inspiring livable communities
We believe in promoting the building of sustainable places through education and design.
Seaside has always been a small town based on big ideas—a charming tourist destination that inspired an urban planning movement now known as New Urbanism. For a generation raised in Suburbia, Seaside’s invitation to get out of the automobile and walk was revolutionary. Time Magazine said the mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly community “could be the most astounding design achievement of its era.”
Like Seaside itself, the Seaside Institute is a proud incubator of ideas. Beginning in the 1980s, the Institute brought together early New Urban practitioners, coming together for the first time to discuss best practices in design, construction, retailing, market analysis and governance and to teach the techniques to others.
As Seaside and the New Urbanism movement matured, the Institute took on new challenges.
Positioned on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle, Seaside is frequently threatened by hurricanes. By surviving these storms—and watching neighboring communities suffer significant damage that Seaside had been spared—the Institute began to explore issues of disaster preparedness and resilience.
Seaside’s walkable design—and the lessened dependence on automobiles—spurred research into the benefits of walkable communities. These outcomes, including better health and the ability to age in place, became themes for the Seaside Institute’s research and seminars.
With the development of other New Urban communities along County Road 30A, the Institute has begun exploring innovative new means of transportation connecting walkable communities, as well as other common interests with neighboring communities. Seaside itself continues to be a living laboratory, inviting students and others to walk its streets and experience the built-out example of its innovative design.
Just as the design community has used the charrette as a way to bring together all the expertise in one room, the Seaside Institute invites many fields of expertise to collaborate and build on each other’s ideas. Our three core tenets—Sustainability, Connectivity, Adaptability—continue to inspire the Seaside Institute as we explore new ways to build community and connect with each other.