 'science of urban planning' as practiced by its first master, Robert Moses.  They had (in hindsight) predictable results.

Jacksonville mimicked the Moses philosophy that cities should plan on being regional centers of business by locating transportation joints centered in the city center.  Transportation routes that connected the downtowns with all directions.  At the time it appeared that the construction of such massive highways and interchanges were themselves a social good because they necessitated so much demolition ----which could be located in the traditional slums and high crime areas. 

However in the process Jacksonville also extended and impoverished whole districts like the Eastside and tore down significant parts of its historic fabric.

As in Harlem and the Bronx it also isolated whole districts one from another and separated their development into separate unconnected processes.

The demolition of Sugar Hill was a huge loss for the city, and the bisecting of LaVilla eventually ended in its complete demolition.

As a result of the Hart Bridge flyover, over 25 percent of the downtown area was practically transformed into a ghost town, rapidly devaluing the property which was sold cheap and over which the Gator Bowl, Colliseum and Baseball Park were constructed.  Today the entire area is deserted except during special events or scheduled games.

At the same time that this huge area of land was being rendered useless except as recreation, the traditionally lively riverfront wharves which had brought generations of commerce and trade downtown were also closed down, taking with them a massive chunk of the traditional downtown economy.

This effectively removed shipping and industrial use as major parts of the City Core economy.  But this was widely considered an improvement because it also removed a huge portion of international merchant marines and black people and the shiny new parking lots on the riverfront were immediately filled with (primarily white) housewives and families coming downtown in order to do their shopping.

This little bubble might have lasted forever, as long as downtown was the only large retail district in the region and people were willing to pay for parking (a policy which also discouraged poor people from visiting the downtown) in order to shop there

But as it did everywhere else in the United States, the very vehicles for this urban 'renewal' process planted with it the seeds of complete urban collapse instead.

Easy access and bridges to the Arlington and southside area meant that people with cars and disposable income (if only for the tolls) also had easy access to cheaper land just outside the downtown core.

When Regency Mall opened, with its free parking and the unspoken guarantee that it would be nice white and upscale,------ since after all, only people with cars who were willing to pay tolls would be shopping in them.---- the downtown retail economy that was supposed to fill the vaccuum left behind in the elimination of shipping trade, black retail, and industrial businesses was totally unprepared to compete.

So the early apparent successes of the Moses style urban 'renewal' gave way to the later after effects of the Moses style restructuring.  A collapse of the urban center, loss of the neighborhoods and sense of community that had been the original source of its daily life, and the resultant spread of economically disassociated slums throughout the former core.

It was a pattern that was repeated many times throughout the US, but which had especially harsh effects in the south as the blight and decay became part and parcel of civic unrest and sporadic violence during the fight for Civil Rights.

It ended in white flight and the rush to the suburbs.  Downtown with its tolls, its inaccessibility and its parking enforcement penalties was simply too much to deal with when combined with racial tension and free parking in the suburbs.

This however did not stop the heavy handed application of more of the same type of 'renewal' programming that had already directly contributed to the rise of Urban Blight.



2007-08-17
Article by Stephen Dare







24 Comments

Jason

August 17, 2007, 09:18:34 AM
Extremely well done!  Talk about a history lesson.

greggory

August 17, 2007, 01:50:26 PM
I've got to say that is some very interesting information. Being that I've only lived here a few years, I've always thought that we have one of the most wasted opportunites of a downtown city I have ever seen. Now with reading this, I'm not at all surprised. I can't help but think how different this place would be if not for all the changes back then. Hopefully in the future, we will see less of this god awful "planning".

stephendare

August 19, 2007, 09:28:45 AM
the 'planning' is what caused the total collapse of the downtown.

the final monkey wrench was the establishment of the dda.

wait till you hear what those guys did.

thelakelander

August 19, 2007, 01:47:08 PM
This type of information helps illustrate how important a role planning plays in our everyday lives and city's development patterns.  Combined with city hall's hiring practices, it also helps show why we struggle on certain issues that have been easily solved in other communities.

stephendare

August 19, 2007, 02:04:41 PM
exactly lake.

whats worse is that alot of the monkeying around over the past 15 years has been done by people who dont have a clue about the underlying reasons for the decline of the city core.

They dont see that the tolls, the parking meters, the overpasses, the one way streets, and the massive dynamiting of the physical environment are the enormous engines of destruction.  Certainly we have spent a lot of time in committees listening to outright denials of the above.

But in the end run not only do they not clearly see the actual problems, they are totally defending the work of previous regimes without even realizing the reasons why they were instituted in the first place.

Too second rate to even understand the whole rotten reasoning behind the original tinkering.

Until the present regime, at least a few of them were professional enough to execute the mechanical side of the job--despite the exit of and real vision.

Jack Dynamite wanted (and still wants) to mimic a 'lively boulevard' concept based on 18th century redesigns of Imperial Paris ---with no understanding whatsoever of the economics or sociology that made that work, and managed to impose that idea on the original masterplan of the 70s.

Paul Krutko at least lumbered towards the idea that there had to be a residential base to make the neighborhood work again---hence his 'retail follows rooftops' mantra.  But this idea, which is the engine of growth in suburbs lends itself to mediocrity and suburban style development, it doesnt allow for the real elements of urbanization to bear flower....ie, the concentration of the cultural, financial and intellectual power of a million plus residents into a dynamic and vibrant center.

On balance, it would seem that only Jake Godbold had it right inasmuch as the emphasis of his administration was restoring a business backbone into the downtown via corporate relocations.

In fact it was his foresight in this matter which has provided the only balance to the explosive consequences of our various 'redevelopment' plans.

I would have to agree that we should revisit the entire concept of the masterplan, and take pains to remove the artificial barriers which have been imposed on the city core.

thelakelander

August 19, 2007, 10:29:21 PM
Just spent a good amount of time this weekend exploring New Springfield.  This neighborhood's historic building fabric is just as compact and architecturally significant as those in Springfield, Riverside and Avondale.  Unfortunately, it has been cut off from the rest of the city on all four sides and left to rot.  It's new borders are defined by the 20th Street Expressway (north), I-95/JTA BRT (West), Norfolk Southern Railroad (South) and Swisher International (East).  It's a poster child example of what has been described in this article.  However, it can be bought back if the S-line is used for mass transit because it has all the ingredients in place for revitalization to take effect.  Look for an in-depth photo tour of this neighborhood later this week.

downtownparks

August 20, 2007, 12:48:25 AM
Its exactly what happened with Springfield and the Union/State speedway, and the one-waying of most downtown streets. You cant easily get north of Union because Main is one-way, and Ocean ends into a park in a "scary" part of town surounded by empty buildings and homeless people. I know I am making it sound worse than it is one one level (its not that bad) but then I know the area quite well, and seeing the occasional homeless person doesn't scare me the way it does someone from the burbs.

Considering also, that giving directions to my house is far harder than is should be considering I can see Main St from my back window.

New Springfield does have some gems, and it would benefit from the S-line, but it needs far more help than that.

thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 01:08:38 AM
Yes, Springfield was also cut off pretty well from downtown during this era as well.  While planners may have thought they were doing a good thing by cutting off the core from it's rapidly growing minority dominated border neighborhoods, these moves only led to a swifter decline of the downtown core.

As for New Springfield, it suffers from a lot of things, but the ultimate issue is it's isolation, which led to vast abandonment and neglect, which then led to out of control crime.   However, positives include the building fabric, gridded streets, location and low property values, all of which are seeds for a revitalization effort that could convert it from what it is today into one of the inner city's most sought after locations.  A central part of turning a district like that around ultimately revolves around connectivity, which is where the S-Line can come into play.  Offering existing and potential residents enhanced connectivity, along with a coordinated revitalization plan that includes a crack down on crime and affordable housing opportunities is what can save this area.  The great thing is, this has been done before with neighborhoods in worse condition.  One that immediately comes to mind is Washington DC's Columbia Heights.  This inner city neighborhood did a complete 180 degree turn around in less than five years after the opening of a metro station and associated transit oriented development in the heart of the community.



the 1990s


today


despite the new infill construction, it still has a mix of restored historic structures


more info on Columbia Heights: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/340/116/



thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 01:19:04 AM
More info on Columbia Heights swift turn around.

Quote
Significant demographic changes began in the late 1940s when African American residents began to occupy homes previously owned by white students. The neighborhood remained a middle-class African American enclave in Washington, along with the nearby Shaw and Cardozo neighborhoods and Howard University through the mid-1960s.

In 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., riots ravaged Columbia Heights along with many other Washington neighborhoods. Many homes and shops remained vacant for decades.

In 1999, however, the city announced a revitalization initiative for the neighborhood focused around the Columbia Heights Metro station that opened that year. The opening of the Metro station served as a catalyst for the return of economic development and residents. Within five years, it had gentrified considerably, with a number of businesses (including a Giant Food supermarket and Tivoli Square, a commercial and entertainment complex) and middle-class residents settling in the neighborhood. However, unlike some gentrified neighborhoods in the city, it had not become homogeneous: as of 2006, Columbia Heights is arguably Washington's most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood, composed of high-priced condominiums and townhouses as well as public and middle-income housing.

In October 2004, the Target Corporation announced a deal to purchase property beside the Columbia Heights metro station to build their first retail store in Washington, D.C. It is expected to open in 2007; the complex will include Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Washington Sports Club. Other retail outlets scheduled or rumored to be coming to the neighborhood include Best Buy, Harris Teeter, Office Max, and an unspecified large movie-theater chain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Heights,_Washington,_D.C.

another site worth checking out: http://innercity.org/columbiaheights/

--------------------------------------

From a planning perspective, what needs to be done is not difficult.  The most difficult part of any revitalization plan is political will.  As proven in the past, time and time again, we can push out as many studies, neighborhood action and master plans as the next guy, but we're a no show when it comes to implementation.

stephendare

August 20, 2007, 11:08:16 AM
The question remains of how to deal with this built in damage?

do we undo it?  or do we simply build around it and attach new features which overcome the seperations?

thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 11:27:17 AM
Its easier to simply build around it, where possible.  Other wise it would take over 100 years and billions of dollars to undo what's been done.  Can you seriously imagine this city ever having the money to simply remove the Hart Bridge Ramps, MLK Expressway, I-95 or even reconnect the street grid between Springfield and Downtown?  Sorry, but all of that won't be happening in our lifetimes.

stephendare

August 20, 2007, 12:04:24 PM
returning the streets to two ways and abolishing the now nonsensical double loop system would go a great way to restoring the connectedness of springfield to downtown.

why would it be all that expensive to drop the ramp on the east side?

there has been looses chatter about it for a while.

the current location that it drops into doesnt serve anyone now.

thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 12:28:59 PM
Dropping a ramp is much easier said then done.  Its quite expensive to demolish a mile long elevated expressway, then redevelop Bay to handle the traffic flow and construct a new entrance to the Hart Bridge.  In the event that the money was available for this...then what?  The Shipyards development is already planned and Metropolitan Park, Alltel, Maxwell House and the North Florida Shipyards aren't going anywhere.  That really leaves only the St. Johns Pointe site as a redevelopment location.  Is it worth spending millions in an area that's already been evaporated from reality (East Jax, south of the Matthews Bridge ramps doesn't exist anymore)?  With a limited budget, that money, if available, would be better used in areas of town where buildings still exist and people live.

As for returning the streets to two-way, I believe that's already in the works to some degree.  However, other than Main Street (which probably won't be happening anytime soon because of FDOT), it still doesn't help connect Springfield to the downtown because most of the streets were completely removed (ex. FCCJ's campus).

stephendare

August 20, 2007, 01:26:02 PM
main is one way as a result of a local demand, not fdot

i agree that the monies would be better spent initially in redeveloping the west end of downtown though.

but east jacksonville is totally overlooked and the land is pretty inexpensive now.  especially in that underdeveloped corridor from catherine to talleyrand.

i think there is enormous good to be achieved from dropping the overpass.

If only because it takes the sphere of developable land into an expanded area not under the direct control of the clowns who have piece meal managed to shrink downtown to the controllable area of their own ownership

thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 01:36:51 PM
main is one way as a result of a local demand, not fdot

It's still an FDOT road designed to handle a certain traffic flow.  COJ does not have the jurisdiction to do whatever it wants to do to Main without FDOT permission.  Case in point, would be the old Big Idea concept of taking a lane off the Main Street Bridge for a wider sidewalk.  That idea (reducing traffic lanes) died pretty quick.

Quote
i agree that the monies would be better spent initially in redeveloping the west end of downtown though.

but east jacksonville is totally overlooked and the land is pretty inexpensive now.  especially in that underdeveloped corridor from catherine to talleyrand.

i think there is enormous good to be achieved from dropping the overpass.

If only because it takes the sphere of developable land into an expanded area not under the direct control of the clowns who have piece meal managed to shrink downtown to the controllable area of their own ownership

The best redevelopment potential in East Jax, lies north of the Matthews Bridge ramps and south of 8th Street.  I'd focus on cleaning and enhancing the existing areas where businesses and residents are, before tackling such an expensive issue like removing the Hart Bridge ramps.

stephendare

August 20, 2007, 03:40:11 PM
it doesnt solve the basic problem of the lack of connectivity however which is what killed the city in the first place.

thelakelander

August 20, 2007, 03:56:11 PM
If you use the old Maxwell House rail ROW, as Ock suggests as a part of a potential streetcar route, tying into to the S-line at the Springfield Warehouse District, it does.  Such a move would connect Springfield, the Eastside, Old City Cemetary, Union Terminal Warehouse, Hogans Creek, the Sports District and the Shipyards, if the same streetcar route ran down Bay to reconnect with the skyway and Transportation Center.

jeh1980

November 23, 2007, 04:25:49 AM
the 'planning' is what caused the total collapse of the downtown.

the final monkey wrench was the establishment of the dda.

wait till you hear what those guys did.
it doesnt solve the basic problem of the lack of connectivity however which is what killed the city in the first place.

I would STRONGLY disagree. We do have some connectivity in downtown right now. I don't believe that Haydon Burns did anything to " kill the city." Please forgive me, we all due respect, but how we think about them "killing the city" is a outrageous!
A shame in and of itself. I mean, where else would the city or the FDOT put the highway system on if we somehow don't want it in a particular area? ???  ::) I don't get it.

stephendare

November 26, 2007, 05:28:39 PM
Its not the highway system per se, jeh1980, it was the way that the highway system was purposefully used to destroy the micro economics of the city center and divide the races.

Also the gamble that he took in replacing the trade brought by the wharves and the East side of Jacksonville with Insurance Company resettlement.  It seemed like a good couple of birds in the bush, but he let go of the one he had in hand.

He destroyed the engine of money and the organic nature of the city economics and left nothing permanent in place to replace them.

jeh1980

December 20, 2007, 06:33:04 AM
Its not the highway system per se, jeh1980, it was the way that the highway system was purposefully used to destroy the micro economics of the city center and divide the races.

Also the gamble that he took in replacing the trade brought by the wharves and the East side of Jacksonville with Insurance Company resettlement.  It seemed like a good couple of birds in the bush, but he let go of the one he had in hand.

