Author Topic: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through  (Read 17799 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« on: November 23, 2011, 03:06:14 AM »
Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through



In this new special series, Metro Jacksonville will highlight what several peer cities across the country have created and are implementing to become destinations and not pass-throughs. Two hours north of Jacksonville is a community now internationally known for an economy driven by its historic preservation efforts: Savannah.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-nov-historic-savannah-a-destination-not-a-pass-through

BridgeTroll

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 06:56:37 AM »
Great article Ennis!  I love Savannah and just spent the Halloween weekend there.  Everytime I go I find something I have not seen or experienced.  Of note... panhandlers and "homeless are just as prevalent there as here... they simply confine themselves to less travelled areas or are less a nuisance due to the abundance of people walking around...
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Noone

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 07:01:44 AM »
Great article. Imagine SCAD in the 1st floor Dyal Upchurch or the armory. JCAD Jacksonville College of Art and Design. Ennis is the Dean.

I remember when they were here for the design competition for the former Shipyards/Landmar site. What struck me the most that they were not told that the Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier should have been part of the design. Yet some teams saved the pier and one team had integrated the use of retrofitted Shipping Containers as an incubator for a sustainable cluster of organic expansion.

Savannah is a port city.
Jacksonville is a port city. Paul Anderson, JPA - Where are you? I know you are the new guy. You get a pass in my book.

Everyone- FIND projects are being identified. Last year Duval county left $600,000 on the table. Ask councilman Redman. He is the chair of Waterways. We lost $600,000 of ad volorum money that we aren't getting back.  13 projects are currently identified. 5 days ago I mentioned and attended the meeting of the commissioners of FIND and pointed out that the Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier is not even on the list. We are a joke.

The administration and city council need to immediately take legislative action on the Historic Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier.

Be concerned.
It can happen. It can be a DESTINATION.  But its not happening.

At least put the Historic Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier on the FIND list that we can at least show the commissioners of FIND representing the east coast of the state of Florida that we care. Jacksonville is so LOST.

simms3

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 07:34:21 AM »
My favorite class in college was taught by a Savannah native (Douglas Allen bio), and it was titled History of Urban Form - so in addition to learning about Bramante, Michelangelo, Sixtus V, John Wood the Elder, Haussmann, John Nash, etc, we learned A LOT about Savannah.

Ennis, from a non architect's POV looking into an architect's POV, would you say Savannah may be the most interesting city in America along a design/planning frame of reference?

Edmund Bacon writes in his Design of Cities that "It is amazing that a colony, struggling against the most elemental problems of survival in a wilderness, should be able to produce a plan so exalted that it remains as one of the finest diagrams for city organization and growth in existence."

He continues, "Yet the total impact is just the opposite from the single pull of a great axial plan such as that of Paris or Washington, which is based on a single movement system...because there are squares in all directions, a sense of being withina complete organism is created, a kind of simultaneity that is most satisfying."

The slides below illustrate a plan that was originally drafted for London following a 17th century fire, and then never used.  The dimensions come straight from the Romans and are the ratios/dimensions architects still use today.  Why we don't build cities like this now, considering architects design buildings using such ratios and measuring points is beyond me, but when we adopted "planning" as a profession and separated it from architecture (and adopted codes), we went the opposite direction.  The way Savannah is laid out now is literally ILLEGAL.  Nothing about it follows code for new development.  That's the ultimate irony!

Savannah's founder, James Oglethorpe, was so dramatically "inspired" by Newcourt's plan for Londonderry following a 1666 fire (a plan never used), that he refused to admit it.  No city in America is more profoundly influenced by the architects' scale and the gridiron plan than Savannah - not even Philadelphia.

Main streets are 75 feet wide, minor streets half that width, and back access service lanes (inspired by "bastide" planning) are 22.5 feet wide.  London has mews (those back alleys).  So does Savannah!  Each residential plot in the city is 60x90 feet with no exceptions.  See slides below from that class...it was so intriguing to me that I kept a lot of the slides!















































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peestandingup

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 07:41:17 AM »
I've noticed that in much of the south, most cities that are real cities & places that you actually enjoy being in are the historic ones. Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, etc. Since they kept that old pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, improved on it & didn't go too sprawl-crazy, it's really worked out to their advantage in the 21st century in a number of ways, transit included.

The sad part is, Jacksonville could have been one of those great ones. We certainly had all of the right ingredients. But I fear that too much damage has been done to the historic fabric & too much needless sprawl has happened for it to ever become that.

jcjohnpaint

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 08:05:18 AM »
I was in Savannah two weeks ago for the SECAC art conference hosted by SCAD.  What an amazing town.  This was my first time in Savannah and was truly blown away. 

