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Advocating for a Sustainable Jacksonville

Find out how Metro Jacksonville has become an advocate for a sustainable Jacksonville in a recent United States Green Building Council (USGBC) North Florida 2040 Talk presented by co-founder Ennis Davis, AICP.

Published December 12, 2013 in Urban Issues      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article






What made early Jacksonville a sustainable community didn't happen by accident.

Following the Civil War, Jacksonville's port and railroads flourished due to the demand for lumber and forest products to rebuild the nation's war-torn cities.

With thousands employed in industries along the riverfront, the need for complementing residential, retail, hospitality and even red light districts became apparent.

Because this took place in a era before the automobile became king, the result was a dense walkable urban environment.

In other words, growth wasn't contrived, it was organic.





Primarily due to federal subsidies facilitating what is now known as sprawl, this sustainable development pattern and economic model had been destroyed by the time of Jacksonville's consolidation in 1968.

In the following decades, we've enacted a number of policies and land development regulations with a one-size fits all mentality, despite our borders being larger than the cities of Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, Las Vegas and Miami combined.

As a result, we've created a financially unsustainable economic future for Jacksonville.





Over the last half century, we've used our massive land area as an excuse for failed downtown revitalization efforts and subsidizing unsustainable growth. However, our context tells a different story. In reality, we're a 30 square mile rust belt city surrounded by 717 square miles of low density suburbs.

Furthermore, that rust belt city has lost 50% of its population since 1950. In the meantime, what’s been overlooked is what made Jacksonville a successful city 100 years ago. An economic model that facilitates organic sustainable growth and development.



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16 Comments

strider

December 12, 2013, 05:58:46 AM
Great job, Ennis. Enjoyed it.

gedo3

December 12, 2013, 07:01:44 AM
In these days of so many nay-sayers (especially those who talk about change in Jacksonville!), thank heaven there's a wonderful band of people at Metro Jacksonville who are optimistic about our city.  And you continually prove that the optimism is justified!  Thanks so much!!!

Lunican

December 12, 2013, 08:30:37 AM
Great presentation.

bencrix

December 12, 2013, 08:40:47 AM
Ennis, I really enjoyed your presentation at the event and want to thank you again for doing what you do.

daveindesmoines1

December 12, 2013, 09:28:46 AM
As they say in business, always check up on your competitors to see what they are doing better. Then consider improving your business with similar functions to stay in the game.
Utah's unemployment rate is only 4.6 percent, 6th lowest state in the nation. Part of the reason for such a low unemployment rate is due to Utah having the 4th highest state of diversity of jobs in the nation. We also have excellent mass transit that started to be built as part of getting ready for the 2002 Winter Olympics. There was pride and vision for everyone to sign onto to build this mass transit. There is mass transit that connects the airport, as well. So to develop new economic engines in certain neighborhoods is like the chicken and the egg challenge. To where it is required to have both transportation infrastructure and businesses or homes to these neighborhoods; it will require that have both. Various states could lobby for big events, like football playoffs, major track and field, or other stuff to get the whole town interested in building new mass transit as a pride and hope endeavor. Then you may increase the economic engine to play at full speed by recruiting all kinds of diverse businesses to move in. Thus you will lower your unemployment rate, as a result. 
As time passes there will be many aging baby boomers that will not be able to drive safely by 2020. That is another reasons for states to build mass transit, as well. Every town will have many aging baby boomers that will not be able to drive safely by 2020 to do errands; driverless carts/buses would be an answer to this problem.
I believe communities ought to consider other modes of 21st century transportation such as driverless, weatherproof solar/electric-powered golf carts and/or buses. Some carts/buses may place a solar panel right on top of its roof. There are also proposals for some households to place a solar panel or mini wind turbines right on top of a person's roof to power these carts. Since people use cars to run errands produce most of air pollution, low speed carts that are run by clean energy can do this to reduce this problem.
They would repaint new lanes on streets set as side for these carts/buses to use. They would place this doublewide lane on one side of the street. Then they would create one row instead of two for cars to park. They would place this row of cars between this doublewide lane to that of traffic to make it safer to use. To bring down per family costs they would assign one cart for every 15 households. These families would take turns to check out these carts for whenever they need to buy groceries or do other errands.   
As for highways, they could create a special inner lane next to the medium made for driverless alternative energy buses to use. You would create this special inner lane to places like the airport, major hospitals, large employment centers, universities, just to name a few. This lane would be used for emergency vehicles to get to an accident faster past all the stopped traffic, as well. 
So please with all the new technologies happening, including the development of driverless capabilities and clean energy endeavors, consider new 21st century mode of this transportation to be part of any mass transit. Also think about how other states are using mass transit as part of creating bold new economic employment energy, as well. Then you may create a better-tuned economy at the same time, as a result.

BoldBoyOfTheSouth

December 12, 2013, 01:42:29 PM
Metro Jacksonville's discussion during Murray Hill's A Slice of History last September started me on the path to leaving the suburbs and buying a house in Murray Hill.  Thank you MetroJax.

stephendare

December 12, 2013, 01:50:45 PM
Metro Jacksonville's discussion during Murray Hill's A Slice of History last September started me on the path to leaving the suburbs and buying a house in Murray Hill.  Thank you MetroJax.

Thank you BBoTS!  That was a lot of fun, and Ennis and I both enjoyed the event.

Murray Hill rocks, btw, and its going to get even cooler over the next few months.

Tacachale

December 12, 2013, 03:16:54 PM
This was a great presentation, good work as always.

BridgeTroll

December 12, 2013, 03:54:07 PM
Very Nice... Great job Team!

kimjowers

December 12, 2013, 04:19:51 PM
It was a great presentation in person.  Thanks for sharing more of it here for those missed it at USGBC NF 2040 Talks. 

Charles Hunter

December 12, 2013, 06:06:29 PM
Well done!!

jcjohnpaint

December 13, 2013, 12:15:39 AM
Thanks for bringing this site to us everyday!

Noone

December 13, 2013, 06:28:40 AM
Good stuff! Love MJ.

TD*

December 14, 2013, 06:14:34 PM
Thanks for being a part of the change metrojax

Know Growth

January 15, 2014, 11:28:45 PM
Mayor Delaney was a premier "Smart Growth" (et al) Advocate and delivered Orlando Utilities/River restoration as surface water supply.
And also Outer Beltway- key nudge comments during Brannon/Chaffee leg proceedings (all a matter of public record-) Corps of Engineers Colonel (Yep- Brannon Chaffee....so what...) Miller would head up COJ Public Works....for a short period, just as a Mr. Garretson/General Development would cycle through Planning.....as would Burney. Endless Loop.....
Good to Know where we might have been conceived-

"Sector Plan" process expanded "Vision" horizon- Clay County Lake Asbury  1......& 2.....close on the heels of Genesis Brannon Chaffe Sector,will forever go down as definitive landscape alteration vesting. As one example.

MJ non-existent during these pivotal proceedings.

thelakelander

January 16, 2014, 06:09:38 AM
MJ wasn't established until 2006.
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