Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City

Walt Disney and the Promise of Progress City

🚧

~This page is still under construction~

  • Author:: [[Sam Gennawey]]
  • Reading Status:: [[Books Read]]
  • Recommended By:: [[Amazon]]
  • Tags:: #Books #[[City Building]] #[[Walt Disney]] #[[Small Towns]] #downtown
  • Key Takeaways::
    • How to Build a City
      • [[Be Observant]]
        • My obsession with these questions started long ago — but it was not until I was reading [[In Service to the Mouse]] that I fully understood why. The book is the autobiography of [[Jack Lindquist]], Disneyland’s first president. He was fortunate to learn his craft directly from Walt Disney. One of those lessons was that the best solutions usually came after a great deal of observation. #[[Be Observant]]
        • As with every opportunity that faced Walt, he was not satisfied with the status quo and knew he could do it better if given the chance. In the world of animation, the typical way to start is to pull out a blank sheet of paper. Walt knew the next time he decided to build a theme park that he would reach for the largest canvas he could find and buy enough land so that he could control what was in the frame. Just like the movies. In 1959, Walt was given a chance to do it the right way. A billionaire offered him a chance to build another Disneyland in Palm Beach, Florida — only this time, Walt would get to design the city that surrounded the park. Walt knew that there was a huge untapped market for another theme park on the East Coast. According to Harrison “Buzz” Price, a land use economist who advised Walt, although the Palm Beach project ultimately did not move forward, it became a defining moment for Walt: this is when he became obsessed with building a city.
      • Build the things people want in a way that is revolutionary; don't shove things down their throats just because you think it's "progress"
        • Walt said, “I would like to be part of building a model community, a City of Tomorrow, you might say, because I don’t believe in going out to the extreme blue-sky stuff that some architects do. I believe that people still want to live like human beings. There’s a lot of things that could be done.” He added, “I’m not against the automobile, but I just feel that the automobile has moved into communities too much. I feel that you can design so that the automobile is there, but still put people back as pedestrians, you see. I’d love to work on a project like that.” Walt was also excited about building the school of tomorrow. Walt wanted the school to be a pilot operation for teaching aids.
      • [[Experimentation]]
        • What was not known to the general public was that the attraction was specifically designed as a prototype for the system that Walt wanted to install in his futuristic city of EPCOT. Just as he did with the monorail, Walt was using Disneyland as a way of testing the durability of the technology. It was one of the breakthrough technologies that helped spatially define Tomorrowland.
        • In the film, Walt tells us, “I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities.” In order to implement this vision, he proclaims that “[we] start with the public need. And the need is not just curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a special kind of new community.” He cautions us that “the sketches and plans you will see today are simply a starting point”. We are warned that “everything in this room may change time and time again as we move ahead”. But he promises, “The basic philosophy of what we’re planning for Disney World is going to remain very much as it is right now.”
        • Would people have enjoyed living in EPCOT? Ward Kimball did not believe that EPCOT could have worked. He suggested that “you can’t experiment with people’s lives”.
      • [[Transportation]]
        • Gruen also expresses frustration with the lack of progress in the development of new public transportation technologies. He comments that millions of people go to Disneyland to ride a monorail that is being promoted as the transportation system of the future, but he is disappointed that the technology had been around since the 1890s.
        • When Walt decided to build a city, he figured a monorail system would become the transportation backbone for the entire project. At Disneyland, Walt had proven it could function reliably and provide a high level of service, and he wanted to integrate the technology into his city. The success of this transportation system is a principal reason why Walt thought that EPCOT could work as a city.
        • If we lived in one of the apartment buildings, we most likely would not own an automobile — most of the time we would have no need for one. Because of the cost of parking spaces and the experimental nature of EPCOT, most apartment dwellers are not even allotted a space to park a vehicle in the large underground parking structure near the Transportation Lobby. Those living in apartments are for the most part required to rely solely on public transportation, short-range electric vehicles for on-property trips, or rental cars for longer journeys.
        • A typical pedestrian shed is only one-quarter mile. Within a pedestrian shed, you should find a range of services that meet ordinary human needs. There should be a balance of living, working, shopping, and recreational opportunities. Access to a convenient transit stop can extend the range of the pedestrian shed, and that is the secret to EPCOT’s success. “Here and throughout the community, residents returning from work or shopping will disembark from the WEDway at stations located conveniently just a few steps from where they live,” according to the film.
      • How does your city tap into "universal feelings?"
        • One of the most fundamental and relevant discoveries from Alexander’s research has been the realization that “human feeling is mostly the same, mostly the same from person to person, mostly the same in every person”. Some would argue that this could not be true as we are all individuals and we have different experiences, backgrounds, cultures, and education. Alexander acknowledged that “there is a part of human feeling where we are all different” and “each of us has our idiosyncrasies, our unique individual human character” and “we often concentrate on… talking about feelings, and comparing feelings”. Nonetheless, Alexander’s forty-year research has shown that those individual qualities account for only 10 percent of human feelings. The other 90 percent are the “stuff in which we are all the same and we feel the same things”. One of Walt Disney’s greatest gifts was his ability to understand and tap into those universal feelings.
        • Those universal feelings should extend to the space and flows of everything and its universal not only in emotion but in culture
          • The Plaza Hub orients and reassures the guests with minimal signage and direction. This space bridges every culture and speaks a universal language.
      • Understand that "quality without a name"
        • In DisneyWar, James B. Stewart defined the Disney magic as that moment when “people’s apprehension turns into awe and delight”. When Disney guests step into the environment based on a timeless way of building — an environment that has the quality without a name — they realize that they are in a place where their dreams can come true.
        • When you enter a space that feels right, you know it possesses that “quality without a name” immediately, even if you are not able to articulate why you have these feelings. If you are asked to list why you have such positive feelings, you soon discover that your words are inadequate. It is almost impossible to truly capture the experience in such a way that it can be shared; however, you know the quality does exist, because you have just experienced it.
        • John Hench said the architecture, colors, background sounds, music, and smells create an environment where “the order here at Disneyland works on people, the sense of harmony. They feel more content here, in a way that they can’t explain. You find strangers talking to each other without fear.”
      • Understand [[space making]]
        • Functionally, the Main Street corridor is between two “Activity Nodes” and becomes a “Promenade”. The corridor is designed to be a “Shopping Street” with a “Market of Many Shops”. The atmosphere is almost a “Carnival” and it is not uncommon to see “Dancing in the Street”. Main Street becomes “Common Land” and a “Public Outdoor Room”. The façades were designed in a way that creates the appearance of “Individually Owned Shops”, even though we know that is not a reflection of the reality inside. There are “Street Cafés”, “Food Stands”, and occasionally people “Sleeping in Public” in Town Square and in the Plaza Hub.
        • What may matter most is that the Imagineers were thoughtful enough to include a place to pause and reflect, relax and unwind, yet still be a part of the action. As the other Disneyland-type parks have grown much larger and grander, they have eliminated this type of space. That is one reason why the park in Anaheim feels more intimate than the others. This is a perfect example of a space that has that quality without a name and achieves a higher degree of life. The Wizard of Bras porch example only scratches at the surface of how to use A Pattern Language to describe the experience of a space so that it can be shared and possibly duplicated elsewhere. #[[Sometimes doing nothing is the most important something]]
          • How do you maintain a sense of closeness in a city as it scales? How do you create neighborhood familiarity in the largest cities in the world? #Community
        • “Architecture is the thoughtful making of space,” according to the great architect [[Louis Kahn]]. Many architects are focused on the object and how that object interacts within the context of the surrounding space. City planners, however, deal with the process. They provide direction for the application of the patterns that lead to good design, and they draft the policies that allow for creation of thoughtful spaces.
        • What Walt wanted to get back to was the human-scale community. He wanted to return the public realm back to people. He knew that, for too long, we had been designing our public and private spaces for the convenience of the automobile. There had to be a better way.
        • We enjoy spaces best when they appeal to all of our senses. If we can look, listen, smell, taste, and touch the good things, we are more comfortable. Walt’s solution throughout Disneyland was to pick the right surface materials and appropriate music, and to install Smellitzers, a special machine that pumps out the scent of cookies and candy. He applied the same solution for the themed areas inside of EPCOT.
        • Understanding the human connection to nature
          • Just beyond the ring of high-density apartments we can see the community’s most significant shared asset, the “sheltering” greenbelt. As described in the EPCOT film, the “greenbelt is more than just a broad expanse of beautiful lawns and walks and trees. Here too are the communities’ varied recreation facilities, its playgrounds for children, its churches, and its schools.”
          • Find the city designs in [[Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling]] where they talk about big shared backyards #[[Find the Quote]]
        • Even though EPCOT was never built as Walt imagined it, the Walt Disney World project has been influential in the way we design public spaces. Just like Disneyland, it has raised our expectations on how the built environment can meet the public need.
      • Are you creating a place to reside or a place to truly live?
        • Walt himself said, “Physically, Disneyland would be a small world in itself — it would encompass the essence of the things that were good and true in American life. It would reflect the faith and challenge of the future, the entertainment, the interest in intelligently presented facts, the stimulation of the imagination, the standards of health and achievement, and above all, a sense of strength, contentment, and well-being.”
        • Evangelist Billy Graham once told Walt that Disneyland was “a nice fantasy”. This did not sit well with Walt. He replied, “You know the fantasy isn’t here. This is very real… The Park is reality. The people are natural here; they’re having a good time; they’re communicating. This is what people really are. The fantasy is — out there, outside the gates of Disneyland, where people have hatreds and people have prejudices. It’s not really real!”
      • Expose yourself to the very best ideas available
        • A century before there was Disneyland, there were World’s Fairs. Walt was influenced by World’s Fairs, and he in turn influenced a number of these major global events. His experience with World’s Fairs helped feed his interest and understanding of city planning; many elements of the Disney theme park experience are rooted in these spectacular temporary international events.
        • Any World’s Fair represents the ultimate “invented place”. The best of the fairs captured the public’s imagination like no other event. Many times the ideas on display were so powerful that community leaders would return home and commit vast sums of money, political capital, and land to transform their cities to reflect the latest trends.
        • According to Disney Legend Ray Watson, Walt was also a big fan of [[Stockholm]], Sweden. He kept a booklet about the city in his office. From 1950 to 1970, city planners had modernized Stockholm by building four new satellite towns. Each satellite town featured its own high-density center around the transit node and had a mix of uses including shopping, commercial, and residential. The satellite towns consisted of functional pods; each pod connected to the town center by a radial subway system and highways. Walt’s EPCOT plans were clearly influenced by the Stockholm satellite design.
      • What is the over-arching model for your city?
        • Alexander’s first assertion is that “centers arise in space”. Centers have to start in a specific place. Walt wanted a specific, identifiable space at the center of his park that would clearly orientate guests to the various “lands”, or what planners would call “adjacent activity nodes”. The Partners statue is at the center of such a place, and it is called the Plaza Hub. This hub serves as a distribution point. Its function is at the heart of its design. This circulation pattern is known as the radial plan or — in “Disneyspeak” — the hub-and-spoke.
        • Gruen believed that there was an underlying cellular nature to a properly built community. If the basic unit of life is a cell, and millions of cells can come together to create an organism, he reasoned that an urban structure based on cells (clusters of mixed-use development) would be the healthiest system. Mixed use refers to a building or a cluster of buildings in the same general area through adjacency with multiple functions that coexist and can include residential, commercial, office, or live/ work space. This blending of functions enhances pedestrian activity and safety, and it reduces the need for parking space. Think of the image of Main Street, U.S.A. Downstairs are the shops, and upstairs are the imaginary offices of important people. A crucial benefit of a cellular urban organization is that it can be scaled as small as a home or as large as a metropolis.
        • To illustrate the cellular concept, Gruen compared a city to the human body. In a person, a healthy heart is one that shows high cardiac output. For a city, the central business district is the heart, which must demonstrate “high vitality”. Vitality is measured by the ability of primary functions to perform successfully and without strain. A healthy city is one with an “infinite variety whose buildings and structures form, between them, spaces of differing size and character, narrow or broad, serene or dynamic, modest or monumental, contrasting with each other by virtue of varied treatment of pavement, landscaping, and lighting”. The only way to achieve “high vitality” is to ensure that the secondary or “utilitarian” functions are also working well. These utilitarian functions include sewer systems, the telecommunications networks, power supply, and transportation systems.
      • Give people a mission statement to live and build towards
        • Walt had said, “[EPCOT] will be a planned, controlled community; a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural, and educational opportunities. There will be no slums because we won’t let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals.” He added, “There will be no retirees, because everyone must be employed according to their ability. ^^**One of our requirements is that the people who live in EPCOT must help keep it alive.**^^ Everyone who lives here will have a responsibility to help keep this community an exciting living blueprint of the future.” Just like the animation studio, everything would be a team effort working toward one man’s dream.
    • What do cities get built around? #[[City Building]]
      • Cities can pop up around natural resources, universities, large employers, or opportunities for technological display
        • For Walt, EPCOT would be a way for American corporations to show how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world. He saw this project as a way to influence the public’s expectations about city life, in the same way his earlier work had redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or visit an amusement park.
        • Walt’s intention was to use the experimental new town as a way to demonstrate the latest thinking in technology, service delivery, and governance. He wanted to build his city from scratch on virgin land, heeding [[Henry Ford]]’s advice: “We shall solve the City Problem by leaving the City.” Walt wanted to move away from the dominant model of suburban sprawl that was rapidly taking root throughout the United States. He wanted to demonstrate a different model that relied upon a mixed-use, transit-oriented development. [[John Hench]] said that EPCOT would “show how many of today’s city problems can be solved through proper master planning”.
        • The project “will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.” Most importantly, Walt reminded us, “There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.”
      • No matter the driver of WHY people are there the thing that keeps them there is centrality
        • Although I could find no record of Walt and Gruen ever meeting, in separate interviews they each shared the same belief that television and the suburbs were sapping the vitality out of our city centers. They both figured that if you lose the center, the community is soon to be lost as well.
      • Never lose sight of the "why" of a city
        • The promise of Progress City was that EPCOT would become a laboratory to test new technologies, processes, and policies to create more livable urban environments. Walt said the purpose for EPCOT was to “build a living showcase that more people will talk about and come to look at than any other place in the world”. EPCOT would have better access and less traffic than the traditional city. There would be a proper balance between public and private space. The community would enjoy many shared benefits and a logical relationship between the land uses and the connections that bind them together. The entire development would be very compact and would efficiently use the land, resources, and infrastructure in a thoughtful way. Walt wanted to build a city that was planned for people — not for the architecture magazines and the critics.
    • What is a [[Utopia]]?
      • It's problematic
        • Historian Joseph Corn said of projects like EPCOT, “Technological utopianism, a creed once widely held by historians and the general public alike, has been dealt a number of serious blows. It has become at once compelling as a topic of historical inquiry and problematic as a guide to public policy.” Walt’s EPCOT dream had become a historic case study. What lessons could we learn?
      • It's hierarchical
        • Marvin Davis said, “Walt’s thought was that in order to maintain the original philosophy of keeping this an experimental prototype, it would have to be something that was pretty much controlled by the company… This is something that we never really discuss very much publicly… In order to have the control that is necessary there, you would just about eliminate the possibility of having a voting community. Because the minute they start voting, then you lose control, and that’s the end of the possibility of experimental development.” #Democracy
      • It's collaborative
        • This would be a city “dedicated to the happiness of the people who live, work, and play here, and those who come here from around the world to visit our living showcase”. Welcome to Walt’s technological utopia! And he is not going to do this alone. He is “counting on the cooperation of American industry to provide their very best thinking during the planning and the creation of our Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”.
      • It's invented
        • In 1985, Howard P. Segal released [[Technological Utopianism in American Culture]], which focused on futurist fiction between 1883 and 1933 and identified the major themes shared by the authors. In Vinyl Leaves, Stephen Fjellman benchmarked Epcot Center against these themes and noted that many of these ideas were expressed in the theme park. Walt’s vision for EPCOT also shared many of these same themes. #[[Historical Futurist]]
      • It's conventional
        • As you recall, at the Florida press conference Walt said, “I don’t believe in going out to the extreme blue-sky stuff that some architects do. I believe that people still want to live like human beings.” When you peel back the layers, we find that Walt’s utopia was rather conventional with regard to existing construction technology; as an urban transect, virtually everything about it was tied one way or another to already existing communities.
    • [[Open Source Knowledge]]
      • Architect Matthew Frederick provided one definition for ^^**sharable knowledge**^^. He suggested, “If you can’t explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands, you don’t know your subject well enough.”
        • “Now you as teachers are not being sent out to teach new doctrine. You’re to teach the old [doctrine], ^^**not so plain that they can just understand, but you must teach the [doctrine] of the Church so plainly that no one can misunderstand”**^^ [[Harold B. Lee]] (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 458).
      • The purpose of a city is to create shared ideas and sociality
        • As Gruen suggests, “One of the primary purposes for a city is to bring together many people so that, through direct communication with each other, they may exchange goods and ideas without undue loss of energy and time.” Gruen says a city that is functioning properly gives one “free choice” to be “sociable” or to be private — to express your “human gregariousness” while meeting others or “the chance to disappear”.
      • Idea synthesis
        • It is revealing that the only urban planning book in Walt’s collection was Heart of Our Cities; certainly he must have resonated with its message, especially with regard to solving the mobility issues. Technologies for transportation systems were among Walt’s passions and specialties, and he made major improvements upon Gruen’s designs. For EPCOT, Walt proposed to use monorails, PeopleMovers, and electric vehicles to move people around. Once again, Walt would synthesize the best of other people’s ideas and create something not only better, but wholly unique.
    • Visionary's Mind
      • Quality
        • This would be no ordinary tunnel. Walt wanted to create a bit of drama. He proposed that the 90-foot tunnel be designed with a slight S-curve in the middle, such that a rider would not be able to see the exit when the train first enters the tunnel. For a brief moment, passengers were completely in the dark. In Inside the Dream, artist Herb Ryman recalls the foreman on the job suggested it was cheaper to build it straight. Walt’s angry retort was, “It’s cheaper not to do it at all.” As you would expect, Walt got his tunnel the way that he wanted it.
          • "If something is worth doing it's worth doing right."
      • Obsession & [[Focus]]
        • Walt Disney seemed to be the embodiment of the old adage that if you follow your bliss, you will find the greatest happiness. When he became passionate about something, Walt would devote a great deal of attention and time to focus on that subject. #[[Portfolio Ideas]]
        • “So the amusement park was really a secondary thing,” according to Marvin Davis. “[Walt] was interested in solving the urban problem. It’s a big scope, but that’s exactly what he was thinking.” When it came to the design of the East Coast Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Walt could not be bothered. When his artists would show him drawings, he would get irritated, make a quick decision, and then get back to what interested him. Roy set up a central committee to work on the amusement park; Walt was not included in the group.
      • Voracious Learning #[[Spirit of Humility]]
        • Once Walt became focused on building an amusement park, he began to study everything he could about the subject. He visited dozens of parks to see what worked and what did not.
        • “At Zip2 and PayPal, he felt comfortable standing up for his positions and directing teams of coders. At SpaceX, he had to pick things up on the job. Musk initially relied on textbooks to form the bulk of his rocketry [[Knowledge]]. But as SpaceX hired one brilliant person after another, Musk realized he could tap into their stores of knowledge. He would trap an engineer in the SpaceX factory and set to work grilling him about a type of valve or specialized material.”
        • "When [[Sam Walton]] meets you, he looks at you—head cocked to one side, forehead slightly creased—and he proceeds to extract every piece of information in your possession. He always makes little notes. And he pushes on and on. After two and a half hours, he left, and I was totally drained. I wasn’t sure what I had just met, but I was sure we would hear more from him.”
        • Diversity of [[Knowledge]] — “After attending seven regional conferences in seven states with President Hinckley, Elder Nelson learned what others who traveled with him also observed. Regardless of the destination, he knew something about the history of the area and its people. In the pear-growing area of Medford, Oregon, for example, President Hinckley started a priesthood leadership meeting with a dissertation of fruit trees and how important it was to prune trees in February so that there would be fruit in September. ‘President Hinckley doesn’t expect to be bowed to and prefers to be treated as though he is an ordinary worker,’ said Elder Nelson. ‘But he isn’t ordinary in any respect. He is a multifaceted [[genius]]. He understands anatomy and physiology better than any non-physician I have worked with. He talks with builders about finials and mullions and speaks the language unique to their profession. When questions arise that have legal ramifications, he typically says, ‘I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that…’ and them renders an opinion that my lawyer colleagues insist would be a credit to any lawyer. Whether it is medicine or law, education or plumbing, it doesn’t seem to matter. He grasps things quickly, has an amazing breadth of knowledge, and can apply what he knows.’ A man with an insatiable appetite for [[Learning]], President Hinckley not only read widely but found other ways to increase his knowledge and understanding of specialized areas of expertise. After observing him at another regional conference, Elder Nelson reported: ‘One of the security officers assigned to us worked for the local police department. We had time between sessions, and President Hinckley grilled that officer for an hour about their procedures, techniques, and even the equipment they used. I marveled that he knew which questions to ask, each of which was law-enforcement specific.’ Bishop [[Robert D. Hales]] added: ‘I have never met an individual who can become so well informed through reading and through contact with people. When he spends an evening at dinner with someone, he leaves knowing something about that individual’s expertise.’” #Conversation #[[Spirit of Humility]]
      • [[Long Term Thinking]]
        • The Florida Project was meant to be a long-term project. It was Walt’s hope that the project would keep his Imagineers busy for decades to come. His advice was, ^^**“Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.”**^^
      • [[Vision]]
        • Probably one of the most inspirational city planners in America was Daniel Burnham. Burnham was the force behind the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the World’s Fair along the Chicago shoreline that spawned the City Beautiful movement. Burnham drafted the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which to this day influences the way that city is developed. In the plan Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” He added, “Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” Anyone who has seen the few drawings of EPCOT that have been released to the public would agree that Burnham’s concept might have resonated with Walt.
        • EPCOT would have demonstrated the viability of the TOD concept and could have possibly kick-started the retrofitting of our urban areas. Had EPCOT been built, Walt really could have changed the world.
        • Most visionaries can build a vision themselves by brute force. How many can build a vision that outlasts them?
          • Wallace asked Nunis about EPCOT and asked why Disney never built Walt’s city of tomorrow. Nunis tried to dodge the question by suggesting that the plans Walt left behind were sketchy at best. He suggested the city idea transformed itself into the vacation resort. After all, there are thousands of guests spending the night, and they will become the citizens of EPCOT. His evasiveness made it clear: in the end, only Walt and a few others had been genuinely excited about the city-building project. The rest of his team was satisfied with simply building another theme park and vacation destination.
  • Notes::
    • [[Walt Disney]]’s vision was of a real city that would “never cease to be a blueprint of the future, where people actually live a life they can’t find anywhere else today.” So this was the City of Tomorrow!
    • By the time Walt Disney World opened, I was a student at the University of California at Irvine, where I took every class in urban studies and [[Urban Planning]] available to undergraduates. As someone fascinated by cities and by Disney parks, I was still waiting for [[EPCOT]] to get the green light — but each year, that seemed less likely. Walt Disney’s successors continued to quote him about EPCOT, but conveniently omitted any references to people living there. During the 1970s, the annual reports to the shareholders of Walt Disney Productions included beautiful Imagineering art showcasing concepts for EPCOT, but it evolved into a theme park, not a real city.
    • In 2009, I began reading a Disney fan blog called [[SamLand]], written by a professional urban planner named [[Sam Gennawey]]. In this blog, I found someone who shared my interest in cities and Disney. I was hooked. Sam applied his insight and experience in urban planning to explain why guests had such positive experiences at Disney parks. #look-it-up
    • Werner Weiss Yesterland.com #look-it-up
    • My obsession with these questions started long ago — but it was not until I was reading [[In Service to the Mouse]] that I fully understood why. The book is the autobiography of [[Jack Lindquist]], Disneyland’s first president. He was fortunate to learn his craft directly from Walt Disney. One of those lessons was that the best solutions usually came after a great deal of observation. #[[Be Observant]]
    • “Magic Highways USA” ends with a speculative look at the future of automobile [[Transportation]].
    • The pursuit of happiness is dependent on individual mobility. Movement equals freedom.
    • We learn that every problem has a technological fix. When that fix creates new, unexpected problems, we will simply find another technological fix. That solution then leads to other problems, and the cycle continues. For better or for worse, this is the definition of American progress.
    • For me, the fun comes from looking back more than fifty years to see how many of these predictions came true and which missed the mark. This show is a wonderful record of yesterday’s tomorrow. Yogi Berra was right when he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” #[[Historical Futurist]]
    • “Magic Highways USA” is the story of how Walt Disney believed that we could solve any problem with the right technology, creative thinking, and good old-fashioned hard work.
    • As with every opportunity that faced Walt, he was not satisfied with the status quo and knew he could do it better if given the chance. In the world of animation, the typical way to start is to pull out a blank sheet of paper. Walt knew the next time he decided to build a theme park that he would reach for the largest canvas he could find and buy enough land so that he could control what was in the frame. Just like the movies. In 1959, Walt was given a chance to do it the right way. A billionaire offered him a chance to build another Disneyland in Palm Beach, Florida — only this time, Walt would get to design the city that surrounded the park. Walt knew that there was a huge untapped market for another theme park on the East Coast. According to Harrison “Buzz” Price, a land use economist who advised Walt, although the Palm Beach project ultimately did not move forward, it became a defining moment for Walt: this is when he became obsessed with building a city.
    • For Walt, EPCOT would be a way for American corporations to show how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world. He saw this project as a way to influence the public’s expectations about city life, in the same way his earlier work had redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or visit an amusement park.
    • Building EPCOT would be Walt’s most ambitious project. It seems he was following [[Albert Einstein]]’s advice: “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
    • Author Richard Schickel said in The Disney Version, “Disney’s gift, from the beginning, was not as is commonly supposed, a ‘genius’ for artistic expression… it was for the exploitation of technological innovation.”
    • Walt said, “Somehow I can’t believe there are many heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secret of making dreams come true.” He was fond of saying that this secret could be summarized in four Cs: Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy. He added, “The greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all over, implicitly, and unquestioningly.” #Conviction
    • Author Ray Bradbury, a good friend of Walt’s, was asked if Walt was an optimist. Bradbury responded that Walt was not an optimist but an optimal behaviorist, a person who believes that “I behave at the top of my powers. Whatever gifts God gave me, I’ve tried to find out what they are, and make the best use of all my talents.”
    • Historian Joseph Corn said of projects like EPCOT, “Technological utopianism, a creed once widely held by historians and the general public alike, has been dealt a number of serious blows. It has become at once compelling as a topic of historical inquiry and problematic as a guide to public policy.” Walt’s EPCOT dream had become a historic case study. What lessons could we learn?
    • The timeless way of building is a concept first conceived by Austrian architect [[Christopher Alexander]], the first recipient of the medal for research ever awarded by the American Institute of Architects. He taught at the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley for thirty-eight years. His ideas influenced architecture, planning, object-oriented computer programming, and the Traditional Neighborhood Design and Sustainable Environmental Design movements. He was also a major influence on [[The New Urbanism]] community of city building professionals. Alexander was able to combine a scientific perspective with a view based on “beauty and grace,” and the results have been profound.
    • One of the most fundamental and relevant discoveries from Alexander’s research has been the realization that “human feeling is mostly the same, mostly the same from person to person, mostly the same in every person”. Some would argue that this could not be true as we are all individuals and we have different experiences, backgrounds, cultures, and education. Alexander acknowledged that “there is a part of human feeling where we are all different” and “each of us has our idiosyncrasies, our unique individual human character” and “we often concentrate on… talking about feelings, and comparing feelings”. Nonetheless, Alexander’s forty-year research has shown that those individual qualities account for only 10 percent of human feelings. The other 90 percent are the “stuff in which we are all the same and we feel the same things”. One of Walt Disney’s greatest gifts was his ability to understand and tap into those universal feelings.
    • Walt knew how to create and tell timeless stories. As many of his filmmaking peers would say, he was the best story man in the business. But timeless stories were not enough for Walt; he also wanted to create timeless places.
    • “Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well,” according to business philosopher [[Jim Rohn]]; this was one of Walt’s greatest strengths.
    • In DisneyWar, James B. Stewart defined the Disney magic as that moment when “people’s apprehension turns into awe and delight”. When Disney guests step into the environment based on a timeless way of building — an environment that has the quality without a name — they realize that they are in a place where their dreams can come true.
    • Architect Matthew Frederick provided one definition for ^^**sharable knowledge**^^. He suggested, “If you can’t explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands, you don’t know your subject well enough.”
    • When you enter a space that feels right, you know it possesses that “quality without a name” immediately, even if you are not able to articulate why you have these feelings. If you are asked to list why you have such positive feelings, you soon discover that your words are inadequate. It is almost impossible to truly capture the experience in such a way that it can be shared; however, you know the quality does exist, because you have just experienced it.
    • In 101 Things I Learned in Architectural School, Matthew Frederick teaches us that “our experience of an architectural space is strongly influenced by how we arrive in it”.
    • Walt used a well-known architectural trick called “denial and reward”. This is achieved by deflecting the first view of Town Square by the use of tunnels that pass under the railroad tracks.
    • Let’s grab a seat on the Wizard of Bras porch. As you enter Disneyland and stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. on your way toward Sleeping Beauty Castle, you will pass the Silhouette Studio on the right-hand side. Next door to the studio is a frilly Victorian façade with a small front porch. A few steps lead to a bench and two chairs that are bolted to the floor. This is the spot.
    • Functionally, the Main Street corridor is between two “Activity Nodes” and becomes a “Promenade”. The corridor is designed to be a “Shopping Street” with a “Market of Many Shops”. The atmosphere is almost a “Carnival” and it is not uncommon to see “Dancing in the Street”. Main Street becomes “Common Land” and a “Public Outdoor Room”. The façades were designed in a way that creates the appearance of “Individually Owned Shops”, even though we know that is not a reflection of the reality inside. There are “Street Cafés”, “Food Stands”, and occasionally people “Sleeping in Public” in Town Square and in the Plaza Hub.
    • As Alexander says, “The simple social intercourse created when people rub shoulders in public is one of the most essential kinds of social ‘glue’ in society.” #[[Building in Public]]
    • What may matter most is that the Imagineers were thoughtful enough to include a place to pause and reflect, relax and unwind, yet still be a part of the action. As the other Disneyland-type parks have grown much larger and grander, they have eliminated this type of space. That is one reason why the park in Anaheim feels more intimate than the others. This is a perfect example of a space that has that quality without a name and achieves a higher degree of life. The Wizard of Bras porch example only scratches at the surface of how to use A Pattern Language to describe the experience of a space so that it can be shared and possibly duplicated elsewhere.
    • Alexander’s first assertion is that “centers arise in space”. Centers have to start in a specific place. Walt wanted a specific, identifiable space at the center of his park that would clearly orientate guests to the various “lands”, or what planners would call “adjacent activity nodes”. The Partners statue is at the center of such a place, and it is called the Plaza Hub. This hub serves as a distribution point. Its function is at the heart of its design. This circulation pattern is known as the radial plan or — in “Disneyspeak” — the hub-and-spoke.
    • The Plaza Hub orients and reassures the guests with minimal signage and direction. This space bridges every culture and speaks a universal language.
    • Walt’s ambitions as a city builder were to apply those qualities to something much bigger than Disneyland. He wanted to build a new town that possessed the quality of wholeness; he wanted to bring back the qualities of life that would rescue our humanity. If he were to succeed, he might just change the world. Again. #[[Elon Musk]]
    • The buildings are set back from the interior streets and lined with grass lawns and oak trees. Even the utilities are placed underground and hidden from view. The overall effect is less a factory and more like a suburban office park. The entire studio feels very intimate and welcoming.
    • After spending so much time with Walt on the trip, Ward said, “Walt Disney was just a down-to-earth farmer’s boy who happened to be a genius.” Walt would discount this description. He said his success “was built by hard work and enthusiasm, integrity of purpose, a devotion to our medium, confidence in its future, and, above all, by steady day-by-day growth in which we all simply studied our trade and learned”.
    • This would be no ordinary tunnel. Walt wanted to create a bit of drama. He proposed that the 90-foot tunnel be designed with a slight S-curve in the middle, such that a rider would not be able to see the exit when the train first enters the tunnel. For a brief moment, passengers were completely in the dark. In Inside the Dream, artist Herb Ryman recalls the foreman on the job suggested it was cheaper to build it straight. Walt’s angry retort was, “It’s cheaper not to do it at all.” As you would expect, Walt got his tunnel the way that he wanted it.
    • Walt Disney seemed to be the embodiment of the old adage that if you follow your bliss, you will find the greatest happiness. When he became passionate about something, Walt would devote a great deal of attention and time to focus on that subject. #[[Portfolio Ideas]]
    • Once Walt became focused on building an amusement park, he began to study everything he could about the subject. He visited dozens of parks to see what worked and what did not.
    • Harrison “Buzz” Price’s book, Walt’s Revolution by the Numbers #books-to-read
    • The process that he used when working with Walt was a “Yes, if…” line of attack. Price said, “‘ Yes, if…’ is the approach of a deal maker. It points to what needs to be done to make the possible plausible. ‘No, because…’ is the language of a deal killer. Creative people thrive on ‘Yes, if.’” He added, “Walt liked this language.” #improv
    • “Most of Mr. Disney’s proposed park produces no revenue but it will be expensive to build and maintain,” said the focus group. “Things like the castle and pirate ship are cute but they aren’t rides so there is no economic reason to build them. There is too much wasteful landscaping.” They also found other examples of waste. Spaces like Town Square with its little park, City Hall, and a fire station were not designed to make any money. Those structures were a poor use of real estate and did not add to the bottom line. Even the Main Street vehicles like the horse trolley, fire truck, and omnibus would be money-losers because they also suffered from a capacity issue.
    • Walt appreciated the practical tips; but he was always ready to compete when he thought he had a better idea, and the results of this focus group was the affirmation he needed to hear. Rather than being dissuaded, he was even more certain that his idea would work. Instead of another amusement park, Walt knew he was creating the first theme park. The difference between the two, as explained by J.G. O’Boyle in Persistence of Vision magazine, is, “A theme park is not ride-dependent. A theme park without rides is still a theme park. An amusement park without rides is a parking lot with popcorn.”
    • [[Jane Jacobs]] — noted author of [[The Death and Life of Great American Cities]] and savior of large areas of historic Manhattan — described “the city as organized complexity”. Among other factors, architect Robert Venturi came to the conclusion that successful and dynamic urban environments contain a “messy vitality over obvious unity”. Both agree that it is this quality that is necessary if a place is to feel authentic and resonate with meaning to the users. Such places are embedded with quality, variety, and surprise. As a result, the environment puts you slightly on edge, and you feel more alert and alive in a delightful way. There is a delicate balance, however. Too much of this messy vitality and you will only encourage fear.
    • Walt himself said, “Physically, Disneyland would be a small world in itself — it would encompass the essence of the things that were good and true in American life. It would reflect the faith and challenge of the future, the entertainment, the interest in intelligently presented facts, the stimulation of the imagination, the standards of health and achievement, and above all, a sense of strength, contentment, and well-being.”
    • Evangelist Billy Graham once told Walt that Disneyland was “a nice fantasy”. This did not sit well with Walt. He replied, “You know the fantasy isn’t here. This is very real… The Park is reality. The people are natural here; they’re having a good time; they’re communicating. This is what people really are. The fantasy is — out there, outside the gates of Disneyland, where people have hatreds and people have prejudices. It’s not really real!”
    • When somebody suggested the only reason people go to Disneyland was escapism, John Hench took offense and disagreed. He said, “There was never a Main Street like this. But it reminds you of some things about yourself.” He added, “What we are selling is not escapism, but reassurance.” A visit to Disneyland reassures us that things will be okay. Here, everything works, places can be clean, people can be nice, and the pace of the world feels right. Marty Sklar and John Hench have described the urban design for Disneyland as the “architecture of reassurance”.
    • Although he was no fan, Robert Venturi does concede, “Disney is nearer to what people really want than anything architects have ever given them.”
    • John Hench said the architecture, colors, background sounds, music, and smells create an environment where “the order here at Disneyland works on people, the sense of harmony. They feel more content here, in a way that they can’t explain. You find strangers talking to each other without fear.”
    • Walt looked at all sorts of public spaces and their circulation patterns. He said, “I’ve been studying the way people move at museums and other entertainment places. Everybody’s got tired feet. I don’t want that to happen in this place.” He called this problem “museum feet”. He described the feeling when “the ache of having walked too much just to get through the place” made the visit unpleasant. He figured that he could mitigate this issue through better planning. “I want a place for people to sit down and where older folks can say, ‘you kids run on. I’ll meet you there in a half hour,’” Walt said. “Disneyland is going to be a place where you can’t get lost or tired unless you want to.” #[[Be Observant]] #Experimentation
    • Walt sensed there was a change happening in the American culture. Families in the 1950s had begun to reset their expectations for what was meant by progress. There was a growing national consensus that proclaimed that cleanliness and uniformity was a sign of progress. With the spread of freeways, people preferred to patronize modern, familiar motel chains and eat in clean coffee shops housed in space-age Googie23-style buildings. Walt assumed correctly that they would want to visit a different type of family amusement park as well.
    • By the early 1950s, many historic main streets in the United States had been threatened by shopping malls followed by suburban housing tracts to the suburbs. Downtowns had become run down and were considered irrelevant. New regional shopping malls — like Victor Gruen’s Northland Center in a Detroit suburb and his enclosed Southdale Center near Edina, Minneapolis — were the new center of commerce. To compete, many cities reinvented their historic central business districts by prohibiting automobile traffic and creating downtown pedestrian malls. Most of these conversions failed, furthering the decline of many downtowns. #malls
    • Disneyland helped to save “downtown” from the wrecking ball and established a higher value for preservation and rehabilitation.
    • Walt had a vision about a new way to teach the arts. His experience had taught him that everything was interrelated and that a multidisciplinary approach is the best way to achieve greatness. The curriculum would blend dance, art, music, film, and theater into a well-rounded experience. #[[Multidisciplinary Thinking]]
    • Walt wanted a similarly interdisciplinary art school, which he called CalArts, short for the California Institute of the Arts. According to Buzz Price, the objective for Walt’s art college would be “to create an inter-disciplinary professional art school where artists could be broadened by exposure to and study of different art forms — art, music, dance, theater, film, animation, and creative writing”. The school would be designed “to offer students the opportunity of being taught by professionals, leading to employability. Employability was a unique new objective in the field of art education.” #[[Multidisciplinary Thinking]] #Apprenticeship
    • While most art schools focused on theory, CalArts would be similar to Columbia College Chicago, which stressed the practical application of the arts.
    • Urban planner Marsha V. Rood, FAICP, said, “[[Creativity]] is where diverse skills, diversity of population and a place to engage overlap.” That was the type of environment that Walt had envisioned for his campus.
    • As we learned in the final segment of “Magic Highways USA”, anything is possible if there is the will. Why else would a man who rarely spent time in school want to build one? Why else would an animator want to build a model city (and actually did build a model of it)? Walt wanted to spark the imagination of others and give them the tools to work together to make things better than the sum of their parts.
    • Always curious, Walt was frequently inspired by his trips abroad, and he brought back ideas that he would later integrate into Disneyland and his other projects. The trips expanded his vision; they got him away from the stress at the studio and gave him a chance to travel, to observe, and to think. #[[Be Observant]]
    • Walt had always valued the contributions of his professional staff; he was reluctant to build a project that would be staffed primarily by less-committed seasonal workers. #Collaboration
    • A century before there was Disneyland, there were World’s Fairs. Walt was influenced by World’s Fairs, and he in turn influenced a number of these major global events. His experience with World’s Fairs helped feed his interest and understanding of city planning; many elements of the Disney theme park experience are rooted in these spectacular temporary international events.
    • Any World’s Fair represents the ultimate “invented place”. The best of the fairs captured the public’s imagination like no other event. Many times the ideas on display were so powerful that community leaders would return home and commit vast sums of money, political capital, and land to transform their cities to reflect the latest trends.
    • [[Paul Anderson]], who has written the definitive history of Disney’s participation at World’s Fairs. #look-it-up
    • Perhaps more importantly to our story, it was at the Brussels fair that Walt Disney viewed the exhibit Industrial Parks USA, which would influence his thinking about EPCOT.
    • Some 30 years later, Scully was still cautious about the impact of Disney’s influence on the built environment. In an essay he wrote, “When you ‘wish upon a star’ you die like everybody else. This is a fundamental problem for Disney, dealing with American wish fulfillment — always, like it or not, the very stuff of dreams — as [Disney] invariably does.” In Building a Dream, Beth Dunlop wrote, “There was a time, of course, when the name ‘Disney’ was considered little more than a pejorative term in the realm of architecture, a synonym for fake or cute.”
    • What was not known to the general public was that the attraction was specifically designed as a prototype for the system that Walt wanted to install in his futuristic city of EPCOT. Just as he did with the monorail, Walt was using Disneyland as a way of testing the durability of the technology. It was one of the breakthrough technologies that helped spatially define Tomorrowland.
    • Urban planner and master builder [[Robert Moses]] was arguably the most powerful man in New York for 48 years, from the early 1920s through the better part of the 1960s. As the head of a number of semi-public agencies, including director of the New York City Public Works Department, Moses had created a power base that allowed him unprecedented power without having to be responsible to the public or to elected officials. Under his leadership, New York built tunnels, bridges, parks, and parkways — all at the expense of mass transit. Moses did not hesitate to destroy existing neighborhoods in pursuit of what he considered “progress”. He shaped New York’s physical environment more than any other single person, and it reflected his vision of what that great city should be.
    • Gruen believed that there was an underlying cellular nature to a properly built community. If the basic unit of life is a cell, and millions of cells can come together to create an organism, he reasoned that an urban structure based on cells (clusters of mixed-use development) would be the healthiest system. Mixed use refers to a building or a cluster of buildings in the same general area through adjacency with multiple functions that coexist and can include residential, commercial, office, or live/ work space. This blending of functions enhances pedestrian activity and safety, and it reduces the need for parking space. Think of the image of Main Street, U.S.A. Downstairs are the shops, and upstairs are the imaginary offices of important people. A crucial benefit of a cellular urban organization is that it can be scaled as small as a home or as large as a metropolis.
    • To illustrate the cellular concept, Gruen compared a city to the human body. In a person, a healthy heart is one that shows high cardiac output. For a city, the central business district is the heart, which must demonstrate “high vitality”. Vitality is measured by the ability of primary functions to perform successfully and without strain. A healthy city is one with an “infinite variety whose buildings and structures form, between them, spaces of differing size and character, narrow or broad, serene or dynamic, modest or monumental, contrasting with each other by virtue of varied treatment of pavement, landscaping, and lighting”. The only way to achieve “high vitality” is to ensure that the secondary or “utilitarian” functions are also working well. These utilitarian functions include sewer systems, the telecommunications networks, power supply, and transportation systems.
    • Atmosphere is about function. As noted author Jane Jacobs said, the “main purpose is to enliven the streets with variety and detail”. She added, “The whole point is to make the streets more surprising, more compact, more variegated and busier than before — not less so.” Atmosphere does not come about because of showy architectural statements. As architect Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details”; for many people, this is what is referred to as the “Disney Difference”.
    • Gruen believed that “one of the main tenets of modern planning philosophy was the complete separation of various modes of traffic from each other and the separation of pedestrian traffic from all of them”. In his proposal, the central core of the fair would be elevated on a raised platform constructed of pre-fabricated, reinforced concrete elements. Underneath the platform would be a network of utility corridors.
    • The plans also called for almost a one-to-one ratio of residential acreage to recreational areas. More than 500 acres were to be dedicated to schools. There would be another 500 acres allotted to industrial uses. The post-fair community would be a full-service and balanced city.
    • Gruen said, “The World’s Fair will be enriched by the inclusion of structures which will permit the visitor actually to experience elements of the CITY OF TOMORROW in accordance with the newest scientific, sociological and technological concepts.”
    • In Gruen’s plan, construction would begin as soon as the fair ended on a ring of high-density residential units surrounding the commercial core. Beyond those homes would be another ring that would blend neighborhood services with lower-density attached residential units. Outside of this core, still lower-density attached residential units would be connected by greenways. Finally, the entire development would be “surrounded by parking and transportation facilities ringed, in turn, by an outer area of open land”. He compared this urban form to a medieval castle and city. Also included in the post-fair plan was an international amusement park. “These facilities will be developed along the lines of the successfully operated Disneyland, near Los Angeles, California.”
    • In May 1960, Ada Louise Huxtable, a Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic, wrote an intriguing — and, possibly for Walt, influential — article for Horizon magazine. 42 In the article, “Out of a Fair”, she reviewed Victor Gruen’s post-fair plan and noted that his vision called for a community that “promises comfort, convenience, and calculated visual pleasure”. The article was published just about the same time that the Disney deal with John D. MacArthur in Palm Beach fell through.
    • Huxtable outlined the features of the post-fair plan. Since many of the fair buildings would be retained, the city would have an immediate, vital commercial and cultural center. She admired how Gruen understood that the new city would develop over time and that each addition would enhance and embellish what was there before. She suggested that the plan was “a scheme that would be applicable for any city where sufficient open land is available”.
    • Walt Disney said, “I don’t believe that there’s a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities.” Walt felt that something was wrong with the way cities were designed, and he believed that, with the proper application of new technologies and creative thinking, he could create a city that would demonstrate to others how they could solve their urban planning problems.
    • Science fiction author [[Ray Bradbury]] declared “that the first function of architecture is to make men over, make them wish to go on living, feed them fresh oxygen, grow them tall, delight their eyes, make them kind… Disneyland liberates men to their better selves. Here the wild brute is gently corralled, not squished and squashed, not put upon and harassed, not tromped on by real-estate operators, not exhausted by smog and traffic.”
    • Disney Legend John Hench said, “Disneyland was very courageous on Walt’s part, and Florida shows the most guts of anything… to take a kind of civilization, make it ideal, and then to make it practical.” With the success of Disneyland, Walt understood that there was a better way to organize and manage the urban environment. When done properly, this new thinking would create a world with the kind of places we want to return to again and again — because they are based on a “timeless way of building” and offer a higher quality of life for everyone. Walt also understood that he was the person best suited to take on the challenge.
    • Urban planning policies and construction techniques after World War II had created lifeless, sprawling cities designed for the automobile and not for people. Victor Gruen called this type of development the Anti-City.
    • Peter Katz, one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism movement, said, “Cities have to move to a new system. [City planners] should look at the streets they like and the public spaces they like and then write the rules to get more of what they like and less of what they don’t.” He warned, “Conventional zoning doesn’t do that. It just gives a use and a density and then you hope for the best.” #Zoning
    • What about the professionals who can solve all of these problems? Just as Walt had observed in the arts world, there were no Renaissance people among city planners, no generalists. Every part of the process became its own discipline, and the segregation of the design, engineering, permitting authorities, construction professionals, and many other specialties resulted in places with no personality.
    • Why did Walt feel he could contribute to solving some of these problems? Maybe he realized he was one of the only people who could do what was necessary because he had done it before. He could contribute experience. Architect Peter Blake, the New York magazine architecture critic, said, “The truth of the matter is the only new towns of any significance built in America since World War II are Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Both are ‘new,’ both are ‘towns’ and both are staggeringly successful.”
    • What Walt could do was to entertain and educate. A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” John Hench said, “Walt believed that the experience was most important. People could always read about ideas or see photographs of new concepts. They would find it more compelling if they went through it themselves. Once people experienced something first-hand, they could go home to their own communities and make changes.” According to Hench, Walt said, “[E]xperiences were the only thing that you really own. They were yours.”
    • The Florida Project was meant to be a long-term project. It was Walt’s hope that the project would keep his Imagineers busy for decades to come. His advice was, ^^**“Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.”**^^
    • “So the amusement park was really a secondary thing,” according to Marvin Davis. “[Walt] was interested in solving the urban problem. It’s a big scope, but that’s exactly what he was thinking.” When it came to the design of the East Coast Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Walt could not be bothered. When his artists would show him drawings, he would get irritated, make a quick decision, and then get back to what interested him. Roy set up a central committee to work on the amusement park; Walt was not included in the group.
    • Within EPCOT Walt promised, “Children going to and from schools and playgrounds will use these paths, always completely safe and separated from the automobile.”
    • According to Disney Legend Ray Watson, Walt was also a big fan of [[Stockholm]], Sweden. He kept a booklet about the city in his office. From 1950 to 1970, city planners had modernized Stockholm by building four new satellite towns. Each satellite town featured its own high-density center around the transit node and had a mix of uses including shopping, commercial, and residential. The satellite towns consisted of functional pods; each pod connected to the town center by a radial subway system and highways. Walt’s EPCOT plans were clearly influenced by the Stockholm satellite design.
    • The story of how Disney acquired that much property in a way that did not inflate the price of the land deserves a book of its own. Law professor Chad Emerson artfully tells that story in Project Future. According to Price, “He wanted it, he told Florida he wanted it, and he got it.” #[[Real Estate]]
    • Walt’s intention was to use the experimental new town as a way to demonstrate the latest thinking in technology, service delivery, and governance. He wanted to build his city from scratch on virgin land, heeding [[Henry Ford]]’s advice: “We shall solve the City Problem by leaving the City.” Walt wanted to move away from the dominant model of suburban sprawl that was rapidly taking root throughout the United States. He wanted to demonstrate a different model that relied upon a mixed-use, transit-oriented development. [[John Hench]] said that EPCOT would “show how many of today’s city problems can be solved through proper master planning”.
    • Walt said, “I would like to be part of building a model community, a City of Tomorrow, you might say, because I don’t believe in going out to the extreme blue-sky stuff that some architects do. I believe that people still want to live like human beings. There’s a lot of things that could be done.” He added, “I’m not against the automobile, but I just feel that the automobile has moved into communities too much. I feel that you can design so that the automobile is there, but still put people back as pedestrians, you see. I’d love to work on a project like that.” Walt was also excited about building the school of tomorrow. Walt wanted the school to be a pilot operation for teaching aids.
    • On November 3, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966. The program was administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Later changed to the Model Cities Act, the legislation was a result of civil unrest in major American cities. The goals for the program were to “provide financial and technical assistance to develop ‘new and imaginative proposals’ and revitalize large slum and blighted areas; to expand housing, job, and income opportunities; to reduce dependence on welfare payments; to improve educational facilities; to combat disease and ill health; to reduce crime and delinquency; to enhance recreational and cultural opportunities; to establish better access between homes and jobs”.
    • Art Linkletter reviewed the film about EPCOT and said, “Don’t build another Disneyland.” Walt said, “Art, it’s not another Disneyland. I have learned things. I have a better plan and an idea of what to do. This will not be a sequel. This will be a city where people will live, work, and enjoy a better way of life.” Linkletter approved and said, “Great Walt. Build it.” He added, “He looked at me with sunken eyes, almost as if he knew he had little time left, and that was the last time I saw him.”
    • The project “will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.” Most importantly, Walt reminded us, “There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.”
    • Helliwell convinced Walt and Roy that creating their own municipality would give them the greatest control over the property. A municipality would allow for ways to limit the review of other agencies, thereby providing the greatest flexibility. It would allow them to control the utilities. In Married to the Mouse, Richard Fogelsong summed up a 1966 ERA report, noting, “Both capitalism and democracy were problematic; each produced fragmentation of effort. The Disney solution was centralized administration — benign, paternalistic, based on expertise.”
    • Marvin Davis said, “Walt’s thought was that in order to maintain the original philosophy of keeping this an experimental prototype, it would have to be something that was pretty much controlled by the company… This is something that we never really discuss very much publicly… In order to have the control that is necessary there, you would just about eliminate the possibility of having a voting community. Because the minute they start voting, then you lose control, and that’s the end of the possibility of experimental development.” #Democracy
    • How unprecedented was this action? The governor turned to Roy and said, “Mr. Disney, I’ve studied the Reedy Creek Improvement District. It’s very comprehensive. I noticed only one omission. You made no provision for the crown.”
    • To describe Walt’s power of persuasion, Edna Disney, Roy O. Disney’s wife, told Richard Hubler in 1968, “Walt had a way of telling you about what he wanted to do and explaining it to you in a way that you fell right in line with him. You would go right along with him; you couldn’t help it. He just had a way of telling it to you that way.” She added, “Walt had very expressive brown eyes, and he used his eyes a lot. He’d use his eyes and hands and tell you all about everything and explain it all to you. That was his way of making you believe it all — and he was usually right.” But Walt was gone. #[[Public Speaking]] #Conversation
    • He was heard to say that drawings lie, but models always tell the truth. Models can help the designer understand a project in new ways. A carefully crafted, highly detailed model can affirm the design direction or point out fatal flaws. This may explain why he required so many of his projects to go through modeling as part of the design process — even a project as large as a city. #Experimentation #Prototype
    • As proof of the validity of Walt’s accomplishments, the announcer quotes extensively from James Rouse’s 1963 speech to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, in which he explained why he believed “the greatest piece of urban design in the United States today is Disneyland”.
    • In the film, Walt tells us, “I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities.” In order to implement this vision, he proclaims that “[we] start with the public need. And the need is not just curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a special kind of new community.” He cautions us that “the sketches and plans you will see today are simply a starting point”. We are warned that “everything in this room may change time and time again as we move ahead”. But he promises, “The basic philosophy of what we’re planning for Disney World is going to remain very much as it is right now.”
    • This would be a city “dedicated to the happiness of the people who live, work, and play here, and those who come here from around the world to visit our living showcase”. Welcome to Walt’s technological utopia! And he is not going to do this alone. He is “counting on the cooperation of American industry to provide their very best thinking during the planning and the creation of our Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”.
    • At the end of the film, Walt gives a call to action; he wants to “bring together the technical know-how of American industry and the creative imagination of the Disney organization”. The result will be “a showcase to the world of the American free enterprise system”. 56 John Hench said, “Walt saw building a city very much like a movie. You start with scene one, which relates to scene two and scene three. And you don’t leave out any of the parts.” He added, “There’s a flow of relations that you must have so that their attention doesn’t wander.”
    • I met Dave Smith while taking a tour of the Disney Archives. I asked him if Walt had been reading any urban planning books at the time of his death. He told me, “Actually, on checking in [Walt’s] office inventory, [I found that] he had only one book on the subject, [[The Heart of Our Cities]] by [[Victor Gruen]].” The book, published in 1964, is Gruen at his best as he explores ideas for city building based on his research and his experience. #books-to-read
    • As Gruen suggests, “One of the primary purposes for a city is to bring together many people so that, through direct communication with each other, they may exchange goods and ideas without undue loss of energy and time.” Gruen says a city that is functioning properly gives one “free choice” to be “sociable” or to be private — to express your “human gregariousness” while meeting others or “the chance to disappear”.
    • Although I could find no record of Walt and Gruen ever meeting, in separate interviews they each shared the same belief that television and the suburbs were sapping the vitality out of our city centers. They both figured that if you lose the center, the community is soon to be lost as well.
    • Gruen also expresses frustration with the lack of progress in the development of new public transportation technologies. He comments that millions of people go to Disneyland to ride a monorail that is being promoted as the transportation system of the future, but he is disappointed that the technology had been around since the 1890s.
      • [[Disney]] needs a [[Walt Disney]]-caliber CEO and then they need to partner with [[Tesla]]. I used to say Disney should buy Tesla but maybe Tesla should buy Disney.
    • It is revealing that the only urban planning book in Walt’s collection was Heart of Our Cities; certainly he must have resonated with its message, especially with regard to solving the mobility issues. Technologies for transportation systems were among Walt’s passions and specialties, and he made major improvements upon Gruen’s designs. For EPCOT, Walt proposed to use monorails, PeopleMovers, and electric vehicles to move people around. Once again, Walt would synthesize the best of other people’s ideas and create something not only better, but wholly unique.
    • Land is a valuable, limited resource. City planners manage the process that enhances that resource through development or preservation.
    • Planners “measure it, manage it, regulate it”, and try to find the best possible use for the land. Sometimes they even get it right.
    • Good planning is dynamic. H. Stanley Judd said, “A good plan is like a road map; it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” Land is a precious resource, and it must be managed well or we will create places that are unlivable and do not reach their highest potential.
    • “Architecture is the thoughtful making of space,” according to the great architect [[Louis Kahn]]. Many architects are focused on the object and how that object interacts within the context of the surrounding space. City planners, however, deal with the process. They provide direction for the application of the patterns that lead to good design, and they draft the policies that allow for creation of thoughtful spaces.
    • Matthew Frederick said, “Engineers tend to be concerned with physical things in and of themselves. Architects are more directly concerned with the human interface with physical things.” He added, “An architect knows something about everything. An engineer knows everything about one thing.” Walt well understood this tension between planners, architects, and engineers and with great pride coined the name for his team of designers that represents a blending of all of the disciplines: [[Imagineer]]. #Cult
    • Another genius and influence was Harrison “Buzz” Price, who figured out a way to measure virtually anything. He had a unique ability to take Walt’s abstract dreams and translate them into algorithms that could count every potential dollar. This layer of discipline allowed Walt to focus even harder on creating the best possible experience, knowing all the while that with Price’s contribution he would never stray too far from reality. After all, it was the money that he made on one project that helped to pay for the next new big idea. As we have seen, Walt was a dreamer, but Walt was also a practical man. #capitalism
    • Probably one of the most inspirational city planners in America was Daniel Burnham. Burnham was the force behind the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the World’s Fair along the Chicago shoreline that spawned the City Beautiful movement. Burnham drafted the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which to this day influences the way that city is developed. In the plan Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” He added, “Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” Anyone who has seen the few drawings of EPCOT that have been released to the public would agree that Burnham’s concept might have resonated with Walt.
    • There were other larger-than-life characters in planning: for example, the all-too-powerful [[Robert Moses]] and his foe, writer [[Jane Jacobs]], who wrote with such clarity that she changed the way we look at our existing neighborhoods and taught us how to understand, appreciate, and protect our shared vision.
      • Someone should write a book about the feud between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs #[[Writing Projects]]
    • What Walt wanted to get back to was the human-scale community. He wanted to return the public realm back to people. He knew that, for too long, we had been designing our public and private spaces for the convenience of the automobile. There had to be a better way.
    • Human habitats tend to develop along some very familiar patterns. Andres Duany, one of the founders of the New Urbanism movement, documented three such patterns. He called these models Urban Boundary, the Rural Boundary Model, and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). Walt’s EPCOT is a rare example of a community that could be successfully based on a blend of all three.
