Monday, August 19, 2013

Reconsidering Seaside, Florida

Kaid Benfield reflects on Seaside:

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.  Being featured in the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show certainly didn’t help.  Neither does its function as a resort community of second homes for an upscale clientele.  Some of that is fair, in my opinion. [..]

There were plenty of other innovations, too, and they are newly chronicled in two new works:  First, Dhiru Thadani’s beautifully written and illustrated new book, Visions of Seaside, tells the complete story of Seaside's conception and evolution.  It’s not a small volume at 600 pages, but Visions is as seriously impressive as its subject.  Lovers of architecture and town planning will be fascinated, as much by the book's depiction of proposals for the town that, for one reason or another, did not get built as by the descriptions of what did.

Second, the engaging video about Seaside below, produced by Chris Elisara for the American Makeover series, provides as good a short, hands-on lesson about innovative city planning as you are likely to find anywhere.  Highly recommended:

Steve Clowney

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