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About the Project

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is helping to convene a series of conversations about how best to activate our city’s downtown waterfront for the benefit of all of our residents and visitors.

This project is being led by DVDL, an agency of cultural forecasters working with cultural institutions and public spaces around the country. They will team up with design and community engagement partners to develop this project with us. Our community engagement work will be led by Groundwork Jacksonville, in their capacity as our city's nonprofit trust dedicated to creating a more walkable, liveable community. We share that goal, and the Emerald Trail and inclusive waterfront public spaces are both important steps to achieving it.

Upcoming Events

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Please click the event title to register for the event.


Throughout the spring and summer of 2021, DVDL and partners plan to work through a series of frameworks, tasks and conversations, including:

  • meeting with community leaders, including next-generation representatives, for group conversations and one-on-one interviews;
  • benchmarking against comparable projects around the country and the world;
  • launching a series of programs to engage residents in these discussions, including tours of the waterfront and community meetings; and
  • distributing a city-wide survey on public space usage, cultural institutions and well-being among Jacksonville residents.

Initial design and activation plans will take into account the learnings from each of these work streams, and are expected to be presented to City leadership in the fall. We also expect to host community meetings or town halls to share the findings of our work directly with our neighbors.


More information about our three stakeholder groups coming soon!

Recent Events


Why is the Jessie Ball duPont Fund involved in this work?

Our work in Jacksonville—including grantmaking, funding research, and convening community partnerships—is designed to create spaces where the members of our community feel they truly belong. An important part of that work is expanding access to shared community spaces that reflect the diverse identity of our city.

To that end, we are helping to convene conversations to see how we might accommodate as broad a segment of wishes and desires for the Jacksonville waterfront as possible. Working with community leaders, we plan to gather input at the neighborhood level, build on prior work, and use what we learn to build consensus on how best to bring the Northbank and Southbank to life.

Why are public spaces so important?

Public spaces have the potential to bring together residents from all walks of life; in that way, we also have a responsibility to make them as inclusive as possible.

When designed and activated in a way that feels welcoming and exciting, these are places that foster health, equity, dialogue and social connection for residents and visitors.

In order for public space to be successful, there must be a diverse slate of activities throughout all seasons and time of day. The culture and history of the community should be felt and be visible, and spaces should allow for flexible uses in the future.

Here To Help

Katie Ensign
Vice President for Placemaking & Administration
Send Email904-544-9533