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BosTech

Downtowns in Balkans

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Here are some pictures of downtowns of cities in Balkans and where I am from....Point of this is to show how vibrant downtowns can be and what could Jacksonville could use as idea to make own dowtown exciting place to live.

My point is :

a.It doesn't take lot of money to create interesting and vibrant downtown

b.It doesn't take 20 milion people (like NYC) to achive same...Most of these cities are smaller in land size and have smaller population then Jax

c.It takes small businesses to have DT like this not large corporations or chains,most people in these cities are not aware of Sturbucks for example

d.True,most of these cities have been in existance for hundreds of years but on other hand Jax has good economy,more verstile population which can make DT even more interesting place...from european stores to asian and american resturants etc etc....

Take example of city of Sarajevo which was war zone less then 10 years ago and now it looks beautiful as it can be.

Sorry for separete topic but didn't want to mix it with other since there is lot of pictures to show.

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I like these pictures, especially the colors and the plazas. I'm happy to see that the Balkans are recovering. It looks like Sarajevo and Belgrade have recovered really well.. Do you have pictures of Novi Sad and Podgorica?

For hosting images, you can use ImageShack or PhotoBucket. When you upload your pics, you can edit your posts so that they point to the new links.

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Thanx,I'll fix it later...Belgrade was never damaged but Sarajevo is rebuilding every day,most buildings are renovated...Even in peace time they wouldn't do all that renovations and some new towers are coming as Bosmal Twins.

Anyway I think it would be interesting to see american cities turning in such pedastrian zones and Jacksonville does have a potential for that.

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These are vibrant areas indeed. The one key thing is population density. Jax once packed them in at almost 8,000 per square mile. All of this can be achieved by re-densifying downtown and the inner city, which is now occuring, but it will still take some years. On the other hand, the city can do its part, by providing urban plazas, benches & effective mass transportation, to help stimulate denser development.

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On the other hand, the city can do its part, by providing urban plazas, benches & effective mass transportation, to help stimulate denser development.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Good points. The city has to allow for the appropriate improvements (i.e. improved zoning, good architectural and site design guidelines, etc.). Without the city's help in allowing such things, it may be a long time before we get to where we would like to be. As much as the DDA and the JEDC are supposed to improve the downtown and foster economic development, neither have done much good in my estimation. Has the Adam's Mark done much for downtown? Where is the commercial/retail that is so key to the downtown? Why has the riverwalk been left behind so often (everyone espouses the greatness of having a river through town, but we do nothing with it...personal comment: the new riverwalk extension (and it's entirety) is nice, but it does not do us or the river justice; consider some of the great waterfronts in the US and you will see what I mean).

Instead of stocking these boards with the typical bureaucrats/politicians, commercial interests and developers, they should look to get real designers on board. And I do not consider the token architect, Landscape Architect or planner on either of the boards worth it as they do not appear to have much input. The downtown needs to consider all options (consistent landscape palette, architectural design/detail, scale, massing, views, etc) and not just streetscape paving design and appropriate bench, trash receptacle and light selection.

Back to the pictures...the main thing that caught my eye, and it was also the thing that made a lot of the Super Bowl great, was the lack of vehicles in the pictures (well, most of them). There are pedestrian thoroughfares and plazas with small scale retail/commercial; a beautiful thing. Can you imagine actually walking through downtown without fear of the car? Some may say that there are tons of cars in NYC and you still have a pedestrian environment. True, but it is offset by the pocket parks, plazas/squares, real parks and pedestrian thoroughfares. Why is it so hard to do any of that here?

The Urb

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Back to the pictures...the main thing that caught my eye, and it was also the thing that made a lot of the Super Bowl great, was the lack of vehicles in the pictures (well, most of them).  There are pedestrian thoroughfares and plazas with small scale retail/commercial; a beautiful thing.  Can you imagine actually walking through downtown without fear of the car?  Some may say that there are tons of cars in NYC and you still have a pedestrian environment.  True, but it is offset by the pocket parks, plazas/squares, real parks and pedestrian thoroughfares.  Why is it so hard to do any of that here?

The Urb

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Basically a lack of vision by the people who actually have the power to make decisions around here. IMO, its going to take a strong effort from the average urban minded person, with vision, to push this city to the next level, mainly through private development, running for city government positions and arranging & supporting special events like the Art Walk.

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How can the avergae person push such a thing. Ild love to se Jax downtown that packed. But im not a developer, member of the city concil, or known enough to get invited to any of the idea sharing mettings. The "open to the Public" meetings are in my opinion just a way of saying, we are going to do such and such regardless, but we want to know what you think anyway. Ive got all sorts of ides that would help, just not that kind of money or clout to push and of them. So, as i started with, what is the average person suppose to do.

Cheers

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How can the avergae person push such a thing. Ild love to se Jax downtown that packed. But im not a developer, member of the city concil, or known enough to get invited to any of the idea sharing mettings. The "open to the Public" meetings are in my opinion just a way of saying, we are going to do such and such regardless, but we want to know what you think anyway. Ive got all sorts of ides that would help, just not that kind of money or clout to push and of them. So, as i started with, what is the average person suppose to do.

Cheers

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Great post. You have to actually go to all of the public meetings you care about (which is tough), ask questions publicly and privately if there is an opp, and if you're not a crackpot (no offense to the crackpots) you'll get invited to a charette. I've only been invited to one, but most charettes are open that I've seen, maybe not well advertised.

Money and clout is pretty sweet, but discussion can trump those. The city is changing. Read the, ahem, paper and you can see it. This board is awesome.

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I love those pedestrian areas in those pics! Someone had mentioned in "Wish List for Jax" that they'd like to see Bay Street closed off to cars. It would be great!

I really want to go to Europe.

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Well if city created historic districts and saved land for natural parks then should do something about creating and KEEPING entertainment district.

Here are some of my ideas:

1.Create and preserve area around Bay st as ED only.

2.Close Bay St ONCE new courthouse is build but leave Main st still for traffic,Bay st is not that ciritical for traffic anyway.

3.Old courthouse PRESERVE and turn into small business and entertainmant attractions,set lower flors for night clubs,bars and alike and upper floors rent for small businesses ONLY,set so it is afordable for them to move in and conduct businesses...That will bring work,fun and people downtown and they don't have to be rich.

Whole building should be declared as sort of Entrance for mortars into downtown.

Don't sell it so they can build another overpriced tower.

4.Create plan to attract and keep small businesses into area 24/7,set rules and regulations that encurages SB to move in and work there.

5.Introduce more art into downtown from music,galleries etc...some rooms in old courthouse can be used for that purpose also.

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Great post. You have to actually go to all of the public meetings you care about (which is tough), ask questions publicly and privately if there is an opp, and if you're not a crackpot (no offense to the crackpots) you'll get invited to a charette. I've only been invited to one, but most charettes are open that I've seen, maybe not well advertised.

Money and clout is pretty sweet, but discussion can trump those. The city is changing. Read the, ahem, paper and you can see it. This board is awesome.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Probably a dumb question but where do you find out where and when these meetings are. Is it posted in the paper or elsewhere?

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One reason for the difference in American cities and European cities is age. Thos cities have been around for hundreds of years and back then, travel was extremely limited so 'packing them in' was the only obvious choice. Jacksonville is fairly new. Less than 200 years old and really not much until 100 years ago where as many of those cities you just pointed out have had that population for decades.

Most American cities will not reach that level of density because they have never had to be that dense to survive.

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Probably a dumb question but where do you find out where and when these meetings are.  Is it posted in the paper or elsewhere?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, check your newspaper. Florida's Sunshine Law requires government meetings to be public and announced well in advance. Local governments usually put out ads in the paper with the header "NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING" in bold letters.

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Probably a dumb question but where do you find out where and when these meetings are.  Is it posted in the paper or elsewhere?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Different neighborhoods do it differently. Stay tuned with SPAR, RAP- newsletters, contact DDA and JEDC for notification emails, and macro resource coj.net. Daily record. I'm not sure if they post in the TU because I don't get the paper.

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