He destroyed the engine of money and the organic nature of the city economics and left nothing permanent in place to replace them.
I can understand...I think. We all due respect, but I just got to know, how can we REALLY prove that Haydon Burns destroy everything he touched with the Highway system. How could it possible destroy any economic value? And what did it had to do with dividing the races? I think that the real problem we have is that we all had focused too much on the negative side of things of what he may had done and not focused on at least some of the parts he may have done that are positive. No offense, but I have nothing to complain against Haydon Burns just because I think he had every good intentions. He only wanted to make Jacksonville a "modern city", not a city of what we all think it reach the eve of destruction. Though, I do see that what's done is already done. But I don't see why Haydon would ever want this city destroyed in any way, shape, or form. :-\

Charles Hunter

December 20, 2007, 07:41:17 AM
I have a book around somewhere that talks about how expressways, including the Interstate system, were routed, during the 1950s and 60s, to serve as barriers between the black neighborhoods ("slums" as they were known then) and white neighborhoods.

vicupstate

December 20, 2007, 09:04:05 AM
Its not the highway system per se, jeh1980, it was the way that the highway system was purposefully used to destroy the micro economics of the city center and divide the races.

Also the gamble that he took in replacing the trade brought by the wharves and the East side of Jacksonville with Insurance Company resettlement.  It seemed like a good couple of birds in the bush, but he let go of the one he had in hand.

He destroyed the engine of money and the organic nature of the city economics and left nothing permanent in place to replace them.
I can understand...I think. We all due respect, but I just got to know, how can we REALLY prove that Haydon Burns destroy everything he touched with the Highway system. How could it possible destroy any economic value? And what did it had to do with dividing the races? I think that the real problem we have is that we all had focused too much on the negative side of things of what he may had done and not focused on at least some of the parts he may have done that are positive. No offense, but I have nothing to complain against Haydon Burns just because I think he had every good intentions. He only wanted to make Jacksonville a "modern city", not a city of what we all think it reach the eve of destruction. Though, I do see that what's done is already done. But I don't see why Haydon would ever want this city destroyed in any way, shape, or form. :-\

The tirade against Burns as an individual is totally unwarranted.  He was trying to MODERNIZE the city.  The highways, the new public buildings on the waterfront, the plans both fulfilled and unfulfilled, every single bit of it was being done in virtually every city in America, save a few holdouts such as NO and Charleston.  Even in those cities there was some of that.

I am old enough to remember the '70's and the entire attitude was to tear down everything old and replace it with new.   That was true with buildings, furniture, fashion, everything.   Urban Renewal was really just 'destroy and rebuid'. Burns was merely a product of his times.     

Besides what good does it do to rehash the past.  The point is where do we go from here.  Let's LEARN from our mistatkes and STOP making them.  For instance we can SAVE Annie Lytle, No. 5 Fire Station, the housing stock of Springfield, and STOP continuing to destroy what few historic relics Jax still has.   

Timkin

March 14, 2008, 08:45:54 PM
To a degree  I concur with the urban renewal statement above... and as such  We have so little of our past heritage , in the bits and pieces of Historic Structures remaining, compared to ANY other large City I have visited..  Tear down and replace with modern , was done to a fault,to the point that downtown as I recall  as a childm and the downtown I see now , might as well be two completely different cities.  Theres next to nothing left.

 I think part of the way to revitilize some areas of downtown ,would be to replicate some of our past, and have adequate access, to and from these areas.. AND  to not raze any further, significant structures of days gone by...   Memories are great, but I would like something I can still touch  that left from my younger days.
 

spuwho

July 22, 2010, 07:54:07 PM
This is an interesting read so far, but it is all critical hindsight so far. I hope at the end of this series you can put forth a comprehensive plan that one could recommend.

"the concentration of the cultural, financial and intellectual power of a million plus residents into a dynamic and vibrant center."  is not really a plan, but a dream.

Is a good dream to have, but how does Jacksonville accomplish it? How can it overcome the cultural problems that Moses brought with him? It's easy to tell everyone what is wrong, hopefully you can share what can be done right.

Everyone seems to want a "vibrant urban core", is that the only option? Is suburbia always bad? Are there not other options?
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