With a recent murder, a shootout-turned-suicide, and a high rate of foreclosure, the reality of Celebration, Florida, is less ideal than appearances would suggest.
Next American City's Will Staley ruminates on the city and its ironies.
"Despite its imagineered charm, Celebration has had its first taste of things that are not supposed to happen in TV-land, things that, for various reasons, we believe are only supposed to happen in the city: murder, foreclosure, vandalism. If we consider the entire suburban project-and the federal government's subsidy thereof-to be created in opposition to the disorder, chaos, poverty, and crime that characterized city life in the latter half of the 20th century, then Celebration is the ultimate, most grotesque manifestation of the reality-denying aspects of this project, even if it embraces Smart Growth and TND.
I believe it was James Howard Kunstler who pointed out how truly ironic it is that Disneyland has the only Main Street you can visit in Orange County. People will pay large sums of money and wait in obscenely long lines just to experience this sort of charming "public" space, but in their day-to-day lives they have voted against having such a space for commerce, except for in certain shopping malls that simulate the same. Disney, like it or not, creates pleasant urban spaces for those who are not overcome with despair at the idea of a Disney-designed town. "
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This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.