Today, one will struggle to find more than a business or two open at night or on weekends on a single block in downtown Jacksonville. Despite what some may think, it doesn’t take massive development projects or a generation to bring an urban street back to life, when a community invests in Three C’s.

The Three C’s are a simple principle that urban revitalization relies on the clustering of complementing uses in a compact setting. While many Jacksonville neighborhoods have embraced the concept, Downtown still struggles with it. While Jacksonville struggles with embracing the concept for streets like Bay, Broad, Forsyth and Adams, many cities across the state have found great success.

This includes DeLand, Volusia County’s fastest growing city. Founded in 1876 by Henry Addison DeLand, the original vision of DeLand was for the city becoming the “Athens of Florida.” Home to 37,000 residents, DeLand is located along Interstate 4, 34 miles northeast of downtown Orlando. Added to National Register of Historic Places on December 23, 1987, the Downtown DeLand Historic District is an example of applying the principle of the Three C’s is a downtown setting with a low residential population and density. Much of DeLand’s success is linked to the establishment of Main Street DeLand. In fact, DeLand was the first community to receive the Main Street designation in 1985.

Despite having a low 2020 residential population (2,178 residents) and density (2,922.3 residents per square mile in Census Tract 905), Downtown DeLand is home to bustling retail and dining scene along its primary thoroughfare, Woodland Boulevard (U.S. 17/92). Here is a virtual tour of a roughly eight block stretch of Woodland Boulevard, which is characterized by contiguous frontage of active retail storefronts, restaurants, bars and boutiques at street level.