Seaside is the heart of Scenic Highway 30-A. Seaside is often cited as an example of successful implementation of New Urbanism. Time magazine called it “the most astounding design achievement of its era and, one might hope, the most influential.” It has been used as a model for other new urbanist developments in the United States and abroad. However, some have criticized Seaside as being overly rigid, as the community’s architectural standards provide strict limitations on the external aesthetics of the houses, resulting in conformity of style rather than creativity – which some people call a manufactured fantasy. Others have criticized the community for its lack of socioeconomic diversity, which they see as ironic given that the community was itself modeled on the diverse and urban neighborhoods of large North American cities such as New York City and San Francisco.
However, Seaside (and New Urbanism more generally) has had a significant impact on urban planning in many cities. New Urbanist developments continue to proliferate across North America, and many planners and urban designers are beginning to understand the importance of mixed-use and higher density communities.
Many scenes of the 1998 film The Truman Show were shot at Seaside. The movie’s director Peter Weir was planning on building a movie set town for the movie when his wife, Wendy, happened to see Seaside featured in an architect’s magazine and thought it would be perfect for the film. The former superintendent of Okaloosa Schools, and now a member of the Florida Senate, state Senator Don Gaetz, was one of the original property owners of Seaside, and his personal cottage was utilized as the Burbanks’ house in the film.
Seaside includes buildings by architects such as Leon Krier, Robert A.M. Stern, Steven Holl, Machado & Silvetti, Deborah Berke, Walter Chatham, Daniel Solomon, Alex Gorlin, Aldo Rossi, Michael McDonough, Sam Mockbee, David Mohney, Steven Badanes, and David Coleman.
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