Documenting ReUrbanism in Jacksonville and Across America

As urban areas across the country are experiencing revitalization, the National Trust for Historic Places has worked to document this “re-urbanism” and provide tools to help communities leverage current opportunities.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund has supported this work, recognizing its alignment with the Fund’s interest in affordable housing and community revitalization and the Fund’s commitment to sustainability and energy conservation.

Since 2014, the National Trust, through its Preservation Green Lab project, has examined 32 urban communities, from New York to San Francisco and Seattle to Jacksonville. In each community, the Trust looks at the way reuse of older, smaller buildings can have a positive impact on economic development, social vitality and livability.

These analyses are compiled in an online Atlas of ReUrbanism, intended as a guide to activists, journalists, developers or residents who are interested in preserving and/or enhancing the character of their communities.

The Jacksonville study will be unveiled May 17 at the Jessie Ball duPont Center. To learn more about the event, contact Chris Crothers at ccrothers@dupontfund.org.

The Atlas can be found at http://forum.savingplaces.org/act/pgl/atlas

The trustees and staff of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund are deeply interested in building reuse for multiple reasons:

  • Reusing existing buildings is more energy efficient than demolishing them and building new structures.
  • Building reuse is a significant strategy for cities to mitigate their climate change impact.
  • Research shows that neighborhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings perform better along a range of economic, social and environmental measures when compared with newer neighborhoods with larger structures.

In 2015, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund completed restoration of the 50-year-old Haydon Burns Library in downtown Jacksonville, converting it into the Jessie Ball duPont Center, with offices and gathering spaces for Jacksonville area nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Also that year, the Fund engaged The Reinvestment Fund to do a detailed analysis of Jacksonville residential housing stock. That study – The Block by Block Study – was released in fall 2015. (The report can be found under Housing in our Reports & Research section of our website.) The Jacksonville ReUrbanism study integrates the Block by Block findings, illustrating the potential intersection between building reuse and strong housing markets.