Urbanism and Resort Communities

Sarasota, FL skyline. Source: Patrick Braga via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve spent the better part of last week in Sarasota, Florida, on Lido Key with my family to attend a wedding for my sister-in-law. Much has been written about sprawl throughout Florida or the housing crisis. What interested me was the urbanism I had found near the resort I stayed at, most unexpectedly.

St. Armand's Circle, looking west towards Lido Key.

The urbanism I’m speaking of was found on Lido Key and neighboring St. Armand’s Key. John Ringling (of Ringling Bros. fame) and Owen Burns purchased Lido Key, St. Armands Key and neighboring Bird Key in the 1920s and began a development scheme which eventually failed in the 1929 stock market crash. St. Armand’s Key has in its center, Harding Circle, shopping district oriented around a beautiful roundabout, which has been recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the pictures, you may notice several features celebrated in new urbanism and planning circles alike: roundabouts, landscaped sidewalks and pedestrian treatments, all imposed on a grid street pattern.
These types of urban environments in resort communities are few and far between. I treasure spending time in these environments.

St. Armand's Circle pedestrian crossing. Source: Thoralf Schade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See how the landscape treatments separate cars from pedestrians? This allows more intensive pedestrian uses of the sidewalk like this cafe. Source: winterwhiteiris