[Part 1 of a 5-part series on the Intercity Leadership Exchange.]
Learn About the Importance and Depth of Collaboration; Establishing Public-Private Partnerships; Utilizing Partnerships to Revitalize Distressed Neighborhoods; Improve Downtown; and Much More
The greater Gainesville region has experienced its share of success in recent years, but in order to stay competitive, we must keep progressing forward with new ideas, plans and projects to accommodate our growth.
Each year, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce leads a delegation of business and community leaders on a trip to peer cities to explore best practices, tour physical development and hear detailed and candid discussions about the challenges and successes they’ve had. This year, the delegation will study one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.: Columbus, Ohio.
Vibrant and progressive, Columbus’ dynamic yet stable economy is the envy of many other U.S. and international cities. Its collaborative business environment makes it a place where entrepreneurs can take risks, and small businesses and major corporations can thrive – earning it the distinction as one of the top metros for job creation. The development successes that Columbus has enjoyed in recent years, and the close ties between the city and its university, serves as an inspiration for implementing the University of Florida’s Strategic Development Plan.
In 2016, the University of Florida started a strategic development plan to re-envision how the campus and its relationships with Gainesville and Alachua county might evolve over the next 50 years.
The Strategic Development Plan defines a path to preeminence for the University of Florida that is anchored in a culture of civic engagement and a commitment to fostering proximity of people and places to spark creativity and discovery. The University and City of Gainesville’s collaboration via a unique partnership will amplify the efforts of both in building a stronger, healthier community by putting the University’s intellectual capital to work on pressing urban challenges and developing a vibrant central core for the University and City through purposeful growth.
Success depends on shared vision shared objectives, and shared commitment.
The plan consists of four primary initiatives:
- New American City – The University of Florida and the City of Gainesville will become a lab for collaborative investigation into solutions for the United States’ most pressing societal and sustainability challenges.The City of Gainesville will join forces with the University of Florida to address challenges of mobility, education, health, housing, and livability, and to collaborate on creating inclusive solutions. This unique partnership is one of the key game-changing ideas of the plan.
- Proximity – The plan recommends that the University re-center growth by concentrating future development in the eastern third of campus, and coordinating with the City to encourage development between downtown and the campus.Plans to support this initiative include studying transportation and parking, best uses for existing spaces, connecting the academic core to the medical complex, and establishing primary corridors and campus gateways.
- Strong Neighborhoods – The University of Florida will work with the City and its neighborhoods to strengthen pride of place by listening to the community’s needs and collaborating on shared objectives.
- Stewardship – Gainesville’s outdoor amenities knit campus and community together, providing some of the City’s greatest resources and attractions. An infrastructure framework based on enhancing open spaces and key ecological corridors will enable strategic growth that fosters preeminence for the City and campus.
Attendees of the Chamber’s InterCity visit to Columbus, Ohio will return to Gainesville with ideas and lessons to share that may spark conversation about how we continue to move forward on these initiatives, as a community. Specifically, attendees will learn about the importance and depth of collaboration, establishing public-private partnerships, utilizing partnerships to revitalize distressed neighborhoods, downtown development, and more.
Over the next several weeks leading up to the trip, we will dive deeper into each of the four initiatives of the UF plan, and discuss exactly what we will study in Columbus as it relates to each of those initiatives: