The Seaside Institute, which was established in 1982 by Robert Davis, is a nonprofit organization that has served many different roles over the past three decades.
Originally created to bring culture and education to the local community, the Institute quickly expanded its mission to include educating other practitioners in the fields of planning, architecture and development. This was accomplished by inviting leaders in the field of new urbanism to hold seminars in Seaside where participants were able to view on-the-ground examples of how town making could be accomplished using new urban principles after time spent in the lecture hall. As a result, Seaside was the inspiration behind the founding of, probably, hundreds of new towns both here and abroad.
As time went on, many of the original cultural programs that were seeded by the Institute have been more fully developed and become independent programs led by community members. A few examples of these programs are Escape to Create and Seaside Repertory Theater.
Today, the Seaside Institute has focused its mission on providing continuing leadership in the multi-disciplinary field of new urbanism. Through debate, education, collaboration and recognition for excellence, the Institute concentrates its efforts on improving the sustainable design of the built and natural environments. These environments should provide a wide range of individual and community enriching experiences from the smallest of villages to the largest of cities. It is the belief of the organization's members that excellence can only be achieved by collaborating with a diverse network of professionals who are interested in the mutual goal of creating better places to live.
The Seaside Institute will be an influential organization in continually moving the new urban discussion forward as new challenges, such as climate change and alternative energy sources, are presented that will affect place-making and community development.
The Seaside Institute is an organization where the best thinkers and practitioners in the field of new urbanism discuss and debate at the highest level; professionals and the general public are educated through programs created by the Institute; like-minded organizations are linked together so that they can learn from one another; and the necessary tools to improve the way communities are formed and developed are shared with our partners through collaboration.
The Seaside Institute organizes and documents the founding of Seaside, which is widely considered the birthplace of traditional neighborhood development and the new urbanism, in order to provide an historical basis for others who may benefit from this knowledge..