The Windshield Survey takes place in Jacksonville, Florida. The city is by far the largest in the entire United States by land mass. The region’s population growth rate has been on the rise over the decades, with nearly a million residents living within the metro city or its immediate peripheries. A drive through the region offers critical insights on the dynamism of the community as discussed below.
Boundaries, Geographical, Political, or Economic, and Perception
Jacksonville, Florida, is a dynamic region in relation of the economic activities and political liberalism. The region borders Atlantic Beach, Florida to the west, Baldwin, Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace, Fleming Island, Fruit Cove, Jacksonville Beach, Palm Valley, Orange park, Oakleaf Plantation, Nassau Village-Ratliff, Nocatee, and Neptune Beach within the larger Florida environ (Data USA, 2018). The region operates under a Mayoral type of governance. The selected region has a strong Mayor-council type of governance operating under the Jacksonville City Council. The current head is Mayor Lenny Curry. From an economic standpoint, Jacksonville is dynamic with major activities involving bans and other financial institutions, media and technology, logistics, and military and defense activities. Other areas of economic specialization include waste management services, warehousing, and administrative support system, notwithstanding healthcare and social assistance services (Data USA, 2018). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role while culture-related activities such as entertainment, leisure, museum, galleries, sports, literature, film, and music activities making significant contributions to the region’s economy.
Housing and Zoning
A quick pass-through the region indicates that a significant portion of the region is urbanized. In Jacksonville, houses cost significantly lower than the national average, which may partly explain the surge in the number of people migrating to the region. Equally, median household income is on the rise on a year over year basis. However, slight gender imbalance in income levels implies that men own most of the houses.
Sign of Decay
Rural and remote regions are exhibiting some signs of infrastructural decay. It seems that rapid population growth is overwhelming the local government. The survey seems to allude to a relatively higher number of African Americans living in poverty in Jacksonville as compared to persons from other races.
Types of Services Available
A wide range of medical services are available that includes acute-care hospitalization, medical laboratory services, primary care, prescription drug services, and transportation to mention but a few.
Pharmaceutical services are available both at the hospital level and throughout the entire Jacksonville area. The rationale in establishing and licensing many pharmacies is to promote health, by making medication accessible to people with relative ease. Nonetheless, all pharmacies operate under strict guidelines in dispensing drugs. However, Jacksonville seems reluctant in addressing mental health needs with most hospitals focusing their attention on other medical needs. Actually, none of the respondents alluded to the presence of a mental health institution in the region.
School and Occupational Health Services
Jacksonville, Florida has a plethora of schools and occupational health services. The main institutions are the Concentra Urgent Care, Memorial Occupational Medicine, Amelia Urgent are and Occupational Medicine, and Great Strides Rehabilitation. Some of these centers have multiple locations that they operate from, which improve accessibility.
Official and Voluntary Services
Feedback from respondents alludes to a higher concentration of free health clinics for outpatient services. In particular, these free clinics are operated in regions with a high concentration of low-income earners. Most of the people here are uninsured or students with little or no income at all. Hence, these non-profit free health clinics are organized through public-private partnerships.
Self Help and Support Groups
Jacksonville offers a profoundly rich environment for the establishment of self-help groups and other support group. Respondents highlighted therapy groups, self-esteem support groups, Duval county support groups, and depression support groups among many others.
Service Organizations, Faith-Based Programs
Jacksonville has no shortage in the number of service organization and faith-based establishments. Mainly, the area has a wide variety of social clubs, charitable organizations, labor organizations, religious organizations, and social welfare factions that operate as non-profit entities.
It would appear that stores dominate the Jacksonville region. Some estimate that nearly 40 percent of the establishments are some form of stores that include malls, grocery stores, drug outlets, and retail service outlets. However, there appeared to be fewer public dry cleaning services from the response given.
Jacksonville has a combination of public and private transport services. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority operates fixed route bus services. Correspondingly, ferry services, metro train systems, taxi services, and personal cars are the main modes of transport.
Citizen Safety and Protective Services
Police and Fire
The police and fire department in Jacksonville is decentralized to ease service delivery and a faster response to an incident. The police service dispatches unit to patrol through different neighborhoods to maintain law and order. However, a police shooting sometime last year showed the risk that these service men and women endure in their line of duty in the region.
Shelters for Victims of Abuse
Victims of abuse receive shelter at different facilities that include the Domestic violence help, Hubbard house, and Jacksonville FL Women’s Shelter among many others that are scattered throughout the region.
Others – Neighborhood Watch
Jacksonville has a Sheriff’s watch, crime prevention program, and the neighborhood watch that facilitates better policing and police-citizen liaison in crime prevention.
Services for Senior Citizens
Services in Senior Citizen Centers
The senior citizen centers offer nutritious meals, counseling services, health education, health support programs, and referral services where possible. Others extend their services to include the provision of necessary information and resources, community outreach, and shopping assistance. Some centers offer computer classes for senior citizens, homemaking services, transportation, private rentals, advisory councils, and volunteer opportunities.
Parks and Recreational Areas
Senior citizens are encouraged to attend and participate in planned leisure activities. Some of those activities may include cultural events, music concerts, classes in ceramics, crafts, Mah-Jongg and bingo games, not to mention musicals among other events.
Community Welfare Services Beyond City
Jacksonville government and the local community make regular donation. Feedback from respondents alludes to a strong public and private partnership that avails the requisite resources such as emergency shelters, clothing, and food. Donations are collected by humanitarian organizations that distribute them on a need basis. Mostly, these welfare services come into play during emergency situations where severe storms and hurricanes batter the region.
Evidence from the survey shows Jacksonville as a vibrant region. Primarily, this Mayoral council led region is dynamic in the economic activities that support both large organizations and SMEs. Resultantly, the region experiences a balance and close collaboration through various public-private partnerships aimed at community edification.
Nevertheless, the region’s failure to have an established mental health facility and service provision is detrimental to such patients. Although there are depression support groups, their scope of abilities may be limited by financial constraints. The government needs to make efforts to introduce these sectors in government and private hospitals as a means of addressing the problem and adhering to constitutional provisions regarding non-discrimination.
Jacksonville, Florida is the largest city in the United States by land mass and population, yet its housing prices are much lower than the nation’s average. The region’s status is astute with a combination of both public and private facilities offering a wide range of medical services. The health distribution mechanism is aimed at decentralizing services, thereby making them accessible to local communities. Equally, the police and fire departments are decentralized to create a faster response to incidences. Besides, senior citizens’ services are robust, as do the services offered to persons from low-income brackets in the region.
- City of Jacksonville [COJ]. (2018). Senior services. Retrieved from http://www.coj.net/departments/parks-and-recreation/senior-services/community-and-senior-center-services
- Data USA. (2018). Jacksonville, Fl. Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/geo/jacksonville-fl/