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.