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011, 09:16:40 AM »
Your article and my last visit got me to thinking why Savannah was apparently spared the "total war" concept of Sherman and his March to the sea.  I was aware Shermans objective was to destroy the will and warfighting capability of the Confederates by slicing through Georgia from Atlanta to Savannah.  At first glance it appears the hopelessness of the Confederates situation in Savannah prompted them to retreat north by sneaking remaining units across the river.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman's_March_to_the_Sea

Quote
Sherman's armies reached the outskirts of Savannah on December 10 but found that Hardee had entrenched 10,000 men in good positions, and his soldiers had flooded the surrounding rice fields, leaving only narrow causeways available to approach the city. Sherman was blocked from linking up with the U.S. Navy as he had planned, so he dispatched cavalry to Fort McAllister, guarding the Ogeechee River, in hopes of unblocking his route and obtaining supplies awaiting him on the Navy ships. On December 13, William B. Hazen's division of Howard's army stormed the fort in the Battle of Fort McAllister and captured it within 15 minutes. Some of the 134 Union casualties were caused by torpedoes, a name for crude land mines that were used only rarely in the war.

Now that Sherman had connected to the Navy fleet under Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, he was able to obtain the supplies and siege artillery he required to invest Savannah. On December 17, he sent a message to Hardee in the city:

I have already received guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city; also, I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army—burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war.

— William T. Sherman , Message to William J. Hardee, December 17, 1864, recorded in his memoirs


Hardee decided not to surrender but to escape. On December 20, he led his men across the Savannah River on a pontoon bridge hastily constructed of rice flats. The next morning, Savannah Mayor R. D. Arnold rode out to formally surrender, in exchange for General Geary's promise to protect the city's citizens and their property. Sherman's men, led by Geary's division of the XX Corps, occupied the city the same day.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

thelakelander

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 09:23:44 AM »
Ennis, from a non architect's POV looking into an architect's POV, would you say Savannah may be the most interesting city in America along a design/planning frame of reference?

Yes, I find Savannah's plan and implementation to be one of the most interesting.  However, what I find most remarkable is the level of preservation that has taken place, its ability to escape the urban renewal happy mid/late 20th century with minor damage and the continued pristine condition of its public realm. 

Just wondering, does anyone know why Savannah's trees tend to mature while ours get diseased and cut down?
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fsujax

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 09:40:30 AM »
Because most them are live oaks, while we have water and laurel oaks. They also probably take better care of them from a city stand point. We cant even keep our ROW's properly maintained.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 09:48:33 AM »
Not to mention that the majority of them are in the public squares - away from building and underground infrastructure.  By keeping all of the sewage, electric, fiber under the sidewalks, they avoided having to tunnel under the oaks in the squares. 
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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thelakelander

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2011, 09:54:37 AM »
All the way through Derenne/I-516 the majority of neighborhood streets have a mature canopy despite the streets being paved with concrete sidewalks.





Even on Summer's most heated days, pedestrians on Savannah's sidewalks still are protected from the full brunt of our region's natural elements.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 09:59:10 AM by thelakelander »
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fsujax

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2011, 10:02:31 AM »
many if not all of those are live oaks. Our city planted laural and water oaks, everywhere back about 40-50 years ago. There life expectancy has come and gone. It would be a good idea if the city no longer planted those speciman.

Tacachale

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2011, 10:12:33 AM »
^We recently had to have a water oak in our front yard cut down. It was as large as many live oaks you see, but at about 60 it was as good as firewood and just waiting to fall on our house.

According to the tree company, there are various species of oaks, including different types of live oaks, and they thrive in different areas and conditions.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

dougskiles

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 11:52:38 AM »
Savannah is awesome.  I took my 11-yr old son there for a weekend this summer.  He is an aspiring artist, so we took a tour of SCAD (which was a little funny because it was meant for incoming Freshman - but they were very cool about it).

As the article mentions, SCAD is completely integrated into the fabric of the city.  Most of the buildings are renovated structures and are scattered throughout.  A small bus system circulates the city and is free for all students and faculty.

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

This is a student center (previously a synagogue):



College of Building & Design (with the riverfront designs that Noone referenced):




School of Fashion Design:


Visual Arts:


And of course their FREE streetcar along the river:

simms3

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Re: Historic Savannah: A Destination, Not A Pass-Through
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 12:08:21 PM »
I think Jacksonville can form a partnership with Saint Augustine like the partnership Atlanta/GA has with Savannah.  Georgia is always seeming to be ahead and FL, more specifically NE FL, is always falling way behind.  Saint Augustine is also sort of a "backyard" amenity.

I'm always disappointed in the school situation in NE FL.  UNF is the only school really expanding and trying to create a better reputation for itself, and yet it is in the suburbs in a closed off suburban campus.  UF is an hour and a half away and is shared amongst the whole state and even into other states.  JU is stagnant and does not seem to do much for the community (not to mention its campus is in about the worst part of town), and Flagler College is expanding, but has limited expansion capabilities.  SCAD is just such a good example of a newly formed school that has become one of the top schools of art and design along with RISD, New School/Parsons, Curtis, etc etc.  SCAD has two campuses, both of which are integrated at least decently (one integrated seamlessly, the one in Savannah).  That school has really been the largest catalyst of the rebirth of historic Savannah as a destination.
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