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Insights into Orlando since moving away


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I know I’ve been a bit MIA on here lately, don’t worry, I still read nearly every single post thanks to the email feature. I just wrapped up my first semester in my Urban and Regional Planning master'

Hi Ken- Nice to hear from you and thanks for your input. I'm surprised to hear that your classmates are enamored with the likes of Nona and Celebration since I view them (from as far away as possible)

Absolutely great read! Only comment I'll add is I think that the shear volume alongside a bit of uniqueness of Lake Nona and Celebration are why those are well known outside the area instead of, say,

Hi Ken- Nice to hear from you and thanks for your input. I'm surprised to hear that your classmates are enamored with the likes of Nona and Celebration since I view them (from as far away as possible) so differently. 

I agree this region feels the outside world views us as only the theme parks, but I think there is some validity to that. Yes, a lot of people have seen downtown (often from I-4) or they've been to UCF or the airport, but we had over 70 million visitors last year and I'm pretty convinced most never left the parks.  I will agree the whole "other half" slogan is lame, but that may be because I don't understand who they are marketing to.  If they want the average tourist to view the region differently, then I guess the slogan works. But, and here's where your point is very valid, if they are marketing to business leaders, high value employees, corporate relocators, etc, then yes they do know the area is NOT just theme parks. The slogan and campaign seems geared toward the lowest common denominator.

Regarding our transportation issues, I actually think the I-4 project is going to be viewed favorably by outside businesses when it is done and I think it will have a positive outcome (for a while) on the area. That along with our airport growth will hopefully improve outsiders view about getting around the region. But the BIG key is a unified mass transit system that ties Sunrail, Brightline, Lynx all together with rail stops at the airport, the convention center, Disney and hopefully UCF. I agree our TOD is coming along better than I thought it would. I don't even know what to say about our complacency on bike and pedestrian safety other than it is very sad.

Good luck in your studies and check in as possible. I'm sure I can speak for others here that we miss your participation.

 

 

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1 hour ago, klstorey said:

In my classes and in the 4 symposiums I attended this semester, the only times Central Florida was mentioned was in discussions on Lake None and Celebration. I would argue that Lake Nona is far more car-centric than many of us on here would prefer, but the gated cul-de-sacs don’t exist in most urban planners minds when they think of Lake Nona, all they’re aware of is the bold vision for the new downtown, Boxi Park, Laurent Park, and the Medical Village. I think this shows how powerful a good PR firm is at making a place the ‘it’ community. No one I spoke with knew of the Creative Village, despite it being far more impressive IMO in its revitalization. The same is true with Celebration and Baldwin Park. Everyone knows of Celebration, no one knows about Baldwin Park. 

 

Absolutely great read! Only comment I'll add is I think that the shear volume alongside a bit of uniqueness of Lake Nona and Celebration are why those are well known outside the area instead of, say, Creative Village. What Creative Village brings is far from creative, its a common revitalization method... and ultimately, at this point, its just a big expansion of UCF's downtown facilities (UCF already had a small downtown), and the related development to that. Adding and expanding university campuses to downtowns is done quite a bit. What is unique about it at all? Why should your course want to point to Creative Village rather then, say, ASU whose UCF Downtown concept was entirely based on? And realistically, it doesn't seem like we really improved on anything over what they did?

Celebration is known for generally introducing, or at least popularizing, the entire concept of New Urbanism. When it was being built, it was among the fastest growing communities of all time. Lake Nona, has generally attracted an absolutely huge amount of development into its community. Even in its detached single family housing areas, Its pushing smaller lot sizes at higher prices, and generally is evolving the new urbanism concept quite a bit (although I think its more to the point where Lake Nona is ultimately creating a fully master-planned city on the level of Winter Park when its fully built out, which is unique in it not happening organically at all).

In an era where there is a lot of attempt at Master Planning (at both the developer and government level), these are really excellent projects done the right way, that are rather unique. Thats why they know of em out of state. What city thats doing alright doesn't have something like Baldwin Park?

To get talked about on a national scale, you gotta be doing things unique. Orlando, while a good downtown, is really just not unique, its not offering anything special, outside of its really good location to our world class tourist district.

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15 hours ago, klstorey said:

In my classes and in the 4 symposiums I attended this semester, the only times Central Florida was mentioned was in discussions on Lake None and Celebration. I would argue that Lake Nona is far more car-centric than many of us on here would prefer, but the gated cul-de-sacs don’t exist in most urban planners minds when they think of Lake Nona, all they’re aware of is the bold vision for the new downtown, Boxi Park, Laurent Park, and the Medical Village. I think this shows how powerful a good PR firm is at making a place the ‘it’ community. No one I spoke with knew of the Creative Village, despite it being far more impressive IMO in its revitalization. The same is true with Celebration and Baldwin Park. Everyone knows of Celebration, no one knows about Baldwin Park. 

I'm one of the people here that doesn't have such a big problem with Lake NoNo (as they like to call it) because I think it has been done much better than Celebration, Avalon, or Baldwin Park.  This is how these types of communities should be built.  Boxi is a lot of fun.  Laureate Park is beautiful neighborhood and a real family place.  Even the Medical Village serves such a great purpose in the area.  They aren't in downtown Orlando and that really chaps a lot of people.  They are done well, though.

 

15 hours ago, klstorey said:

Transit Oriented Developments were continuously discussed, again with Orlando not once being mentioned in lectures or readings, despite nearly every single SunRail station either having them already or projects proposed nearby. Awareness seems to be the main issue here. But all-in-all Orlando seems to be doing about as well as any other city when it comes to these types of projects. Lowering parking minimums in downtown might help Orlando get more notice here but Longwood, SODO, and downtown all have great TODs that no one outside of the area seems to be aware of. 

The most obvious place Orlando lacks when compared to the cities I’ve studied this semester is in mass transit infrastructure. Again, the city is missing the opportunity to market itself in this field. Orlando has the nation’s first bus rapid transit system, yet it wasn’t mentioned in a single lecture or reading all semester. Orlando needs to embrace the BRT system and focus on using it as a way to differentiate itself from other Southern cities infamous for poor mass transit. The Kirkman BRT should be a priority, as should systems on 50 and University Blvd (though I’m not sure those are even being proposed any longer). 

All I can do is say that I hope someday people with the same vision as yourself run Orlando/Orange County.

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I'll also add that I think when Brightline is completed, and especially if we can get maglev resurrected (or that route otherwise built and operated privately without tax dollars), I'd be pretty confident Orlando would be the teaching example in regards to transit. While I-4 is a much needed revamp, its again nothing special, its being done too late, the technologies its using were pioneered in other areas, etc.

I was at Lake Nona the other weekend and saw there driverless shuttles parked out there. If that works well, thats just gonna be another reason for Nona to be brought up in the discussions. Also, I heard Tavistock is funding it, not local tax dollars as well...

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On 5/20/2019 at 3:43 PM, klstorey said:


This semester has given me a new appreciation for Orlando. The area seems to be right there with the best of them when it comes to the critical conversations regarding bike transit, gender/sexuality equity, arts, and new construction techniques.
 

Yes! Orlando is like an undiscovered gem to most of the country who only know it as a "Disney Vacation". 

Just wait until I4 is finished, this place is gonna be like a dream city.

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