Author Topic: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity  (Read 3683 times)

Metro Jacksonville

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2644
    • MetroJacksonville.com
Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« on: September 19, 2015, 03:00:03 AM »
Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity



Christopher Hooks on the Jacksonville Identity (or the lack thereof).

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-sep-christopher-hooks-jacksonville-identity

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30622
    • Modern Cities
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 08:54:35 AM »
Good article. However, sometimes I think we worry too much about coming up with something that Jax is known for. These things can change over the years when we don't play up to them or run the respective industry out of town.  They also evolve organically as cities and various industries pop up and decline. For example, for many decades, Portland was known as Bridgetown because of all the bridges that crossed the river. I'm not sure it's known for anything gimmicky today but most recognize it for being a place that invests in its resident's quality-of-life. Maybe, I'm wrong but it seems its identify is organically being formed by a general will to improve its quality-of-life more than anything else.

A century ago, we were known as the Winter Film Capitol of the World and the Gateway City. Well the film industry left and advances made in travel and the growth of the rest of the state took our "Gateway" status. Down in Tampa, it really hasn't been a "Cigar City" since most of its cigar factories were put out of business before WWII by a large cigar company (Swisher) in another "Cigar City" in Florida (Jax). However, Tampa still has Ybor, which gentrified in the 1990s. It also promotes its historical ties to a local industry that died well before the Jacksonville Shipyards closed up shop. On the other hand, we tore down most of anything locally that had to do with that particular industry. Same goes for shipyards. Our waterfront was lined with them for the majority of our existence. Now, outside of Commodore Point, which many downtown advocates want to see redeveloped, you'd never know anything about the thousands that worked in that industry, the companies or their impact on American history. It would be like all the auto manufacturers leaving Detroit and Detroit immediately demolishing any and everything that had something to do with them.

In addition, I believe consolidation has hurt our cultural image to a degree because when we now think of the city, we think of the entire county. Unfortunately, most of the county is mid-to-late 20th century sprawl, which there is nothing unique about. Every region has sprawl and it looks about the same in all 50 states.


http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-aug-a-jacksonville-landmark-prairie-school-architecture

However, believe it or not, we do have things that were and are still unique to the original city of Jax (this would be considered the urban core today). For example, we have our own variation of Prairie School Architecture. At one point we had the most buildings built in this style of architecture outside of the Midwest. However, instead of promoting this, we've torn many down and most new buildings are cheap, common, stucco palaces. As a result, areas where significant clusters of this early 20th century building style still exists (ex. Riverside, downtown, Springfield, etc.) stand out from the rest of the city. We still have sandwiches that are tied to our city. For example, the camel rider and steak-n-the-sacks are pretty ubiquitous.  You won't find them at SJTC or chain restaurants but stop for a bite to eat in most hole-in-the-way delis and sandwich shops around town and they'll be on the menu.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/dining/in-jacksonville-camel-rider-sandwiches-are-ubiquitous.html?_r=0



http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-oct-vicarious-delis-of-riverside-avondale

« Last Edit: September 19, 2015, 09:01:29 AM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

C.Hooks

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »
I agree on your points lakelander. We absolutely have to be aware of and learn from our history. The accomplishments are coming, and we need to celebrate these as well. It's like looking through the grease-formed window on the steak-in-a-sack bag and knowing that great things are headed your way!

BoldBoyOfTheSouth

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 373
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 12:28:43 PM »
I agree that most cities are known for an identity that evolved organically but those cities also know who to promote their organic identities.

Tacachale

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7785
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2015, 01:16:37 PM »
Excellent piece. I always felt that if we could get a lot of people together and think of, say, 10 things that stand out about Jacksonville that could be included in all the city's promotions, we'd have a much better sense of our civic identity. They would not have to be huge things or necessarily different than all other places, but the combination would be. We did something similar at UNF a few years ago and it was pretty successful - and UNF has a lot less history and culture than Jacksonville. If you focus on things that already exist it makes branding a lot easier.
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?

KenFSU

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3946
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2015, 02:14:51 PM »
To me, the below is the single best promotional piece I've ever seen done for Jacksonville.

Whoever put the video together absolutely crushed it.

In just six minutes, you get a really great feel for the things that really make Jacksonville awesome.

