West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority Launches Public Life Database
May 17th, 2023
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (May 17, 2023) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has announced the launch of the Public Life Data Dashboard, tracking where, when and how people spend their time in Downtown West Palm Beach. The dashboard, which is available to the public, was created in partnership with Gehl, the renowned urban strategy and design firm. This marks the first time that a downtown district has created a dashboard available to the public containing Gehl’s Public Life methodology data.
This data was collected by DDA staff and volunteers and helps the DDA make informed decisions about how to invest in public realm improvements, programming and events that make Downtown West Palm Beach an even more exciting place to live, work, shop, and dine. It also gives the DDA the ability to tell a story of why the organization does what they do in the public realm.
Data and surveying over the years have shown the DDA that people desire to utilize the Waterfront more. Before COVID, the Great Lawn and Waterfront did not see an uptick of usage during the week. In 2020, its usage increased to an average of 80 people/hour in pedestrian counts and up to an average of 135 people/hour in 2022. By analyzing how people use the space to continue the positive trends; the DDA can identify how planting trees or providing temporary shade from the sun would make the site even more attractive to activities.
“Building a more vibrant Downtown West Palm Beach is a team effort involving urban planners, developers, business owners, advocates, plus residents and visitors,” said Sherryl Muriente, public realm director for the DDA. “This publicly available dashboard will help us identify investment opportunities related to mobility, public realm projects, and business improvements.”
To collect the data, community researchers observed particular locations along streets, parks, and other open spaces in Downtown West Palm Beach. Because public life and foot traffic varies over the course of a day, on weekends, and during different seasons, the DDA collected data once a month throughout the year, from morning until evening, on one weekday and one weekend day. The Public Life Data Dashboard currently includes data collected from February 2022 to December 2022. All data collected respects the privacy of all observed individuals; as data collection is strictly counts and not recording devices. Data collection in 2023 will be conducted quarterly.
About the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.