Conformity and Compatibility in Communities

Posted: by

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 … Continue reading

Duany is in the Details

Posted: by

Part of what makes Seaside and its ilk so successful is their attention to detail. And by detail I don’t mean what one observant designer called “frosting”– banners, lamposts, and fountains.

A more structural approach to designing a space or place begins with elements that are obvious in plan view–terminated views, street grids, and a central square. That initial street grid is punctuated by a square, then further embroidered with paths and smaller spaces.

But even those public spaces and paths are treated with varying levels of complexity. The formal public lawn is neatly mown and edged, but other spaces are more casual.

The path in front of your house is paved and raked, the one behind a barefoot … Continue reading

It’s a Seaside World, We Just Live in It

Posted: by

This year, Seaside is 30 years old and whatever you think of Andres Duany and the Congress for New Urbanism, any observer of urbanism must admit that Seaside has changed the vocabulary.

The pattern of main street, grid streets, mixed facades, and public space is part of every Federal Realty project and appears on our own Ellsworth Street.

Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Seaside neighbors Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, and the Watercolor resort have picked up the vocabulary and created a sense of place, community, and style along the coast road, 30A.

Duany etal have identified a fundamental human pleasure in strolling a certain type of built space, and have, most importantly, made that space marketable. From Seaside to Kentlands, … Continue reading