    • Basically, the Urban Boundary method of regulating growth looks at the statistical needs of the city and projects a line on a map that delineates what is urban and what is rural. Sometimes this is called an urban growth boundary. Anything outside of that boundary is considered a different community. The goal is to protect the countryside from unwanted development. The City of Portland, Oregon, among others, has adopted this model. It is easy to identify a community based on the Urban Boundary model. The region typically has a dense urban core surrounded by neighborhoods. Each core is connected to other city cores by rail or highways.
    • In the Rural Boundary model, planners start by setting aside specific sensitive areas and allowing development to reach those boundaries over time. MacKaye said this was like building a levee to protect special environmental areas and allowing the development stream to come right to the edge. In this process, planners design with nature.
    • Sometimes these development nodes at intersections are bigger than central core cities, as documented in 1991 by [[Joel Garreau]] in [[Edge City: Life on the New Frontier]].
    • A third way to organize the land use and transportation network for a community is TOD. Peter Calthorpe literally wrote the book on the subject — The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream (1993) — and he defines a TOD as a “mixed-use community within an average one-half mile pedestrian shed with a transit shop and core commercial development”. This development pattern is similar to the railway suburbs of the 19th century. Mixed use refers to a building or a cluster of buildings with multiple functions that could include residential, commercial, office, or live/ work space. This blending of functions enhances pedestrian activity and safety, and it reduces the need for parking space. Think of the image of Main Street, U.S.A. Downstairs are the shops, and upstairs are the imaginary offices of important people.
    • In the TOD model, transportation systems are the driving design force, with transit stations placed at regular intervals. Surrounding each transit station is a compact, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. A successful TOD mixes residential, retail, office, and open space. Living in a community based on this model gives people options to commute using transit, bicycle, or on foot. Having these mobility options makes life convenient and functional for residents and employees.
    • A properly designed TOD has a vibrancy and urbanity that is absent from most of suburbia.
    • Since cars are still a necessity for some people, TOD parking is generally pushed behind buildings, within structures, placed in the interior of the block, or put below grade. The ground floor uses remain pedestrian-oriented, enlivening the street.
    • EPCOT would have demonstrated the viability of the TOD concept and could have possibly kick-started the retrofitting of our urban areas. Had EPCOT been built, Walt really could have changed the world.
    • Walt’s development process started with mapping the existing conditions and determining very early on which areas would be preserved and which would be developed. It is a nod to his genius that, although EPCOT was not built, the long-term Disney World development pattern has roughly mirrored his very first sketch.
    • The promise of Progress City was that EPCOT would become a laboratory to test new technologies, processes, and policies to create more livable urban environments. Walt said the purpose for EPCOT was to “build a living showcase that more people will talk about and come to look at than any other place in the world”. EPCOT would have better access and less traffic than the traditional city. There would be a proper balance between public and private space. The community would enjoy many shared benefits and a logical relationship between the land uses and the connections that bind them together. The entire development would be very compact and would efficiently use the land, resources, and infrastructure in a thoughtful way. Walt wanted to build a city that was planned for people — not for the architecture magazines and the critics.
    • It was futurist Glen Heimstra who said, “Trying to cure traffic congestion with more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.” The design team knew they could not afford to build massive freeways, but they could use the roadways smarter through technology.
    • The monorail is “for rapid transit over longer distances” and the WEDway PeopleMover is “for shorter travel distances”. Each transit system is the right scale and the right technology for the job.
    • When Walt decided to build a city, he figured a monorail system would become the transportation backbone for the entire project. At Disneyland, Walt had proven it could function reliably and provide a high level of service, and he wanted to integrate the technology into his city. The success of this transportation system is a principal reason why Walt thought that EPCOT could work as a city.
    • This type of transportation system has an even deeper significance to the success of EPCOT. According to Michael Sorkin, “The driverless people-mover — its motions seemingly dictated by the invisible hand, mechanical creature of supply and demand — is a symbol of this economic fantasy of perfect self-government.”
    • His first “view” of an idea was not its parts; rather, he saw the big picture and then drilled down into the tiniest of details, which intensified the locational character. That is how he was able to create such immersive environments. For any given environment, Walt made sure that all of the essential components were present.
    • Only recently has the transect concept been applied to human settlements. This tool makes it easier to understand the organization of the components for city building. With this tool a community can regulate buildings, lot size, land use, street configurations, the public realm, and everything else necessary for community living; the urban transect concept unleashes the creative talents of well-trained designers and enables them to build beautiful, functional places.
    • In Magic Lands, John Findlay said Walt’s goal was to create “readily identifiable, thoughtfully planned, distinctively western environments that, like a mental map, simplified land-use patterns”. His use of the single entrance and the radial, or hub-and-spoke, site plan for Disneyland made all the difference. The Imagineers adopted this successful formula and applied it to the design for EPCOT.
    • The EPCOT Center City exhibits the five fundamental rules that distinguish it from [[suburban sprawl]]. There is a center with identifiable neighborhoods. From most points, we would only have to walk five minutes to get to the center. The street network is legible and safe. Like the streets at the Burbank studio, the EPCOT streets are narrow, allowing the pedestrian to feel in charge. Land uses are blended and mixed; there are no large single-purpose developments.
    • Walt loved nostalgia and knew others did as well. In A Voice from the Attic, Robertson Davies wrote, “The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.” This grounding into a comfortable reality is what Walt was trying to achieve by avoiding all that “blue-sky stuff”.
    • We enjoy spaces best when they appeal to all of our senses. If we can look, listen, smell, taste, and touch the good things, we are more comfortable. Walt’s solution throughout Disneyland was to pick the right surface materials and appropriate music, and to install Smellitzers, a special machine that pumps out the scent of cookies and candy. He applied the same solution for the themed areas inside of EPCOT.
    • Life in the EPCOT Town Center apartments is very exciting. As part of the deal of living in a demonstration city, the homes are well-appointed with the latest gadgets. EPCOT residents participate in focus groups and user panels to evaluate the viability of the new technologies. Some of the residents work for one of the companies in the Industrial Park, designing or manufacturing such devices. These structures are mixed within the retail and dining areas and contain “services required by EPCOT’s residents, but most of them designed especially to suit local and regional needs of major corporations”. #Experimentation
    • If we lived in one of the apartment buildings, we most likely would not own an automobile — most of the time we would have no need for one. Because of the cost of parking spaces and the experimental nature of EPCOT, most apartment dwellers are not even allotted a space to park a vehicle in the large underground parking structure near the Transportation Lobby. Those living in apartments are for the most part required to rely solely on public transportation, short-range electric vehicles for on-property trips, or rental cars for longer journeys.
    • A typical pedestrian shed is only one-quarter mile. Within a pedestrian shed, you should find a range of services that meet ordinary human needs. There should be a balance of living, working, shopping, and recreational opportunities. Access to a convenient transit stop can extend the range of the pedestrian shed, and that is the secret to EPCOT’s success. “Here and throughout the community, residents returning from work or shopping will disembark from the WEDway at stations located conveniently just a few steps from where they live,” according to the film.
    • The length of a Pedshed is determined by factors such as appearance and atmosphere, as well as climate and topography. EPCOT as a whole has a large Pedshed because of the highly attractive and completely weather-protected environment. Within a Pedshed, there can be numerous environments, each with different walkability values.
    • If the central business district is attractive but not protected from the weather, such that people are exposed to the elements, the desirable walking range is limited to less than a quarter of a mile, or five minutes of walking. Degrade the environment even further with unattractive spaces like parking lots, garages, or a traffic-congested street, and the range is limited to only 600 feet, or two minutes of walking. This is typical of strip center development.
    • Areas that feature a compact form of urban development near transit are ideal. That is how the EPCOT center city is designed. One of the biggest benefits of living in these apartments is how well they fit within the pedestrian shed. Most residents have very little need to ever get into a car. Just the way Walt wanted it.
    • Just beyond the ring of high-density apartments we can see the community’s most significant shared asset, the “sheltering” greenbelt. As described in the EPCOT film, the “greenbelt is more than just a broad expanse of beautiful lawns and walks and trees. Here too are the communities’ varied recreation facilities, its playgrounds for children, its churches, and its schools.”
    • According to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the amount of land that should be dedicated to parks is measured in acres per 1,000 residents. Current standards suggest that ten acres per 1,000 residents are ample, and four acres per 1,000 are the minimum. Many mature communities struggle with even that modest goal. The size of the greenbelt surrounding the 50-acre EPCOT dome is large enough to provide parklands well above the “ample” goal.
    • What Walt did was build something specifically designed to spark a child’s imagination. Yi-Fu Tuan noted that, “Playing and role playing are part of the ‘fun’ of being in a pleasure garden or in a Disney park. Play accommodates — indeed requires — illusion.”
    • Tom Sawyer Island provides opportunities for learning. This is not a passive environment. Children are asked to participate by making things happen. From a child’s point of view, there are many paths to choose from. The island is just big enough to get mildly lost. The result is a more rewarding and richer experience. The parents experience a certain level of freedom and security as well, since there is only one point of entry or exit from the island.
    • Along with play areas designed to foster unstructured play opportunities, EPCOT’s park system offers a wide variety of experiences. The larger parks feature water displays and aquatic sports facilities. Some parks are wholly naturalistic and can be used for picnicking, group camping, hiking, riding, and nature study. Other parks include recreational facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses, and baseball fields.
    • The greenbelt is also where we find other public uses such as churches, schools, a teen center, a senior center, and other recreational zones. The greenbelt is the community’s gathering place to celebrate a healthy mind, body, and Earth.
    • Each home’s front door is oriented toward the open space corridor, away from the area where the automobile is parked. As Walt’s drawings seem to indicate, that open space is shared between the residents; there are no, or very small, private yards. In time, might community gardens also become part of the mix?
    • As much as we admire the neighborhood, we are not quite sure how we feel about the fact that, like the traditional suburbs, EPCOT has eliminated the corner grocery store.
    • The House of the Future was an advanced demonstration home and one of the first truly futuristic attractions in Tomorrowland. [[Monsanto]] wanted to expand its presence in the home construction industry. By 1953, they contracted with a team from MIT that included architects Richard Hamilton and Marvin Goody from the Department of Architecture. The team wanted to demonstrate an affordable substitute for poorly designed, developer-driven tract houses. Voted one of the top 150 accomplishments at MIT, the house was a “prototype for low-cost, factory-built housing. As a building type — compact with fewer structural constraints than public or commercial buildings — the house form was an ideal laboratory for experimentation in design, materials, and construction.” —3-D printed housing? #[[Alternative Housing]]
    • Disney proudly proclaimed, “Hardly a natural material appears anywhere in the House.” Virtually every surface was synthetic.
    • In fact, there was one spot just outside the front door that had to be repainted every night because visitors (usually male) would tap the side of the building just to see if it was really plastic.
    • Finally, there was a spacious living room featuring a giant, futuristic, wall-mounted television screen and built-in stereo system. John Hench designed the “Alpha” chair, the first contoured chair that adjusts automatically and that includes a phone and music system with built in speakers. Facing Sleeping Beauty Castle were ceiling-to-floor thermal-paned picture windows featuring decorative laminated safety glass.
    • The 1,000-acre Industrial Park is connected to EPCOT by the monorail. Meant to be a showcase for American industry and ingenuity, the Industrial Park adds another dimension to the Disney World project. Walt wanted to “work with individual companies to create a showcase of industry at work”. What would those companies get in return? “Six million people who visit Disney World each year will look behind the scenes at experimental prototype plants, research and development laboratories, and computer centers for major corporations.” Imagine the good will and the ability to test-market products. #[[Building in Public]]
    • With the “hope that EPCOT will stimulate American industry to develop new solutions that will meet the needs of people expressed right here in this experimental community”, companies could “find the need for technologies that don’t even exist today”. First came the theme park. Next came the city. What does the world of industry look like after Walt Disney has reimagined it?
    • Said Paul Anderson in Persistence of Vision, “Walt knew that the only way to pull off his dream of [EPCOT] was to involve American industry, and this complex was just one of many strategies to help entice this kind of involvement.”
    • As shown in the original Disney World plans, the 1,000-acre Industrial Park is strategically located between the Entrance Complex and the EPCOT Transportation Lobby. Walt knew this would encourage American corporations to participate, because it gives them positive exposure from the millions of visitors every year passing by on the monorail. #Marketing
    • Walt had said, “[EPCOT] will be a planned, controlled community; a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural, and educational opportunities. There will be no slums because we won’t let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals.” He added, “There will be no retirees, because everyone must be employed according to their ability. ^^**One of our requirements is that the people who live in EPCOT must help keep it alive.**^^ Everyone who lives here will have a responsibility to help keep this community an exciting living blueprint of the future.” Just like the animation studio, everything would be a team effort working toward one man’s dream.
    • Clearly, Walt decided early on that the solution was that there would not be a permanent population. He suggested that nobody would be able to live there longer than approximately nine months.
    • Would people have enjoyed living in EPCOT? Ward Kimball did not believe that EPCOT could have worked. He suggested that “you can’t experiment with people’s lives”.
    • In Gaining Ground: The Renewal of America’s Small Farms, J. Tevere MacFadyen wrote, “With Epcot Center, Disney is marrying an international exposition to an industrial trade show, sending the happy couple off in a shower of technologically sophisticated amusements to set up housekeeping in an immense shopping mall.” This project would be a win for Disney and for American industry. Marty Sklar said, “Industry has lost credibility with the public, the government has lost credibility, but people still have faith in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.”
    • To ensure that the lessons that Walt taught would not be lost on future generations of designers, Imagineer and Disney Legend Marty Sklar outlined the rules according to Walt — concepts that have taken their rightful place in the timeless way of building. Sklar suggested that you start by knowing your audience. You should wear your guest’s shoes. Park design was meant to organize the flow of people and ideas. You need to create a “wienie”, a visual magnet that acts like a beckoning hand. Disney communicates with visual literacy. They want to avoid overload and create turn-ons. Sklar cautioned us to tell one story at a time and to avoid visual contradictions. Each area must maintain its identity. The payoff is “every ounce of treatment provides a ton of treat”. Finally, Sklar reminded us to “keep it up” and maintain what you have built. For many, this is the perfect description of the Disney difference. When all the principles are combined and applied to a project, the result is a place that demonstrates a higher degree of life that possesses that “quality without a name”.
    • Wallace asked Nunis about EPCOT and asked why Disney never built Walt’s city of tomorrow. Nunis tried to dodge the question by suggesting that the plans Walt left behind were sketchy at best. He suggested the city idea transformed itself into the vacation resort. After all, there are thousands of guests spending the night, and they will become the citizens of EPCOT. His evasiveness made it clear: in the end, only Walt and a few others had been genuinely excited about the city-building project. The rest of his team was satisfied with simply building another theme park and vacation destination.
    • Regarding the positive public space in evidence at Disneyland, Andres Duany asks in Suburban Nation, “Why do so many people go there — for the rides? According to one Disney architect, the average visitor spends only 3 percent of his time on rides or at shows. The remaining time is spent enjoying the precise commodity that people so sorely lack in their suburban hometowns: pleasant, pedestrian-friendly, public space and the sociability it engenders.”
    • Even though EPCOT was never built as Walt imagined it, the Walt Disney World project has been influential in the way we design public spaces. Just like Disneyland, it has raised our expectations on how the built environment can meet the public need.
    • In 1996, a cross-disciplinary group of architects, planners, engineers, and deep thinkers came together and formed the Congress for the New Urbanism. They saw the threat of [[suburban sprawl]] and the disinvestment of our central cities as a critical problem. Disney historian Karal Ann Marling suggests that New Urbanism is “a prettier, less corporate version of the 1965 and 1966 plans for the unbuilt EPCOT”.
    • Form-based codes are meant to strengthen existing communities, preserve open space, and build compact, walkable neighborhoods with a variety of transportation. Smart growth tries to create housing choices and beautiful communities. What the SmartCode tries to accomplish is very similar to the goals that Walt had for EPCOT. He wanted to enhance neighborhood livability with better access and less traffic. Residents, businesses, and visitors would enjoy shared benefits. He wanted EPCOT to point the way toward thriving cities. #Zoning
    • The success of Disneyland’s Main Street reminded people of the special charm that comes with the traditional central business district. Disneyland was an invented place that became the inspiration to save the authentic thing all over the nation.
    • In 1977, the National Trust for Historic Preservation was concerned about this trend and decided to do something about it. They started a 3-year demonstration project that was designed to “study the reasons downtowns were dying, identify the many factors that have an impact on downtown health and, finally, develop a comprehensive revitalization strategy that would save historic commercial buildings”. #look-it-up #downtown
    • For example, in Suburban Nation, Andres Duany stated that “[m]all designers know that, upon entering, people tend to turn right, and walk counterclockwise. They know that visitors will most likely purchase sunglasses if they are near the rest rooms. They know that women’s clothing stores will fare badly if placed near the food court.” He asked, “How can Main Street possibly compete?” #malls
    • The Trust established the National Main Street Center in 1980. By 1984, the organization had expanded once again; by 1990, there were more than 31 states and more than 600 communities participating in the program, including cities as large as Boston. Since that time, more than 1,200 communities have been revitalized using the principles and experience generated by the Center’s client cities. #[[Small Towns]]
    • In 1985, Howard P. Segal released [[Technological Utopianism in American Culture]], which focused on futurist fiction between 1883 and 1933 and identified the major themes shared by the authors. In Vinyl Leaves, Stephen Fjellman benchmarked Epcot Center against these themes and noted that many of these ideas were expressed in the theme park. Walt’s vision for EPCOT also shared many of these same themes. #[[Historical Futurist]]
    • “Visual Futurist” Syd Mead produced a series of renderings for U.S. Steel; his vision of the future suggested that nature could be tamed. 88 However, Mead ultimately painted a darker picture of the future of urban living with his set design for the movie Blade Runner.
      • Find the drawings of future technology from, I think, the [[World Economic Forum]] #[[Find the Quote]]
    • As you recall, at the Florida press conference Walt said, “I don’t believe in going out to the extreme blue-sky stuff that some architects do. I believe that people still want to live like human beings.” When you peel back the layers, we find that Walt’s utopia was rather conventional with regard to existing construction technology; as an urban transect, virtually everything about it was tied one way or another to already existing communities.
    • Ever since I first saw the Progress City model as a little boy, I always have asked myself: would this actually work? Could Walt Disney have built a city like the one on display filled with 20,000 residents and millions of visitors? Walt certainly knew it could work. In the EPCOT film, Walt said, “I believe we can build a community that more people will talk about and come to look at than any other area in the world.” He added, “We know what our goals are. We know what we hope to accomplish.” EPCOT was not a sequel, but “the most exciting and challenging assignment we’ve ever tackled at Walt Disney Productions”. He reminded us, “It’s an exciting challenge; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone who participates … Speaking for myself and the entire Disney Organization, we’re ready to go right now!” Walt knew where he wanted to go. Too bad he could not stick around long enough to take us there. The reality was that the group who worked on the project was very small. There was a lot of risk and a lot of unanswered questions. During my conversation with Buzz Price, I asked him if the project would have worked. After all, very few people knew as much about the EPCOT project as Price. He was in the room with Walt and Roy. Without hesitation he said, “Absolutely yes.” Buzz added, “Walt would obsess over a problem.” Price reminded me that the concept and design for EPCOT was not revolutionary but evolutionary, based on tried-and-true architectural technologies, a creative and thoughtful blend of the land uses, arranged in a way where the hotel and day guests are coming from one direction to meet the residents coming from another direction in the middle. This would be a community with the built-in critical mass necessary for sustainable economic success. In EPCOT, everyone could interact in a beautiful, comfortable, and inspiring public setting. Would it have worked? Buzz’s conclusion was unequivocal: “EPCOT would have been more famous than Walt Disney World.”