These guys need to be on the city payroll, if they aren't already.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5tOFUZj2gg

Michael Hoffman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 05:02:36 PM »
The search for Jacksonville’s identity has always reminded me of an old man with dementia rummaging through a closet in search of an old shoe box that might contain a photograph or some other snippet of information that might remind him who he was before he dies.  If he even finds what he thinks he is looking for in his past does he currently have the ability to put in to context to be relevant in his old age? Would he even like what he finds?

Jacksonville’s legacy is one of white flight, sprawl, and homogenization. The 1960s might have sparked a revolution elsewhere in the country, but here in Jacksonville it was the start of a slow decline. The civil rights movement gave birth to desegregation which in turn started a wave of white flight that is still riding high today. It flew through the urban core and has now made it as far south as Middleburg. There are miles and miles of half-filled store fronts and empty houses all over town, but instead of reinvesting in older neighborhoods Jacksonville sprawls out into a whitewashed beige stucco hell.  Drive down any major road leading away from town Blanding, Roosevelt, Main, Arlington Expressway, or Phillips and you can see the progression of economic neuropathy spreading ever outward. Basically everything within the 295 beltway, the heart of Jacksonville, has been left to die (not including the historic drinking districts of Riverside and Avondale).

Jacksonville has no clear consensus on what it is as it means different things to different people.  Thanks to consolidation the various municipalities in the county that people could relate to were absorbed in to the largest city in the America. Unfortunately the ingredients have not mixed down well in the almost 50 years since it happened. Black on black crime, jacked up trucks waving the confederate flag, white BMW driving trophy wives shopping at Nordstrom, and Portlandia rejects knit bombing trees don’t mix in to anything cohesive without a lot of effort and dialogue.

When you take a large and dramatically diverse group of people spread out over a large area you have to boil it down to the lowest common denominator to find any kind of consensus. So until we stem the economic drain that is caused by sprawl, improve communication between the various socio economic groups within Jacksonville, and develop a unified and cohesive ideal vision for our city we will just have to live with the fact that Jacksonville is not a vibrant and thriving big city and it’s not a wholesome small heartland American city, but something faceless somewhere in between.

Jacksonville, it is a place to exist on planet Earth.

Jacksonville is my home town and has been my sole place of residence for the last 35 years. I am a white male and moved on choice to an ethnically split “not up and coming” neighborhood on the Northside. I work for the state and deal with a cross spectrum of society on a daily basis. I am not a conservative nor am I a liberal. My politics and views are my own.

Know Growth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 657
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 06:06:31 PM »
The search for Jacksonville’s identity has always reminded me of an old man with dementia rummaging through a closet in search of an old shoe box that might contain a photograph or some other snippet of information that might remind him who he was before he dies.  If he even finds what he thinks he is looking for in his past does he currently have the ability to put in to context to be relevant in his old age? Would he even like what he finds?

Jacksonville’s legacy is one of white flight, sprawl, and homogenization. The 1960s might have sparked a revolution elsewhere in the country, but here in Jacksonville it was the start of a slow decline. The civil rights movement gave birth to desegregation which in turn started a wave of white flight that is still riding high today. It flew through the urban core and has now made it as far south as Middleburg. There are miles and miles of half-filled store fronts and empty houses all over town, but instead of reinvesting in older neighborhoods Jacksonville sprawls out into a whitewashed beige stucco hell.  Drive down any major road leading away from town Blanding, Roosevelt, Main, Arlington Expressway, or Phillips and you can see the progression of economic neuropathy spreading ever outward. Basically everything within the 295 beltway, the heart of Jacksonville, has been left to die (not including the historic drinking districts of Riverside and Avondale).

Jacksonville has no clear consensus on what it is as it means different things to different people.  Thanks to consolidation the various municipalities in the county that people could relate to were absorbed in to the largest city in the America. Unfortunately the ingredients have not mixed down well in the almost 50 years since it happened. Black on black crime, jacked up trucks waving the confederate flag, white BMW driving trophy wives shopping at Nordstrom, and Portlandia rejects knit bombing trees don’t mix in to anything cohesive without a lot of effort and dialogue.

