To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of New Urbanism or Seaside until I moved to Florida in 2008. The sunshine state is gaga for New Urbanism, and while any planning discussion walks a tightrope of divisiveness DPZ’s landmark resort was nearly universally praised by those I spoke with. Sure, its utopian urban design made it an easy visual joke as the shooting location of The Truman Show. And, no, it was never intended to be anything more than a wealthy resort town. But I kept hearing how wonderful the experience of actually being there was, and after two years of this finally got to spend a few hours last week exploring it myself.
It should be mentioned that Seaside is not an island unto itself anymore. Another new “town” called Watercolor has sprung up alongside it, effectively doubling or tripling the built environment. For the purposes of this post I don’t distinguish between them.
My three hours or so in Seaside/Watercolor was spent riding around on my beach cruiser, taking photos, and eating lunch. I will probably put together a follow up to this post, so for the moment I’ll focus on what I found to be Seaside’s most impressive and inspiring achievement—its myriad rights-of-way built for people, not cars. An even more impressive achievement considering the local population of only several thousand. The photos below are all of different roads or pathways. Enjoy.