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DeepEyez

Orlando Urban Planning News & Developments

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Ironic UCF would offer an urban planning program when their campus is a lesson in urban sprawl.

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You could replace "UCF" with "American Higher Learning" in that sentence.

Incidentally, Rollins just expanded their program as well - don't have the particulars on hand but I believe it is a master in Civic Urbanism focused on New Urbanism principals.

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You could replace "UCF" with "American Higher Learning" in that sentence.

Incidentally, Rollins just expanded their program as well - don't have the particulars on hand but I believe it is a master in Civic Urbanism focused on New Urbanism principals.

I have the particulars here, just in case people are curious.

Rollins launches new master’s program

Rollins College is offering a new master of planning in civic urbanism degree through its Hamilton Holt School’s evening program this fall.

Read more: Rollins launches new master’s program - Orlando Business Journal

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I came across this interesting article in the Orlando Weekly about the recent planning and development efforts in Downtown Orlando and wanted people to read it and share their comments.

Here's the article:

Building the perfect beast

The failure of downtown's ambitious social experiment

Orlando Weekly Article Link

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I came across this interesting article in the Orlando Weekly about the recent planning and development efforts in Downtown Orlando and wanted people to read it and share their comments.

Here's the article:

Building the perfect beast

The failure of downtown's ambitious social experiment

Orlando Weekly Article Link

Sounds like the usual crybaby writing from Billy Manes and the rest of the Weekly staff. I find it rather hard to read. That should have been a couple hundred words or included more facts to back up his ideas. Fluff, fluff, fluff. The Weekly writers and especially Manes use too many adjectives in an effort to impress themselves instead of making a succinct point.

Waaa, Waaa!! I miss the grungy 90's. I miss some of the clubs from those days, too. I used to go to the Kit Kat, the Go Lounge, and Sapphire back in the day, but you must grow up at some point. The same goes for the city. Downtown is going through growing pains. Manes calls it a flop by city planners, but isn't this happening everywhere that isn't called New York City (because their downtown is all of Manhattan)?

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The only thing in that entire article that I find valid is that the city should never have gone to bed with Lou Pearlman -- we all knew what a bad idea it was back then and they should have as well.

Otherwise, this article ignores so much of what is happening in downtown Orlando right now that it's almost farcical. Church Street is coming back to life, they completely ignore the fact that 4-5 businesses are on their way. The ignore the successes of the Plaza (the place is hopping), highlighting only the failure of Kuhn. They ignore the complete transformation of Central Ave from Orange to Summerlin into an urban area filled with restaurants and shops (ahem, Publix).

What I find most outrageous is that the take the successes of Parramore (notably that crime is down by almost 90%) and undermine it simply because its still rough around the edges.

This is obviously a magazine that hates it's city.

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The only thing in that entire article that I find valid is that the city should never have gone to bed with Lou Pearlman -- we all knew what a bad idea it was back then and they should have as well.

Otherwise, this article ignores so much of what is happening in downtown Orlando right now that it's almost farcical. Church Street is coming back to life, they completely ignore the fact that 4-5 businesses are on their way. The ignore the successes of the Plaza (the place is hopping), highlighting only the failure of Kuhn. They ignore the complete transformation of Central Ave from Orange to Summerlin into an urban area filled with restaurants and shops (ahem, Publix).

What I find most outrageous is that the take the successes of Parramore (notably that crime is down by almost 90%) and undermine it simply because its still rough around the edges.

This is obviously a magazine that hates it's city.

Ahhhhh, where to begin. praha pretty much captured it.

We'll start with Billy's midlife crisis. He just can't stand that he's getting older and that he feels a little silly among the "party 'til you puke" crowd (they're still there and still own Orange Ave. from Jefferson St. down to the Plaza after dark.) More about that in a second.

Also, when first Edward Ericson and then Jeffrey Billman left the Weekly, all prestensions of alternative journalism went out the window. For a time, the Weekly was actually doing harder-hitting, in-depth stories than the Sentinel and winning awards in the alternative press. Now, it's mostly Billy's "running off at the netbook" nonsense. It's sad in that now we have neither a daily nor a weekly left to commit actual journalism. I've discussed this with Scott Maxwell, who can still light a fire on occasion (most recently with the blood bank mess), but he seems content with column-length items that, while, sometimes effective, don't help the community to build a sense of itself.

The funny thing (and I think what scares Billy to death) is that the downtown that most of Orlando abandoned by the 70's and left to the counterculture crowd, the hustlers, the druggies and the transients, is now back. While the grownups among us leave Orange Avenue to the teenagers and other party animals, we actually have reason to live downtown again. Oddly enough, most supposed "real" cities would kill to have the two "A" -rated public schools in their downtown core, not to mention the private schools and preschools and, especially, Nap Ford, a charter school in the Parramore district that has been a boon to the kids in that area. Downtown also has the elderly (the ones in the church towers are for the most part working to middle-class retirees), and yes, the yuppies are starting to come to the downtown towers - they of course arrived in North Eola and Thornton Park in the late 80's to early 90's when Buddy's mentor, Mayor Bill, ticked off the development crowd and preserved the historic neighborhoods.

