Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Next Step for Jacksonville

I'll say this again, Jacksonville needs and deserves to have a spectacular and iconic building on our beautiful river. The opportunities are there. We have the redesign of the Jacksonville Landing in the heart of our downtown riverfront, the Shipyards, a new convention center, the District and the old Courthouse/City Hall property currently sinking into the river. When we start the design process, let's not pay too much homage to the automobile. Much of Jacksonville has been designed to make it easy to get through places as quickly as possible. One of the recent ill-fated redesigns of the Landing placed a street along the riverfront between the river and the green-space that they were showcasing.

The American Institute of Architects has an ad campaign in which they say, "We look up because we know the world is counting on us to look ahead." Leaders and people of Jacksonville, we too, must look up to look ahead. Great cities are not known for their sprawling, stuccoed, suburbs. They are known for their cultural treasures—their art, their museums, their music and the buildings that house them. Think of a great destination place for a vacation. If it isn't the natural beauty of a place like the Everglades or Yosemite, it is what makes up its cultural heart. New York? Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, MoMA, the Met, the great high rises. Chicago? The Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the ART Institute. Paris? The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame. London? Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Eye. Jacksonville? the Main Street Bridge? EverBank Field? We can and must use this pivotal point in our history to look forward.

We deserve better.

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