Friday, May 24, 2013

Flashback Friday #18 - Jacksonville, FL

Last night I attended a special event at the MOSH (Museum of Science and History) in downtown Jacksonville. It was called Jacksonville by Design and was a panel discussion led by architects and urban planners about the future of Jacksonville as a city. Lots of topics were discussed that I researched during my thesis project last year such as creating more pedestrian friendly areas, installing better street lighting, making better public transportation, creating more events at night and on the weekends, and basically giving people a reason to come downtown. One really good part of the discussion begged the question that instead of looking to the bad examples of design in order to learn what not to do, we should in fact look to the good examples of design and start to celebrate those pieces of planning. If we look too much at the bad examples they will become road blocks and designers, as well as the general public, will get too hung up on them and start to resist change. But if we get excited about the good examples then we can start to advance and make better choices. Jacksonville has a lot of potential and I hope that the future will help make it into a leading example of city design and planning. The main problem at this juncture though is that there are so many ideas on the table but none are being used. One thing that was said at the discussion last night was that there are no "wrong" answers to any of Jacksonville's design questions. That may be true to an extent, but the problem with that is that no one wants to pick the "right" answer. Not every choice is going to be perfect or well received by everyone, but remaining static as Jacksonville has for the most part is certainly the wrong answer. The table of ideas has become the road block and we need to start clearing it. Take notice Jacksonville, keep looking to the future, and start taking action - and, as always, Keep it REAL!

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