The Seaside Prize: Celebrating the Design Community’s Most Innovative Ideas - 30A


The Seaside Prize: Celebrating the Design Community’s Most Innovative Ideas

By: Susan Gunn | Posted Mar 15, 2023

Most of us know that Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A runs along an unusually striking 24-mile stretch of coastline. And if you’re reading this article, chances are you already know we refer to these beloved shorelines simply as “30A.” 30A and its 12 little “towns” has become known far and wide as a beautiful vacation destination. It’s easy for some folks to forget that the 30A area is not only populated with vacation and second homes, but also with thousands of primary year-round residents. It’s a relatively small stretch of land packing a lot of people, and that number is growing fast. It’s a good thing one little town located just about at the halfway point of the little highway has taken the area’s growth very seriously, and they have done so from the start.

Since its founding in 1982 by Daryl and Robert Davis, Seaside and The Seaside Institute has championed New Urbanism and those who specialize in all things urban development. With the first homes going up in 1981, a master plan for Seaside was created by planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. The Seaside Institute’s Board had a vision with concern for the land and area’s development for housing, green spaces, transportation, mobility, conservation, and coastal zone protection. Thus, the Seaside Prize was created.

Since its inception in 1993, the Seaside Prize has been given to recognize organizations and individuals that have made impactful contributions to the planning, quality, and functionality of communities.

The first Prize was awarded to architects to Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, along with American Art Historian Vincent Joseph Scully, Jr. Scully was a Professor of History of Art in Architecture at Yale University. You can see his image in Seaside in the larger-than-life pink mural painted in 2018 by Baltimore-based muralist Andre Pisacane aka Gaia.

Credit: Brandan Babineaux Photography

The Seaside Prize has been awarded annually since 1993 to other architects, urban visionaries and designers, historians, professors, and writers such as the six founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism — Peter Calthorpe, Elizabeth Moule, Stefanos Polyzoides, and Daniel Solomon; architects Christopher Alexander, Alex Cooper, Giancarlo DeCarlo, Tony Garcia, Leon Krier, Rob Krier, Mike Lydon, Donlyn Lyndon, Scott Merrill, Jaquelin Robertson, Aldo Rossi, Robert A.M. Stern, Dhiru Thadani; writer and civic activist Jane Jacobs; Mayor of Charleston Joseph P. Riley, Jr.; Seaside town founders Daryl and Robert Davis; authors Witold Rybczynki and James Howard Kunstler; urban designer Allan B. Jacobs; Hank Dittmar, urban designer and chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment; landscape architect Douglas Duany; residential market analysts Laurie Volk and Todd Zimmerman; and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham.

The Prize was not awarded in 2021 due to the pandemic year but resumed in 2022 when it was presented to Jeff Speck for his contributions to enhancing the architectural community while advancing New Urbanism. Each year the Seaside Institute organizes a weekend-long celebration to include the community, entertain visitors and guest speakers, and honor the recipient, and 2023 was no exception. This year’s recipient was Donald Shoup, author and distinguished research professor of urban planning at UCLA.

Shoup is known for his economic ideology that although people should own the value they produce themselves, the economic rent derived from land—including from all natural resources, the commons, and urban locations—should belong equally to all members of society. Shoup is an expert on the subject of parking in relation to communities, development, and land usage.

He is the author of several writings on the subject, including two books published, Parking In The City and The High Cost of Free Parking. Shoup is a light-hearted, humorous, and eloquent speaker beloved by his students and his followers, fondly known as “Shoupistas.”

Credit: Brandan Babineaux Photography

The New York Times wrote that Shoup’s work “has led to a revolution in ideas about relieving congestion.” The High Cost of Free Parking and Shoup’s 2018 book, Parking, and the City, remain classics in the fields of transportation and city planning. Jeffrey Tumlin, the author of Sustainable Transportation Planning, wrote: “If your city wants to focus on one topic for reducing traffic congestion, improving housing availability, cleaning the air, lessening climate change, making government more efficient, and enlivening the economy—all at the same time—then it should focus on parking.” In addition to his position at UCLA, Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners, an Honorary Professor at the Beijing Transportation Research Center, a winner of the American Planning Association’s National Excellence Award as a Planning Pioneer, and the American Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Distinguished Educator Award. More on Shoup can be found at[2]

The 2023 (29th annual) Seaside Prize weekend was organized by The Seaside Institute’s Marketing and Events Director Christy Milliken. Celebratory events began on Friday, February 24 with a welcome reception and Keynote address by Rick Cole, Chief Deputy Controller, City of Los Angeles and formerly the Executive Director for the Congress for New Urbanism. Other distinguished guest speakers included William Fulton, Norman Garrick, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UConn., author Henry Grabar, M. Nolan Gray, and Elizabeth Moule.

The Prize was presented to Professor Shoup by Seaside founder Robert Davis on Saturday evening in the Seaside Chapel, followed by a memorable and festive Gala dinner at the well-known Seaside restaurant, Bud and Alley’s. Sunday was a beautiful day for The Guided Walking Tours through Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach.

Milliken said of the successful weekend, “It was an honor to plan and execute the events and tours associated with the 29th Annual Seaside Prize that celebrated Dr. Donald Shoup. The weekend symposium speakers provoked, challenged, and inspired new ideas and adaptable solutions. This annual weekend is very special to the Davis family and Seaside, Florida, but even more importantly through education, Seaside has inspired many communities around the world in developments like Jindee in Australia, Serenbe in Georgia, and Seabrook in Washington. A highlight of my weekend was sitting and having coffee in what used to be a parking space with this year’s Prize recipient and parking Guru, Donald Shoup — He is known for his radical ideas centered around community and people while challenging the way we think about parking and development.”

To listen to The Seaside Institute’s Podcast hosted by Christy Milliken featuring Donald Shoup and Henry Grabar please click here.

Shoup’s highly reliable and thought-provoking words of wisdom include:

“Parking is the single biggest use of land in any city.”
“Who pays for parking, and how?”
“Cars are the superstars of capitalism; they live rent-free.”
“If freed from parking requirements, I think cities can be reborn.”

To learn more about the Seaside Prize please visit



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Susan Gunn is a retired paramedic and freelance photographer/writer living in Santa Rosa Beach. When she is not working, she can be found in the water or exploring the beauty of Florida.