Monday, October 31, 2005

Portraying the Future

Today’s SHT has a great article about arcades and downtown Sarasota.

Although the reporter (Mike Saewitz) portrays the issue as a community conflict with a cast of opposing characters, Save Our Sarasota is a grass roots organization interested in making Sarasota a really great small city. We realize that there are those in the development community that share the same objective. Maybe what makes us different is that Save Our Sarasota tries to be community inclusive, looking at the common good. Others may lean more toward the "special interest" end of the spectrum. (We know that there are those that would portray us a just another "special interest", none the less, we keep trying).

Developers always show pretty pictures of what their project will look like when it is finished. They always use the "dreamscape" approach. They like to show nice looking people having a wonderful time in a dream like place. Reality however is always quite different.

Consider the Pineapple Square proposal Sarasota is currently considering. Notice how the 10 or 11 story hi-rise portion of the proposal fades into the background, whereas the much lower portion next to the sidewalk is prominently shown with happy people.

Or consider the Plaza at Five Points. The building height is minimized by the chosen view. This is nothing like the looming building that is about to open its doors.

Reality is different than dreamscapes.

While we cannot exactly picture the future buildout of downtown Sarasota, the reality is likely to be much closer to the rendition we have pictured below, than the dreamscapes that developers portray.

Apparently the developers do not like others using the same tools they use when showing a vision for the future. Bruce Franklin is quoted in the article:

[This] "lacks absolute credibility," especially with tricks such as the doctored photo.

Franklin and other developers commonly use fanciful dreamscapes to hide the cold reality of their project. We have shown the cold reality of the potential of allowing arcades over public sidewalks and giving the space above the arcades to developers as an incentive.

We fully understand it is not a pretty picture.

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