September 11- 14, GlobalJax will be working with partners in Jacksonville on a project to build bridges between Northeast Florida and Lithuania. We are excited to welcome Lithuanian mayors and municipal government administrators to Jacksonville for this international development project aimed to improve transparency in government processes and stimulate economic growth at the local level.
Lithuania was once one of the fastest growing economies in the Baltics. Today it suffers from many of the same issues that plague North Florida: urban sprawl; spontaneous, uncoordinated urban development initiatives; and a history of poor spatial planning. This presents serious challenges to addressing new economic development and expansion of the country's economy, which has experienced economic growth less than 2% so far in 2019. These conditions lead to inefficient usages of public infrastructure. Fragmented development in the recent real estate bubble compounded the complexity of the issue.
However, Lithuania is dedicated to building a prosperous future with attractive urban centers on the cutting edge. Like North Florida, Lithuania is attracting top companies to the area by marketing the country as a gateway to the 500 million consumers that make up the European market place, while siting cheaper operating and labor costs as key advantages over its competitors. This project will highlight strategies to increase density in urban centers, examine how to identify and pursue sustainable economic drivers, and analyze how increasing transparency in government leads to increased trust in government and business in the region.