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Tag Archives: Florida
I’ve heard Seaside, Florida, lauded as the first great project of the New Urbanism. I’ve also heard it ridiculed as new-faux urbanism. So what’s the truth, at least as I see it? Well, during the scant few hours I recently spent there I saw a lot to like. Dozens of wonderful pathways for bikes and pedestrians that connect everywhere to everywhere, many of which feel like something to discover instead of simply travel. Residential roads eschewing sidewalks in favor of shared space. Relatively tall buildings on relatively narrow lots. Architecture with integrity. Loads of trees and shady places (critical given the town’s latitude). Seaside feels like it was designed by people who care.
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.
Yep, I’m back.
First off, thank you to the thousands of readers who continued to visit the Planologie Blog despite nary a new post in over a month. I expected my modest readership to dry up completely, and am quite pleased to be proven wrong.
Secondly, I’m changing things up a bit. Sea changes in my life have sent me on a bit of a walkabout, with my next couple of years to be spent studying Urban Studies in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Madrid, among other European locales. First, though, I’m in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Boston for a month apiece. I’m going to spend less time researching articles to repost, more time exploring, observing, and documenting my travels. Posts will no longer be daily; two or three per week is my new target, and it might take a bit before I’m back to even that. The viewpoint will remain, of course, focused on urban planning-related issues.
Again, thank you everyone for sticking with me. Hopefully the best is yet to come.
Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them. Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide – by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone – depend on them for their food and their livelihoods. If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue. Continue reading
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.