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.
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 dedicated to the following purposes:
(a) documenting the founding and development of the community of Seaside, which is widely considered the birthplace of land use planning philosophy known as the New Urbanism,
(b) educating public officials, students, professionals and the general public about the benefits and techniques of New Urbanism, including the study of historical precedents, and
(c) fostering education, cultural activities and the arts within Seaside and the surrounding area.
The Seaside Institute brings together the best thinkers and practitioners in the field of New Urbanism to discuss and debate at the highest level. Like-minded organizations are linked together so that they can learn from one another. The necessary tools to improve the way communities are formed and developed are then shared with the Institute’s partners through collaboration.