Downtown Jacksonville: IBM Smarter Cities Presentation

August 28, 2012 31 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville shares the IBM Smarter Cities downtown Jacksonville revitalization presentation recently provided to Mayor Alvin Brown's administration.


In 2010, IBM Citizenship created the Smarter Cities Challenge to help 100 cities over a three-year period to address some of the critical challenges facing cities. We do this by contributing the time and expertise of our top experts from different business units and geographies, putting them on the ground for three weeks to work closely with city leaders and deliver recommendations on how to make the city smarter and more effective.
We have learned a tremendous amount about the challenges facing today's cities and how IBM, through the expertise of its employees, can add value as city leaders look for solutions. In particular, we have found that cities are most often struggling to:

Do more with less In today's difficult global economy, municipal governments are struggling with demands to increase basic services and to do so with fewer available resources. Smarter Cities Challenge teams from Newark to Mecklenburg County have delivered recommendations that are helping these cities make smarter, more strategic investments in their communities, maximizing value in the long term.

Bridge silos in information and operations Even as cities tackle issues that cut across segments of society - for example, transportation policies that affect economic development - their operations are organized and their data is collected separately. Our work in cities like St. Louis, Providence and Ho Chi Minh City has revealed that changes in technology, data analytics and other tools can help cities bridge those gaps and enhance collaboration across departments.

Use civic engagement to drive better results When cities contemplate new ways to deliver basic services, support from their citizens is essential to their success. Citizens who are uninformed or disengaged cannot support, and may actively oppose, even the best policies. In collaboration with their IBM teams, cities like Guadalajara, Townsville and Sendai are reimagining their relationships with citizens, leveraging them as both sources of data - the pulse of the city - and as partners in seeding change.
Invest in infrastructure for better management Many of today's cities are suffering from years of disinvestment in basic infrastructure, and especially technology infrastructure. These gaps, due in part to budgetary pressure but also to the regular turnover of leadership, have kept cities, their leaders and citizens from realizing their full potential, slowing economic development and constraining their ability to make informed, data-driven decisions. Smarter Cities Challenge engagements all over the world are demonstrating how the right investments in infrastructure can introduce long-term efficiencies and dramatically transform a city's prospects for growth.

2012 RECIPIENTS (The Americas Only)

Atlanta, GA

Boston, MA

Curitiba, Brazil

Durham, NC

Houston, TX

Jacksonville, FL

Louisville, KY

Medellín, Colombia

Omaha, NE

Surrey, CA

Toluca, Mexico


The City of Jacksonville's priorities for downtown are to maximize revenue, increase occupancy, and density.  To achieve this goal, the public, private sector, residents, non-profits, and community must work together.

Jacksonville was viewed as a community having several existing assets to build upon.  Instead of spending time continuing to create studies, it was suggested that we spend time executing.

Common revitalization strategies recommended for downtown Jacksonville.

IBM Smarter Cities Challenge recommendations for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville.

IBM's consultants believed that downtown Jacksonville's land mass is too large.  Instead of attempting to spread out development, the consultants recommended that we develop and build density around downtown's existing assets and development projects.

The consultants highlighted the key role that transparency between all parties plays in the revitalization process.

The Revitalization Journey focused on identifying an implementation strategy to move various study recommendations and development projects forward.

Taking a page out of Metro Jacksonville's book, it was suggested that a series of low cost, easy to implement actions become the initial priority moving forward.

The consultant team also provided advice on how the City or DIA should manage the Revitalization Journey.

With that in mind, the consultant team described the balanced scorecard strategy.

An example of a balanced scorecard strategy for Jacksonville.

Optimization-based Roadmapping approach to facilitate multi-criterion decision making.

Optimization-based Roadmapping approach to facilitate multi-criterion decision making.  Input tracking the project scheduling process.

Optimization-based Roadmapping approach to facilitate multi-criterion decision making.  Input providing a road map to prioritize various initiatives by a set of uniform criteria deemed critical to the development of a vibrant downtown.

Optimization-based Roadmapping approach to facilitate multi-criterion decision making.  Output providing a timeline to project implementation.

A final summary of recommendations by the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge for revitalizing downtown Jacksonville.


Source: City of Jacksonville


The final version of the study is expected to be delivered to Mayor Alvin Brown within four to five weeks. At that stage, it will be up the City of Jacksonville and the newly formed Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) to do exactly what the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team suggests:  Execute!