January 31st, 2011

#SeasideAt30 Inspired Me

This weekend a of group people passionate about New Urbanism convened upon Seaside, FL to discuss the future of New Urbanism. In addition, it was a time to reflect on 30 years of Seaside. Many of the New Urbanism founders were in attendance: Robert Davis, Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Peter Katz, and several others.

I was not able to attend the event, but I did have the opportunity to visit Seaside in 2005. On our visit we stayed in a house with two other couples, and it was an amazing place. We were actually there with a larger group, and together we explored every square foot of town. We only ventured to the shoreline once because the town is truly captivating.

Thanks to the forward-thinking and social media savvy mind of Steve Mouzon, I was able to experience the Seaside at 30 event as he did a tweetcast for the rest of us. What’s a tweetcast? Steve and several others would tweet comments from the event throughout the day with a Twitter hashtag – #SeasideAt30. As a result, you can easily search over on Twitter using the #SeasideAt30 hashtag to view everyone’s tweets on the topic.

The tweetcast really got me thinking about my visit to Seaside and how it inspired me to continue promoting New Urbanism as much as I can. There were so many good tweets from the day that I created a “Top 5″ list of my favorite. So here’s my top five tweets from the #SeasideAt30 tweetcast.

Tie: 1. Robert Davis sold his first Seaside lot to buy food -Andrés Duany,#SeasideAt30

Reason: That’s how all this NU stuff started? Feels very practical to me.

Tie: 1. Architects have largely divorced themselves from practice and craft -Hank Dittmar #SeasideAt30

Reason: The massive lack of vision and courage among most architects is an epidemic and the reason they are becoming less relevant to our society.

2. Never discuss of a name change again. New York has never considered changing it’s name. -Lizz Plater-Zyberk #SeasideAt30

Reason: Well said, and a later tweet talked about “new” being accepting of change.

3. Brick streets in seaside because you could buy 200 feet of bricks. The asphalt guys don’t get out of bed for that. -Duany #seasideat30

Reason: Humor and true.

4. now I realize that while Celebration is a better place to walk your dog, it hasn’t changed the region at all -Peter Katz, #SeasideAt30

Reason: I respectfully disagree big time with Peter Katz on this one, but it’s probably a strong enough statement to make people think about regional impact. I feel that without Celebration we wouldn’t have Baldwin Park in Orlando. In addition, Baldwin Park and Celebration are part of the region’s DNA and the metro area government talks about it and references New Urbanism as a result. Celebration and Baldwin Park are impacting the region, just not as fast or with the results we would like.

5. My wife spent years in medical school, she has years of medical training. She is our kids over educated chauffeur. #seasideat30 ~Rick Geller

Reason: A very accurate picture of life in suburbia. It’s a shame. As a country we have so much knowledge, but our built environment is holding us back. In addition, Rick Geller is a fine addition to the NU cause.

Author: Tory Parish

  • http://twitter.com/terrykearns Terry E. Kearns

    Duany must be the most quotable person there is.
    I don’t understand this about the wife: Is she resentful for being with her kids while she can? Or resentful for wasting so much on med school? Or do MD’s at Seaside and Celebration have lots of free time? The NU architects get a bit of the vapors when too many of them get together LOL.

  • http://twitter.com/adamparish Adam Parish

    Regarding the wife comment… Because we depend so much on roads and our lives are so spread out (i.e. we can’t walk anywhere). We spend too much time driving here and there. If we lived within walkable communities we would have more time with our kids and more time to practice our trades.

    Yes. Andres Duany is quoted all over the place. I think he would make a good Achitect General or Secretary of the Interior. He started all of this New Urban stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for including my quote in that list.

    Terry–Gabriela and I love our four children dearly and cherish spending time with them. Perhaps this is subjective, but I would suggest we have a higher quality of interaction with our children when we are walking with them, or engaged in an activity with them. When we drive them from activity to activity (which is quite time consuming), with eyes on road, hands on the steering wheel, alert for danger from other motorists, we are not truly giving our children the undivided attention they deserve.

    Rick Geller

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for including me in your list.

    Terry–Gabriela and I love our four children dearly and cherish spending time with them. Perhaps this is subjective, but I would suggest we have a higher quality of interaction with them when we’re walking with them or engaged in an activity with them. When we’re driving them from activity to activity, with eyes on the road, hands on the steering wheel, alert to danger from other motorists, we are not truly giving our children the undivided attention they deserve.

    Rick Geller

  • http://twitter.com/terrykearns Terry E. Kearns

    I know Rick, trade offs everywhere. My kids’ & their buds are getting over-educated right now, heading towards family trade offs they aren’t expecting. they know they want a NU life they know they’d like is a huge luxury available to so few.