The City Beautiful Gets Creative
With only 30 days left until the end of the decade, I can’t help but reflect on the development of our beloved city. Orlando has made so many developmental strides in the realm of community, education, entertainment, and hospitality. Some of those projects make the front page: Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center, Volcano Bay and new Universal Hotels, and the Star Wars attraction Galaxy’s Edge, to name a few. But, right around the corner of the heart of our city, a new district is beginning to bloom. A 68-acre plot of land between Livingston and Concord road has been dubbed the new innovation hub for Orlando known as Creative Village.
For the longest time, Orlando was scrutinized for lack of an artistic culture. Hashtags like #OrlandoDoesntSuck became somewhat of a running joke in the plight to insist our city is progressive about the arts. Mayor Dyer has intimated that he doesn’t want Creative Village to just be another plot of land with nice apartment buildings and fun restaurants. He wants creative business culture nurtured here.
In August of this year, I was hired to record sessions at Serious Play, a gaming conference that illuminates developments in games for military, educational, and healthcare contexts. This was my first time setting foot in the Creative Village. The conference was held in part at the Florida Interactive Training Academy (FEIA) on the new UCF-Valencia joint campus which specializes in digital media (FEIA is a graduate game design program), robotics, and communications.
The Serious Play conference was a beautiful prelude to what Creative Village is gearing to accomplish.
Developers, academics, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss how games will shape the future, and the responsibility that comes with influencing individuals and culture on that level. I felt blessed to have a front-row seat to conversations that will change the world.
Creative Village is a vision birthed with a goal of educating, housing, and employing creatives in all disciplines within our community. Spearheading this movement is Bank Of America and Ustler Development Inc., partnering with the City of Orlando and Mayor Buddy Dyer.
This map reveals the blend of businesses and institutions emerging in the district:
As a native-born Orlandonian, my local pride has never been stronger. More than that, I’ve never been more hopeful for the future, as our City Beautiful become even more radiant. As Orlando continues to push towards innovation and development of its citizens and infrastructures, soon the whispers surrounding the #OrlandoDoesntSuck hashtag will be a thing of the past. Creative Village will be the spark of many more artistic, architectural, purpose-driven development planning I’m sure we will see in the future.