Does Seaside Deserve a Rethink?

Often forgotten amid the Truman Show jokes and architectural disdain are the iconic New Urbanist community's contributions to planning history, and its many innovations. Two new works are helping to reframe how the Florida town is understood.
August 15, 2013, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Daniel Spiess

"It’s easy to mock Seaside, and plenty do, for being overplanned, a neo-traditional artifice too consumed with nostalgia for an idyllic past that never quite existed as reconceived," writes Kaid Benfield. 

"But the story is so much more good than bad.  One has to remember, as the video below reminds us, that the compact, 80-acre town was conceived over 30 years ago, when almost no one was building walkable communities.  If it wasn’t sprawl, it didn’t sell, or so people thought.  Seaside may have been built on decades-old premises, but it was downright radical for its day."

A new book by Dhiru Thadani, Visions of Seaside, "tells the complete story of Seaside's conception and evolution." And the short documentary below, produced by Chris Elisara for the American Makeover series, explores several of the innovate ideas that form the foundation of the plan, and situates the pioneering development within the context of planning history.

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Published on Thursday, August 15, 2013 in NRDC Switchboard
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