Seaside: The birthplace of New Urbanism (Photos)

Seaside
Deborah Wheeler/The Sun
Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 11:08 AM.

Robert Davis grew up coming to the Redneck Riviera of County Road 30A in South Walton from his home in Birmingham .

Davis 's grandfather bought 80 acres of land on 30A in 1946 for $8,000 with the intention of using the property as a summer camp for his employees. Davis was 3-years old at the time.

In the late 1970s Davis inherited the land and while he could have just begun building beach cottages to sell, Davis set out to build a town. He didn't want it to be just any beach town with trinket shops, however, he wanted a real town and modeled it after the traditional small towns he remembered from his childhood where everyone walked to the neighborhood market, book store, and pub. A place where families knew their neighbors and interacted with them daily.

Quite a lofty idea as this was the 1970s and during the height of the "white flight" from urban towns across America into the suburbs.

 

Beginnings

Since this town would be built at the beach, Davis set out to visit, study, and determine what are the details that make small towns work? Particularly, small beach towns.



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