When you take a large and dramatically diverse group of people spread out over a large area you have to boil it down to the lowest common denominator to find any kind of consensus. So until we stem the economic drain that is caused by sprawl, improve communication between the various socio economic groups within Jacksonville, and develop a unified and cohesive ideal vision for our city we will just have to live with the fact that Jacksonville is not a vibrant and thriving big city and it’s not a wholesome small heartland American city, but something faceless somewhere in between.

Jacksonville, it is a place to exist on planet Earth.

Jacksonville is my home town and has been my sole place of residence for the last 35 years. I am a white male and moved on choice to an ethnically split “not up and coming” neighborhood on the Northside. I work for the state and deal with a cross spectrum of society on a daily basis. I am not a conservative nor am I a liberal. My politics and views are my own.

Fascinating insight,outstanding post. Welcome!  8)

I think back through the many years I have resided near,or within Duval county, always amidst "Inferiority Complex", lagging grasp of "Opportunity",stalking the "taboo", predictive capability, and in fact the run has been not all bad. Probably in part to propensity towards Avondale core habitat. Lately I admire those that opt for deep west side acreage,yet another wonderful Duval county thing.

This evening I met a couple who can't wait to move away from 103rd street and Ricker...after many years there. The conversation probably Taboo.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 06:13:02 PM by Know Growth »

vicupstate

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3357
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2015, 07:16:28 PM »
The search for Jacksonville’s identity has always reminded me of an old man with dementia rummaging through a closet in search of an old shoe box that might contain a photograph or some other snippet of information that might remind him who he was before he dies.  If he even finds what he thinks he is looking for in his past does he currently have the ability to put in to context to be relevant in his old age? Would he even like what he finds?

Jacksonville’s legacy is one of white flight, sprawl, and homogenization. The 1960s might have sparked a revolution elsewhere in the country, but here in Jacksonville it was the start of a slow decline. The civil rights movement gave birth to desegregation which in turn started a wave of white flight that is still riding high today. It flew through the urban core and has now made it as far south as Middleburg. There are miles and miles of half-filled store fronts and empty houses all over town, but instead of reinvesting in older neighborhoods Jacksonville sprawls out into a whitewashed beige stucco hell.  Drive down any major road leading away from town Blanding, Roosevelt, Main, Arlington Expressway, or Phillips and you can see the progression of economic neuropathy spreading ever outward. Basically everything within the 295 beltway, the heart of Jacksonville, has been left to die (not including the historic drinking districts of Riverside and Avondale).

Jacksonville has no clear consensus on what it is as it means different things to different people.  Thanks to consolidation the various municipalities in the county that people could relate to were absorbed in to the largest city in the America. Unfortunately the ingredients have not mixed down well in the almost 50 years since it happened. Black on black crime, jacked up trucks waving the confederate flag, white BMW driving trophy wives shopping at Nordstrom, and Portlandia rejects knit bombing trees don’t mix in to anything cohesive without a lot of effort and dialogue.

When you take a large and dramatically diverse group of people spread out over a large area you have to boil it down to the lowest common denominator to find any kind of consensus. So until we stem the economic drain that is caused by sprawl, improve communication between the various socio economic groups within Jacksonville, and develop a unified and cohesive ideal vision for our city we will just have to live with the fact that Jacksonville is not a vibrant and thriving big city and it’s not a wholesome small heartland American city, but something faceless somewhere in between.

Jacksonville, it is a place to exist on planet Earth.

Jacksonville is my home town and has been my sole place of residence for the last 35 years. I am a white male and moved on choice to an ethnically split “not up and coming” neighborhood on the Northside. I work for the state and deal with a cross spectrum of society on a daily basis. I am not a conservative nor am I a liberal. My politics and views are my own.


There is literally nothing in your post that didn't happen in other cities, or should I say nearly all cities. The only difference I see is that where other cities are seeing a rebirth of their urban core, JAX has not, except in a couple of neighborhoods.  BTW, no cities were eliminated in consolidation. ALL the ones that existed before consolidation still do.
"The problem with quotes on the internet is you can never be certain they're authentic." - Abraham Lincoln

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30622
    • Modern Cities
Re: Christopher Hooks: Jacksonville - Identity
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 08:28:45 PM »
Legacy of sprawl? Hmm...not in this picture taken of downtown before we went car crazy:

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali