Reflections on Seaside

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What stays with me more than anything is the feeling that you could never build Seaside today. That our rules, our professions of engineering, planning, architecture, our public utility requirements, our building codes, our financial industry, our local boards and commissions, etc., would mandate a higher-cost, less incremental, more packaged, less playful, more “finished state” town-building model today.

Walkable, humane urbanism is in such short supply that it becomes very expensive whenever it is created (from scratch as at Seaside, or through the retrofitting of existing neighborhoods, aka ”gentrification”). To build more good urbanism, we need not only good architecture, better zoning and building codes, reform of utilities and engineering requirements, and an emphasis on walkable streets—we need to recover the business-model of development that built the places we most love. I can’t help but think we’d have better cities and towns with a lot more small movers, closer to the ground; more common sense and iteration than mathematical models and code books. 

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