Category Archives: Sarasota

A Question of Nomenclature: What is a Neighborhood?

What, exactly, is a neighborhood? People on all sides of the urban conversation talk about neighborhoods, trotting them out to support everything from transit oriented development to the suburban status quo, from Smart Growth to no growth. Formal definitions vary, but few include criteria beyond a set of distinctive characteristics shared by a contiguous geographic area inhabited by people who behave neighborly. Which, despite its vagueness, sounds sensible enough. Imprecise, but sensible. And yet, when I think about the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, or spent time in, few of them fit even this ambiguous definition.
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Posted in Culture, History, Josh Grigsby, Nomenclature, Personal Experiences, Sarasota, urban design, urban planning, vernacular architecture, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview: Traditional Home Builder Devin P. Rutkowski

The retention of vernacular architectural practices maintains a place’s connection to its past. It also informs the direction it charts into the future. I’m currently living in a small town in Florida—Sarasota—that has had its share of troubles during a growth process that has seen disparate vernacular styles such as Florida Cracker and the Sarasota School emerge, prosper, decline, and slowly reemerge. A new crop of craftsmen/builders are reviving traditional design, including Devin P. Rutkowski, founder and president of Bungalow Builders, LLC.
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Posted in architecture, Culture, History, Interview, Josh Grigsby, Local Inspiration, Placemaking, Sarasota, urban design, urban planning, vernacular architecture, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Site Analysis: Hawkins Court, Sarasota, Florida

Hawkins Court calls to mind Dutch woonerven, which allow autos to travel at foot speed through pedestrian space, as well as the (also Dutch) principle of “shared space,” in which all road users are given equal status and lines, signs, and signals are removed, is more applicable. Despite being only three blocks from Main Street, Hawkins Court manages to conjure something of the idyllic neighborhood vibe associated with the early days of suburbia and Small Town, USA.
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Posted in Culture, human scale, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Local Inspiration, Neighbors, Placemaking, Sarasota, Site Analysis, Uncategorized, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food for Thought: Vincent Dessberg

“If it’s a flat roof it should have farming. If it’s a slanted roof it should have solar panels.”
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Small Town Urban Rooftop Farming; This is Not an Oxymoron

While big cities such and New York and Montreal embraced rooftop agriculture a few years ago, Dessberg is setting this green trend in Sarasota on a commercial scale. Pipes transport water and fertilizer above a dizzying maze of green. Clusters of ripening strawberries and fat green tomatoes dangle from hearty vines. Heads of lettuce and leaves of broccoli and arugula burst from a soil of coconut husk and perlite. Continue reading

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