Thread: Got a grand? Visit Seaside!
Got a grand? Visit Seaside!
Seaside architecture shows the world how to do it right
By Deborah Wheeler
Developers, architects and town planners from around the world converged on the town of Seaside last week to learn from the master how to do it right in building a town.
Launched in the early 1980s, Seaside is considered the model of a walkable New Urbanist community.
Town founder Robert Davis is proud that people look to his town as a model. It doesn’t matter if it’s not a perfect model, he said, it doesn’t need to be.
“Anyone with $1,000 can spend a week here and experience it firsthand and not just look at it from a distance,” said Davis.
Davis leads the seminar on Developing New Urban Communities each December in Seaside to acquaint town planners, architects and developers with the concept of livable, walkable communities where cars aren’t needed and residents get to know and interact with their neighbors.
When Davis built Seaside, much information was textbook theory and the rest, he determined by riding around the South, looking at small towns and what specifics made them a neighborhood.
The specifics he gathered included:
• they were small enough to be walkable,
• business districts were in the center of town and no more than five minutes away,
• business owners lived above their shops,
• homes fanned out from the business district,
• homes were built close to the street, with front porches and picket fences making it easy to exchange greetings with passersby.
Those attributes negated the need for automobiles. Instead, people walked or rode bikes to the grocery or to see the doctor, who was also a member of the community.
With this idyllic vision, Seaside began on 80 acres. The first houses were small and unpretentious – “old Florida.” Davis sold the first lots for $15,000.
When asked about regrets, the “affordable” price of those first lots is what the founder mentions.
“There’s not much I would do differently,” said Davis. “Having affordable housing is tough in a resort community. I would sell the lots so that I would get a percentage of the resale profit.”
The only other things that come to mind for Davis are that he would build more “honeymoon cottages” and place no TVs in any of the rental cottages.
“I always liked the honeymoon cottages,” he said.
Davis said the key to having so few regrets is making small-scale adjustments as he went along.
“We built it one building at a time where most go in and build a whole town at once. And I credit tenants like Charlie and Sarah Modica (owners of Modica Market) and surfer guys like David Rauschkolb (owner of Bud ‘n Alley’s) who could envision reinventing themselves here. They are active members of the community and not just tenants,” said Davis. “Seaside is a model people can look to as lessons learned even if not a perfect model.”
As Seaside celebrates its 25th birthday as the first New Urbanist model, the concept has spread throughout 40 states, the District of Columbia and 12 foreign countries. Florida has the most TND communities (traditional neighborhood), with 42. Walton County has the distinction of being home to six of those: Alys Beach, Owls Head, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, WaterColor and Seaside.
As well as remaining involved in the buildout of Seaside, Davis is board chair for the Congress for New Urbanism based in California and is president of Arcadia Land Company.
12-17-2006, 09:41 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Re: Got a grand? Visit Seaside!
i'm a little confused. where is this seaside where i can stay at for $1000./wk, Uzbekistan? maybe the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea"]Salton Sea[/ame]?
also, where are the cars to be parked so the masses can get on their bikes and ride?
Last edited by John R; 12-17-2006 at 09:45 AM.click >> Filter your water instead of using bottled water << click
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