The economic and community benefits of walkable urban places is easily understood when you observe Art Walkers on the first Wednesday of every month, especially when the weather cooperates. An average of 6,000 people attend DVI’s award-winning First Wednesday Art Walk each month, and the event will celebrate its 10th anniversary in November.
Walking through Downtown city streets and exploring Art Walk venues provide opportunity for chance encounters that may lead to new relationships or spontaneous events and collaborations. An interactive city – one that exhibits vitality in high foot traffic and special events – promotes innovation and can be the ultimate catalyst for attracting and retaining new businesses.
Art Walk sets the example of what Downtown should look like on a daily basis, people out shopping, dining and exploring. During Art Walk, the existing businesses program and fill the sidewalks with vendors, artists and live music, creating density. Walking three blocks during this time doesn’t seem far or dull because there is activity among these blocks.
A Brookings Institute study, “Walk this Way: The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C.” reveals that more walkable communities are stronger economically. The study shares “emerging evidence [that] points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places.”
DVI is dedicated to supporting and implementing elements that define an ideal public realm through elements such as public art, engaging storefronts and cleaning initiatives. We know the extraordinary benefits of a walkable community and look forward to seeing Downtown Jacksonville continue to develop into one – on Art Walk nights and beyond.