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Upcoming forum looks at future of Central Florida city planning

Winter Park officials gather to examine city’s sustainability

Rollins will host an event featuring prominent Winter Park officials to showcase the Winter Park community as an environmental planning model for the future of Central Florida.

The event is called “Winter Park and Florida’s Next Golden Age,” and it will be hosted in the Suntrust Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. 

The wide-ranging discussion will explore how Orlando city planners can create more areas that cater to its citizens, rather than to their vehicles—meaning more open space for walking and social interaction. The goal of future planning is to have more walkability, nature preservation, better architecture, and less suburban sprawl. 

Bruce Stephenson, professor of Environmental Studies, and Maurice O’Sullivan, Kenneth Curry professor of literature at Rollins, published a book called “Florida’s Golden Age: The Rollins College Colloquy” that describes the time period from 1880 to 1930 when city planners designed Winter Park using the Mediterranean Revival aesthetic. They will briefly discuss their book at the event; however, the main objective of the evening is to discuss Florida’s next Golden Age, specifically looking ahead to the year 2030.

City planning is essentially about making citizens happy through things like convenience and a beautiful environment. Some parts of Orlando’s layout accomplish this, such as Baldwin Park, while other parts do not. “One of the main things we have discussed is that Winter Park needs more parks for the community to come together,” said Stephenson. 

The design of Rollins’ campus is essentially a model for how Orlando could look in the future. For example, when comparing Rollins’ layout to University of Central Florida’s, Rollins clearly caters more to the student while UCF caters more to the vehicle. 

Stephenson said, “What we wanted to do was bring leaders of the community: the mayor, the top architect, an entrepreneur, and [an] attorney together to look at the next age of Winter Park.” 

Members attending the event include Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary; Phil Kean, a modern architect; entrepreneur Steven Goldman, who is known for contributing to natural preservation projects; and former Winter Park City Commissioner Pam Peters. 

“The city of Orlando wants places to be as walkable as Rollins, not only the physical form, but how do we look at the future and work towards that—it’s essentially the students future,” said Dr. Stephenson. 

The event, moderated by O’Sullivan, will be held at the Suntrust Auditorium and is free and open to the general public.

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