Elements of Urbanism: Nassau, Bahamas

March 20, 2014 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville goes 200 miles off the coast of Florida to explore the downtown of the largest city in the Bahamas: Nassau.

About Nassau, Bahamas

Located only 187 miles from Miami, Nassau is the largest city in the Bahamas. Nassau accounts for 70% of the entire population of the Bahamas. The city was original known as Charles Town before being destroyed by the Spanish in 1684. In 1695, it was rebuilt and named in honor of William III from the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau. Just off the coast of Florida, Nassau became a popular resort destination after the United States banned travel to Cuba in 1963.Today, tourism is the mainstay (60%) of Nassau's economy. Home to a large cruise ship terminal, Downtown Nassau is a major recipient of this industry.

Nassau, with its blend of influences from West Africa to England and from Haiti to the United States, is one of the most popular (and often congested) cruise ports in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

 The yellow and blue stripes on the Bahamian flag represent the nation's sandy beaches and surrounding ocean, while the black triangle stands for unity and the people's determination to develop the land and the sea. With endlessly developing hotels, resorts and shopping areas, it isn't hard to make this connection in Nassau, the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

 Nassau is located on the 21-mile-long-island of New Providence and is connected, via bridge, to Paradise Island, another popular Bahamian destination.

 The city of Nassau features tropical, tree-lined streets, filled with horse-drawn surreys, ruled by policemen in white starched jackets and colorful pith helmets; soft-sanded beaches for kicking back and catching ocean breezes; lavish, Vegas-type casinos; and a decent range of duty-free shopping stops. But, as much as this vibrant town center is a cruise visitor's first impression, most head out on beach adventures at massive hotel and resort complexes like Atlantis or on boating adventures that range from dolphin encounters to booze cruises.

 Nassau's central location, just off the coast of Southern Florida, is one of its chief pluses, making it an easy mini-cruise port of call for ships passing through on the way to the Caribbean islands.

Tale of the Tape

Nassau Population 2012: 255,800 (City) - (established in 1695)

Jacksonville Population 2012: 836,507 (City); 1,328,144 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1950: Jacksonville (204,517); Nassau (46,125)

City Population Growth from 2010 to 2012

Nassau: +6,852
Jacksonville: +14,723

Tallest Building:

Nassau: Atlantis Royal Tower East - 305 feet
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 617 feet

Urban infill obstacles:

Nassau: N/A
Jacksonville: State & Union Streets cut off Downtown Jacksonville from Springfield.


Downtown Nightlife:

Nassau: Woodes Rogers Walk
Jacksonville: The Elbow, The Jacksonville Landing


Common Downtown Albatross:

Empty Storefronts.

City Land Area

Nassau: 80 square miles
Jacksonville: 747.00 square miles

Next Page: Photo Tour of Downtown Nassau

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