Seaside, located on the panhandle of Florida’s Emerald Coast, is frequently referred to as the first authentic new town to be built in the United States in fifty years and, as the first ”New Urbanism” development in the country. It was conceived in 1981 by Robert and Daryl Davis. They selected Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, (co-founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism), of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ, www.dpz.com) to design Seaside from scratch as a small town that embodied the principles of the new urbanism movement. The ideas promote walkable and human-scaled neighborhoods and towns. Using models from Savannah, Charleston, S.C. and vernacular Florida cottages, they developed simple rules for how the town should develop, focusing on narrow streets, native plant materials, open porches, wood siding, pitched roofs, and no large picture windows. This allowed individual owners to create their own vision of Seaside with considerable flexibility and variety while still being part of a unified larger community.
Seaside is a continually evolving town of year-round residents and summer vacationers with a central town square with grass amphitheater and a variety of restaurants, shops, offices, condos and residences, all in a compact 80 acres.
Seaside includes buildings by notable architects such as Steven Badanes, Deborah Berke, Walter Chatham, David Coleman, Michael McDonough, Alex Gorlin, Steven Holl, Leon Krier, Machado and Silvetti, Sam Mockbee, David Mohney, Robert Orr, Aldo Rossi, Daniel Solomon, Robert A.M. Stern, and Melanie Taylor.
Seaside has been featured in over 800 articles and books and was described by Time Magazine in 1989 as one of the 10 “Best of the Decade” achievements in the field of design.
This year, Frommer Travel recognized the Florida Panhandle beaches, including Seaside, as a “top 10 destination” for 2010 and it is the only continental U.S. destination included in the list. Travel & Leisure magazine named Seaside in its 100 Greatest Trips issue in 2009 and one of their Five Favorite Summer towns in 2005