OPINION

Celebrate Good Times: Come On!

Interesting assessment on Slate today (here) of the Disney-developed planned community Celebration. It's from their architecture critic, the always-readable Witold Rybczynski, who likes the town more than a cynic might expect (though he does go for the inevitable Main-Street-at-Disneyland lead). His main complaint: it's too damn popular:

Like all American real-estate ventures since colonial days, it's a mixture of vision, business, and blarney. The design and planning are an order of magnitude better than what is usual in planned communities. If there is a trickle-down effectâ€"and the financial success of Celebration has not gone unnoticed by commercial homebuildersâ€"Celebration may push developers in the direction of denser, more varied, and better designed suburban communities, which will be a good thing. But Celebration is hardly the model for the future that Disney intended. A four-bedroom house on a small lotâ€"like the relatively modest Craftsman-style Bungalow pictured here, hardly a McMansionâ€"now sells for $450,000. This is more than three times the average selling price of houses in metropolitan areas nationwide, which is currently $140,000, making Celebration the residential equivalent of a Lexus. The truth is that despite its best efforts, the populist Disney Co. has produced an elitist product.

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