Sunday, December 26, 2010

Imagining Florida Essay Summary

Florida’s formative mythology grows out of the imaginations of the millions who have moved or lived here over the centuries.  The ideologies that grow out of these diverse imaginings have created an array of artifice as divergent as the dreams of millions.  Landscapes born of nostalgia, fantasy, utopia, or futurism abound throughout Florida, not just in the Magic Kingdom.
But as individuals project their dreams onto the shared canvas that is this State, they are confronted by millions of others doing the same thing.  Florida is ultimately left with the core challenges of community:  getting along with others, preserving one’s own interests, and finding a future that is better for everyone.  Unfortunately, when individuals imagine a life for themselves, community is usually left out of the picture.
So, how can Floridians create community while also facilitating their individual desires? Put another way, how does community form while navigating these conflicting ideologies?  And how does a built environment embody and foster this community of characters?  The problems are practical, and the search for the solution must be pragmatic.
What is a pragmatic approach to community for Florida: 
·      one that looks both to the lessons of history, and to the hopes of innovation, that other child of imagination;
·      one that solves practical problems while accommodating diverse ideas;
·      and one that connects people through the built environment?
Unlike the backward gaze of nostalgia, the forward gaze of futurism, the inward gaze of utopianism, or the outward gaze of fantasy, a living tradition finds practical solutions by looking in all these directions simultaneously; history, longevity, self-interest, and innovation.  Out of living traditions grow a host of environments and architectures displaying all the rich complexities of the human spirit.  Out of these places – and spaces – grows community, that dynamic that delivers our dreams, both individually and collectively.
Florida needs living traditions that shape its built environments in ways that foster community for a better tomorrow. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dan Solomon on Sprawl - which he calls the "Second-Era Town"

In his book Rebuilding, Daniel Solomon sketches out the dilemmas of sprawl, which he refers to as the ''second-era town,'' in his essay ''Two Eras.''
There are five major ways in which the second era town is different from the first era town – five ways in which the second era town is deficient
FIRST The second-era town wrecks the landscape, both natural and man-made. The blurred distinction between countryside and town only demeans both. In many parts of California there is no longer countryside or town.
SECOND The second-era town devours resources – gasoline, land, air, infrastructure.
THIRD As the second-era town becomes more and more congested and as universal mobility chokes itself, people's time is consumed in terrible ways.
FOURTH Because it is built in such large chunks, the second-era town discriminates against everyone who is not in a ''market sector.'' The big world of Planned Unit Developments does not make odd little corners for people who find them congenial. It is by nature homogenizing and intolerant.
FIFTH Perhaps worst of all, the sanitized anti-urban world of the second era is a place of diminished experience and diminished insight for its inhabitants. …To experience the immediacy of the particular, one must walk without locks or security guards. The predictable and edited human encounters of the shopping mall, the office park and the condo rec-room are to daily life what Club Med is to travel.
Source Rebuilding by Daniel Solomon (1992 Princeton Architectural Press).
(Daniel Solomon, FAIA, is an author and architect with WRT|Solomon E.T.C. based in San Francisco. He is a co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why I Do (and how and what)

Longleaf – Downtown Longleaf –

Businesses of Downtown Longleaf – Town Ground

Frank Starkey – May 13,2010


We are about connecting people:

We believe that people connected are better than people separated;

We believe that a society of connected people is better than a society of separated individuals;

We believe that people connect . . .

…in myriad ways – formal to informal, over meals, over around issues, conversations, discussions, arguments, rallies, protests, parties, festivals…

…for many different reasons – faith, fun, family, friendship, work, politics, sex, learning, personal growth, celebration…

…across a range of scales – one-on-one, small groups, large groups, crowds…

…in different kinds of places – porches, sidewalks, street corners, cafes, public squares, pubs and restaurants, shops, libraries, meeting halls, studios, offices, schools…

…for different amounts of time – from a few seconds to a life time.

We believe people connect best in physical places. Virtual places like the internet play an important role, but are no replacement for face-to-face connections.

We believe that people know how to connect and do so naturally when given the opportunity, and the places in which to do it. People do not need to be told how to connect, but they do need places to do it, places that foster connecting in all these different dimensions.


We create places for people to connect.

Places of different size, shape, character, location, access, ownership, duration.

Quiet places, bustling places, natural settings, man-made spaces, small places, large places, intimate places, wide-open places, single-purpose places, multi-purpose places, convenient places, and far-off places.

We make sure each place we create fosters connection: its physical design, its environmental qualities, how it is accessed, and its legal status, maintenance, and governance.


Streets, plazas, squares, greens:

Playgrounds, ball courts, playing fields:

Pavilions, meeting halls, gazebos:

Benches and small seating groupings:

Events and activities:

Businesses and civic institutions: