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Students Tour a Florida City Without Ever Leaving the Classroom

Date: Jan. 18, 2002
By: Keesha Nickison
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: General News

A new CD-ROM virtual reality tour created by a professor in the School of Design, provides a new educational tool that allows students and researchers to learn about a far away place without stepping foot outside the classroom.

Karen Monzel, professor in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, takes users of the new CD on a tour of Seaside, Fla., to showcase the city's innovative planning and architecture. It's almost like being there, but without the sun and salty breeze of a warm Florida day. For Seaside residents and supporters, it also provides an archive of the town's history and progression. Image from the new CD

The CD-ROM is featured in the faculty exhibit showing at One Edwards Center from Jan. 18-March 8.

The Seaside community was founded 20 years ago by Robert Davis, award-winning builder/developer from Miami who inherited the 80 acres of waterfront land. With a team of esteemed architects, Davis set out to build a new community with an old-fashioned sense of neighborly kinship.

Sitting on the gulf coast of Florida, Seaside came to be recognized for its innovations in town planning and architecture. With its unique cottages, wrap-around porches and white picket fences, the town began what is now called the New Urbanism movement. This movement values the presence of a sense of community and civic involvement in a town that provides for citizens' needs and wants with walking distance convenience. Image from the new CD

With the click of a mouse, one can wander the streets of Seaside, explore the interiors of buildings and houses, and see the panoramic view from a home's tower.

There are about 180 nodes or destinations on the tour, which took Monzel two years to complete. "I've not encountered anything of this scope," said Monzel. "Other tours may have one or two nodes, but they don't offer a sense of place and how things connect. This project pushes technological boundaries on how we learn about places."

The virtual tour of Seaside is being published by the Seaside Institute.

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