Parallel Utopia

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Richard Sexton

As the twentieth century draws to a close, the desire for communities that offer an improved quality of life - where the pedestrian is as viable as the motorist; where the architecture is varied, human-scaled, and responsive to its environment; where residents can find privacy yet enjoy the company of their neighbors - has taken on a particularly significant urgency.
As Richard Sexton convincingly documents in Parallel Utopias, two special places - The Sea Ranch in Northern California and Seaside in the Florida panhandle - have arrived at two unique solutions in the search for the ideal community. A lively introductory essay outlines the nature of this archetypal quest, followed by an engaging discussion of the philosophy, architecture, history, and character of both communities. Sexton's sumptuous full-color photographs tour each community in detail, from their built environment and the surrounding dramatic coastal landscape to the furnishings residents have chosen for their homes.
In their contributing essays, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg analyzes with piercing clarity the evolution and contradictions of our contemporary communities, and architect William Turnbull, Jr., lucidly examines the role of the architect in shaping viable living spaces.