Downtown Jackson, MS

There are no hard boundaries for Dwtn but my sense is that its western border is the railroad to the west, Court St to the south, Jefferson St to the east, and High/Monument St to the North with a couple additional blocks north of the Statehouse.

Capitol Street is by far Dwtn Jackson’s best street with decent urban form as a lot of historic buildings remains, great streetscaping and even some business, hotels, and office bldgs. Decent cohesion and sense of place surround State Capitol Building, Smith Park,  and the governor’s Mansion. The block west of here to Lamar street holds a decent array of modern and historic bldgs but not great urban form. Some efforts have been made to revitalize the historic African American Business District (Farish St) evidenced by several blocks of new streetscaping and a handful of renovated businesses. A nice block on State St also sits across from the old Capitol Building.

But outside of these aforementioned nodes Downtown Jackson is a mixture of sterile and dead office blocks, parking lots, and blight and vacancy lacking a sense of place and urban cohesion. One particularly poor urban design decision was made at the intersection of Amite and Farish Street where a large mid century parking garage literally dumps two massive car ramps onto where sidewalks should be. Jackson is sadly the worse major American City Downtown I have evaluated to date from an urban perspective. But there is even still hope here. Downtown can continue to invest and urbanize the nodes I mentioned before, especially Capitol Street, where revitalization could spill northward towards the Capitol Building and State Street and eventually westward to Farish Street. There could conceivably be a quality tight Downtown core framed by State, Capitol, Farish and High Streets. But this would require significant amount of political will, intentionality, and investment.

Click here to view my Dwtn Jackson Album on Flickr


* Dwtn’s Street Connectivity is pretty decent with a good grid and few very wide 1-way streets. The Innerbelt is set pretty far to the east and south of Dwtn and didn’t result in major Dwtn urban renewal. The wide Court St blvd on Dwtn’s southern edge is pretty bad.
* Jackson was blessed with some quality historic architecture and it was quite extensive. While much of it has been demolished much remains especially along Capitol St and many Capitol bldgs.
* Good racial diversity Dwtn.
* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is a really mixed bag in Dwtn Jackson. Some great streetscaping along Capitol St, parts of Farish, and the core of Dwtn but the more distressed areas of Dwtn have terrible ADA/sidewalk infrastructure.
* Decent cultural amenities including some restaurants & bars, several night clubs and live music options, a couple art galleries, a good collections of museums, and plenty of historic sites. Regional amenities include two  convention centers and the Jackson Volcano site that includes the State fair grounds and an arena.
* Dwtn hosts a lot of government offices and courthouses along with the main public library.
* Dwtn Jackson has a safety ambassador’s program.
* Solid # of employees in Dwtn at 22K. This is decent given Jackson’s metro size just shy of 600K.
* Some good City Beautiful planning with both statehouses terminating at the end of Congress and Capitol  Streets but much of Dwtn’s originally cohesion has been lost.


* Low density even for a Dwtn area.
* Public transit access is quite bad throughout Jackson and mediocre at best in its pre-war II area. Dwtn has better public transit than other neighborhoods just about the worst Dwtn public transit access of any major US City.
* Modern in-fill is generally not very exciting. Either bland mid century towers with poor urban form or auto centric low rise buildings.
* Bike infrastructure doesn’t existing in Dwtn Jackson and practically doesn’t exist in the entire Jackson metro with the one exception of the Natchez Trace Pkwy rec trail running a couple miles north of the city.
* Overall Dwtn’s population is pretty poor but some economic diversity.
* Mostly a younger population Dwtn and few activities for kids.
* Dwtn Jackson isn’t particularly dangerous its just dead and often blighted in places.
* No schools within Dwtn Jackson but some well rated elementary schools in adjacent neighborhoods.
* Hsg is limited dwtn but affordable. 1-bed apts lease for 800K- the low 1Ks. and 2-beds in the 1Ks.
* For sale hsg is practically non-existent Dwtn.
* About 500 students attend college in Dwtn Jackson but Jackson State (10K enrollment) is 1 mile SW of Dwtn.
* Not a ton of verticality nor cohesion to the Jackson skyline but some attractive boutique skyscrapers augmented by the two capitol buildings.
* Very limited pedestrian activity dwtn.
* Only two sizable parks Dwtn: the Statehouse lawn and Smith Park, Jackson’s best Civic plazas. A handful of other plazas dwtn but not much.
* Retail is limited to a couple boutiques & banks, a florist, a couple gift shops & music/book store, a bakery, a gym, a small post office and several churches.

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