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Improving city's walkability will attract economic development, urban planner says

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Article by The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville is one of the most drivable cities in America, according to urban planner Jeff Speck. Unfortunately, it’s not an accolade that will attract the talented young professionals who have driven growth in other cities, he said.

“Economic development is no longer about whatever the next corporate flavor of the month is,” said Speck, who recently authored a book on the importance of walkability. “It’s about being a place where people want to live, and particularly where talented people want to live. And the way to do that, statistically, is to be more walkable.”

Speck, who lives in Washington, D.C., spoke Tuesday morning at the Omni Hotel, where the Jacksonville Business Journal hosted a discussion on making the city more pedestrian friendly. The event also featured a panel discussion with community leaders, including Nathaniel Ford, CEO of Jacksonville Transportation Authority; Daniel Davis, president and CEO of Jax Chamber; and Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority.

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