In short, Billy's problem is that, in fits and starts, downtown is becoming more diverse with each passing day. There's room for everybody, but of course some have a little trouble adjusting to that. If you like gated communities and deed restrictions, you'll hate downtown. If you want total upscale retail like Park Avenue, you'll hate downtown. If you're a transient or a partier who wants no rules and for no one to care if you decide to just pee on the sidewalk when the mood strikes you, you'll hate downtown. But if you want a mix of everything with just enough control in place to keep very different folks from killing each other in a relatively small space, then we're making progress.

Now, back to that stretch of Orange between Jefferson St. and the Plaza. THAT, imho, is the real Creative Village. The old buildings there, I've concluded, simply are not going to find the use among our office dwellers to ever fill up, and most corporate outfits (be they retailers, companies that need office space, government institutions or whatever) no longer wish to bother with the refits necessary to use them (we may wish this was San Francisco, but it ain't). So, let's begin the effort to create theaters, galleries, performance venues, etc., in this space, and use buildings like the Angebilt and the old Iveys, etc., for lofts and apartments filled with artists and such to be subsidized by the city through CRA grants or whatever as the economy improves. AND, let's give those folks real input into what happens there, so they feel as though it's really theirs and not some Potemkin village of the arts imposed by the grownups. Such a district would be real and creative and, best of all, they won't mind things going on until all hours. I believe we'd be amazed with what might happen if we let the Bohemians be Bohemian while those of us in the bourgeoisie watch from the more sedate zones.

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I read that article a few days ago, and I was kinda surprised by the complete and utter negativity laced into every sentence. I'm new to Orlando, and I've been very surprised how much hate this downtown gets when compared with other cities I've lived in. I've been pleasantly surprised by the progress in downtown since I've lived here, particularly since I've lived in Orlando pretty much for the exact duration of the recession.

I'm not sure what that guy expects. He mentions the economy in passing like it's a minor thing and a poor argument. That alone shocks me, given the epic proportions of this recession, particularly in the real estate and development markets.

I've lived in 55W for 5 months or so ... and the growth and expansion of Church St. and downtown in general has been very visible in just this time. As for the condo/apartment market more generally, I like to measure the health by how damn long the elevator takes to reach my floor, and how many people are on the lift when I get on ... trust me, it's getting worse. ;)

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Now, back to that stretch of Orange between Jefferson St. and the Plaza. THAT, imho, is the real Creative Village. The old buildings there, I've concluded, simply are not going to find the use among our office dwellers to ever fill up, and most corporate outfits (be they retailers, companies that need office space, government institutions or whatever) no longer wish to bother with the refits necessary to use them (we may wish this was San Francisco, but it ain't). So, let's begin the effort to create theaters, galleries, performance venues, etc., in this space, and use buildings like the Angebilt and the old Iveys, etc., for lofts and apartments filled with artists and such to be subsidized by the city through CRA grants or whatever as the economy improves. AND, let's give those folks real input into what happens there, so they feel as though it's really theirs and not some Potemkin village of the arts imposed by the grownups. Such a district would be real and creative and, best of all, they won't mind things going on until all hours. I believe we'd be amazed with what might happen if we let the Bohemians be Bohemian while those of us in the bourgeoisie watch from the more sedate zones.

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spenser1058, your idea totally ROCKS!!! How does something like that happen realistically? Would someone have to purchase the buildings and lease it out to artists or would the current owners have to take a loss financially to make this idea a reality? I suspect any body putting their money into something like that would want to see some return, at least, in part to pay the bills. Right, correct me if I'm wrong.

Secondly, how do people feel about the plans for the expansion of the Coalition for the Homeless on Central? I personally hate the fact that it is going to smack-dab in the middle of any promise for Parramore and the proposed Creative Village. Am I missing something or could downtown be better served if it were somewhere else in Orlando?

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spenser1058, your idea totally ROCKS!!! How does something like that happen realistically? Would someone have to purchase the buildings and lease it out to artists or would the current owners have to take a loss financially to make this idea a reality? I suspect any body putting their money into something like that would want to see some return, at least, in part to pay the bills. Right, correct me if I'm wrong.

Secondly, how do people feel about the plans for the expansion of the Coalition for the Homeless on Central? I personally hate the fact that it is going to smack-dab in the middle of any promise for Parramore and the proposed Creative Village. Am I missing something or could downtown be better served if it were somewhere else in Orlando?

While in theory that might seem like the right idea...The truth is, if you don't put it near the core of the homeless problem you're just increasing the number of homeless wandering downtown at night. Most don't have cars, money for transport, etc. They've got their two legs and that's it. It has to go somewhere near downtown.

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spenser1058, your idea totally ROCKS!!! How does something like that happen realistically? Would someone have to purchase the buildings and lease it out to artists or would the current owners have to take a loss financially to make this idea a reality? I suspect any body putting their money into something like that would want to see some return, at least, in part to pay the bills. Right, correct me if I'm wrong.

Secondly, how do people feel about the plans for the expansion of the Coalition for the Homeless on Central? I personally hate the fact that it is going to smack-dab in the middle of any promise for Parramore and the proposed Creative Village. Am I missing something or could downtown be better served if it were somewhere else in Orlando?

CRA money would pay the real estate owners of those properties a large portion of the rent. They would probably work out some kind of deal where there would be a certain amount of units at a certain rate (preferably lower than market value) rented by the city program. For the owner of said building, this is lower rent than could be collected if the occupancy rate were higher, but under current market conditions, it would be more rent collected than NONE.

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I'd like to see all the empty lots downtown built up before any other buildings are torn down, unless it is part of a substantial redevelopment project in a master plan that doesn't exist in Orlando.

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I'd like to see all the empty lots downtown built up before any other buildings are torn down, unless it is part of a substantial redevelopment project in a master plan that doesn't exist in Orlando.

That is true. There is a sizable quantity of vacant lots in downtown proper and in Parramore, I think would be great investments for future use. I'm only suggesting tearing down the Old Southern building in the case of corporate-HQ relocation. That is a prime location in terms of visibility from the I-4 traffic, that is all.

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: I've moved all posts about the prospect of the Yankees' minor league baseball team relocating to Orlando to on the subject.

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I guess that I am going to be the lone dissenter again on this. I have to agree quite a bit with that article. I think Downtown Orlando has failed to really become much of anything new, and while we may be getting a bit more accustomed to the state it is in, I just can't really bring myself to say it is doing well.

Creative villages, 18 hour life, diversity - these terms are thrown around lot, but the reality is there is not a whole lot of true drive to have those things. It seems we want a theme park version of a city - the pretty high rise buildings - enough diversity to make us feel nice and fuzzy that we aren't sheltered but not so much that we feel threatened - artsy enough to make us feel creative, but not so artistic that we have to deal with people who may not conform to our styles. In a nutshell, we don't really want a city, we want something that kind of looks like a city and serves as entertainment for us.

Yeah, the buildings are there on that part of Orange, but no matter how much you call it a creative village you are not going to magically turn it into a creative neighborhood. That is another one of those theme park ideas - something that triggers ideas of creativity while really still being quite safe and conventional. Creativity, and a creative neighborhood, come from people who aren't going to fit into conventional ideas. They don't WANT to be in a conventional, clean, suburban style environment confined to their little box. They WANT that unconventionalness, the edginess, the roughness around the edges.

With that in mind, why does Downtown need to be downtown? Why does Downtown have to be the throbbing heartbeat of the city? Let it be a small neighborhood but with nice tall high rise condos. Maybe find another neighborhood that can be the creative, unconventional district.

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I guess that I am going to be the lone dissenter again on this. I have to agree quite a bit with that article. I think Downtown Orlando has failed to really become much of anything new, and while we may be getting a bit more accustomed to the state it is in, I just can't really bring myself to say it is doing well.

Creative villages, 18 hour life, diversity - these terms are thrown around lot, but the reality is there is not a whole lot of true drive to have those things. It seems we want a theme park version of a city - the pretty high rise buildings - enough diversity to make us feel nice and fuzzy that we aren't sheltered but not so much that we feel threatened - artsy enough to make us feel creative, but not so artistic that we have to deal with people who may not conform to our styles. In a nutshell, we don't really want a city, we want something that kind of looks like a city and serves as entertainment for us.

Yeah, the buildings are there on that part of Orange, but no matter how much you call it a creative village you are not going to magically turn it into a creative neighborhood. That is another one of those theme park ideas - something that triggers ideas of creativity while really still being quite safe and conventional. Creativity, and a creative neighborhood, come from people who aren't going to fit into conventional ideas. They don't WANT to be in a conventional, clean, suburban style environment confined to their little box. They WANT that unconventionalness, the edginess, the roughness around the edges.

With that in mind, why does Downtown need to be downtown? Why does Downtown have to be the throbbing heartbeat of the city? Let it be a small neighborhood but with nice tall high rise condos. Maybe find another neighborhood that can be the creative, unconventional district.

"It seems we want a theme park version of a city - the pretty high rise buildings - enough diversity to make us feel nice and fuzzy that we aren't sheltered but not so much that we feel threatened - artsy enough to make us feel creative, but not so artistic that we have to deal with people who may not conform to our styles." In fact, that is true of most cities- the folks around Louisburg Square want nothing to do with the edginess of the Pit over at Harvard Square. Heck, there is constant tension between the folks right there in the immediate area. Good cities, however, allow for both.

And no, as I noted, the "Creative Village" as envisioned over by the current arena won't do the job either. The makings, however, have been over in the strip along Orange Avenue for a few decades now and the historic buildings are increasingly not going to find reuse for either offices or retail. What i suggested was the city make the funds available to enhance what is already there AND to provide the monies the arts community has been asking for during much of that time. Grants and subsidies for artists to move in and to live, work and play in an interesting area that is also among the most politically liberal in the region is a way to preserve the district and to fuse the smaller visual and theatrical arts with the musicians already there performing at the clubs. It is a way to serve the arts community that will largely be ignored by DPAC.

Let's also note that Billy Manes never bothered to address the actual needs of the artists in that article; he was too busy just dissing everything to make concrete suggestions. I guess I have been around Billy and his nihilistic approach to life for too many years to take him seriously.

I am on record with many posts as saying downtown will never be the "everything" district - our agricultural past and the Sunbelt postwar history of the area made that clear when Martin and Disney went to the boonies. But downtown, along with Loch Haven and Winter Park is already the region's cultural hub - this just makes a place for the non-institutional arts to grow as well. If some enterprising group of artistic sorts can make that happen without any involvement from the powers that be, may they rock on.

Those folks, however, have been asking for support of this kind for many years. The section I noted just happens to be the one that, I believe, provides the win-win for both the artists and the City to be successful in the fusion of art and economic development.

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I fail to see how additional funding is going to be any different 1/2 mile up the road than it is for a place like City Arts Factory. Don't get me wrong - I think the City Arts Factory does will with what it has, even if it is never open when people can get to it. But it has really failed to have significant impact outside of it's own small space. It has nothing to do with buildings or leases. These are artists, not businesses. yes, they are trying to make enough money to survive, but business minded people often fail to understand what artists are really looking for. To you it might be a creative looking area because it has old buildings and is liberal minded, but to your average artistic community it is still a suit and tie business zone.

Part of the problem is that there is no much focus on this artistic neighborhood desire. That's not going to come easily and not going to fit in with everything else people want. Accept Downtown is going to be a primarily business oriented district with a odd mix of city buildings but suburb minded churches and schools. And focus on that. Worry more about keeping rents affordable for small families and childless couples. Make it clean and walkable, particularly at night. Let another neighborhood become the urban hotspot and relocate your city services there.

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I reject the notion that the development efforts in Downtown Orlando are either meaningless or hopeless and not worth the trouble.

Although I do believe, if Downtown Orlando is to have a chance in the near future, some changes will have to be made in the city's and possibly the county's public policies. If there is anything we learned from this ongoing recession is that, the city's who best weathered the economic downturn were cities who made investments in early in their history and promoted the cultural diversity that has become the petri-dish of creativity. Cities such as New York City (where the problem started) Washington D.C. (where the problem was enabled) Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston and Boston. Granted some of these cities are some of the biggest and most notable cities in the country, but let us not overlook the fact that something had to be their economically and culturally for those cities to grow from a town of a few hundred to the mammoths they are today.

It's for this reason, a creative village in the heart of Orlando is probably the smartest idea outside of the coming of Disney to be worked on in this town. Granted, the city needs to make some public-policy changes so that not only is CV a 24-hour hot spot but ALL of Downtown Orlando proper a 24-hour hot spot for all of Central Florida. They will need to allow some of the grittiness and edginess that comes from creative-types and bohemians from all over to feel comfortable and at home. That means making Orlando more gay-friendly, women-friendly, African-american and Latino-friendly, working-class-friendly and Arab/Muslim-friendly. WASP culture may have to peel-back it's predominance and Orlando will have to embrace a truly multi-cultural vision city-wide in order for it's stated mission for this project to come into effect. Otherwise this project is bound to FAIL! In addition, with the advent of SunRail and High-Speed Rail, people and their ideas will be traveling at higher velocity than previously experienced. If Orlando and Orange County doesn't work together, centralize and lead Florida into the new-world economy, better believe all of the creative, young bohemians will use SR & HSR as the FASTEST TICKETS OUT OF TOWN......talk about a brain drain.

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Congress for the New Urbanism Says Amendment 4 a "Wake-up Call to End Sprawl"

"The people of Florida have given us a second chance to do better planning. Now it's time to deliver. The massive effort and financial resources needed to defeat Amendment 4 are a wake-up call to local governments and developers to end the sprawl that congests our roads, endangers pedestrians, and chokes off transportation alternatives," said Eliza Harris, director of Orlando's regional division of the Congress for the New Urbanism ("CNU").

Congress for the New Urbanism Says Amendment 4 a "Wake-up Call to End Sprawl"

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