As long as there is land, a bulldozer can’t be far behind. I live in Tampa Bay where I’ve seen sprawl swallow up acres faster than a python devours rabbits in the Everglades. There must be a better way to manage growth. That’s why I write about architects and city planners with better ideas for urban design.
Good urban design is baked into my psyche. I’ve been fortunate to reside in two cities designed by visionaries who let the natural beauty of the place guide the plan. I grew up in Buffalo, New York, a city planned by Fredrick Law Olmstead; as an adult, I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, a city designed by Olmstead’s protégé, John Nolen.
Today, I live in Largo; all three cities are in in Pinellas County, a peninsula, sticking out like the thumb of a glove into the Gulf of Mexico. As sea levels rise and hurricanes get more fierce, the question becomes, What happens in Florida? Living in Pinellas automatically makes me part of this grand experiment.
I’m a writer, professor, wife, mother, sister, and gardener. I own a modest house with a big backyard on a cul-de-sac where a creek flows behind the neighborhood. My Florida friendly landscape attracts birds, raccoons, butterflies, and cats. Lately, I’ve been watching an owl nesting in the owl box in my backyard.
I sometimes paddle my kayak on the Intercoastal waterway that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the mainland. Two miles from here are some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. One is Belleair Beach where wealthy people have built mansions. This is an example of what not to build on this shifting landscape in this hurricane-prone climate.
A hundred years ago, Bauhaus modernists showed the world how to plan with the environment. I’m partial to modernism and sustainable architecture because it suits Florida. I hope you’ll follow me for updates from where the sand meets the sea.