And finally on Seaside (I promise), the community brings to mind the issues of compatibility that we confront in our regulatory reviews and in creating community design guidelines.
Seaside began as a plan, intended to be executed through private lot owners conforming to build-to lines and heights. Picket fences would ensure some streetfront compatibility no matter what filled the allowed building envelope.
But the power of Seaside’s image (beach town nostalgia) proved so strong that most owners/builders/designers defaulted to a Victorian bungalow hybrid style for a charming but less than varied result.
People talk about mixed use and varied communities but how much variety are they willing to tolerate before community comfort mode kicks in? And it’s unlikely that a builder will buck the market once that Victorian hybrid starts selling.
When we develop design guidelines, which are only guidelines–suggestions for a way to look at and contribute to a place–we need to identify the particulars of that place: aconvergence of roads and the view from that intersection, atopography that connects or creates a barrier, houses on edges that want to be connected but protected.
Identify conditions, determine a desired outcome (someone in that edge house can walk to the shops but doesn’t have to see the parked cars from their backyard), and demonstrate a few of the infinite ways the outcome can be reached.
Fitting in is easy. What’s hard is looking at a place and applying our own knowledge and experience in a way that allows others to apply their knowledge and experience.