Great video from the WPB DDA. This video highlights strengths of our city, and it emphasizes its urban character and public spaces. We believe the competitive strength of West Palm Beach in the region is its walkable street grid. This is what brings together people and allows the kind of serendipity and creation only urbanism allows. It’s what attracts people here in the first place and we should play to this strength, which is really at the core of what only city government can do.
That said, there is some mixed messaging going on. The push for a Flagler Financial District and the claim that WPB will become the “Wall Street of the South” within 5 years is a stretch. However, good news abounds and we need look no further than our backyard to see the entrepreneurs choosing to locate here in increasing numbers, in smaller, flexible workspaces such as that at Startup Palm Beach, Muses and Visionaries, or VentureWorx. Doing adaptive reuse projects like Forte Interactive’s new space on Datura Street, or expanding The First Bank of the Palm Beaches presence on Quadrille Boulevard.
At Walkable WPB, we stand for the the type of economic development known as “economic gardening”, rather than the “economic hunting” of poaching big companies and having taxpayers take the risk. Rather than incentivizing one company to relocate 50 jobs, let’s have 50 small businesses each grow 1 job. Same result, vastly lower risk to the municipality, and more supportive of the local economy.
The DDA is making great strides at fostering this entrepreneurial environment. Fully embracing an economic gardening approach, and getting the City and CRA to work in unison with the DDA efforts will go a long way toward taking West Palm Beach to the next level.
Here’s a small idea that is a start in the right direction: