Raising money for over 600 pages about Seaside, Florida

Seaside, Florida is a well-known exemplar of the New Urbanist movement. To tell the story of the community, an architect wants to raise money to help fund a 600+ book about its development:

Visions of Seaside is an upcoming 608-page hardcover book that documents how the theory of New Urbanism was put into practice in the construction of a small town in Florida in 1981.

The book will contain over 1,000 drawings, photographs and diagrams created for Seaside, the first fully New Urbanist town, along with academic essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, Yale professor Vincent Scully, and Andrés Duany, one of the visionaries behind the community…

According to the book’s Kickstarter page, the volume “recounts the history of the making of the town, chronicles the numerous architectural and planning schemes that have been developed for Seaside, and outlines a blueprint for moving forward over the next 25 to 50 years.”

The book’s author, architect Dhiru Thadani, originally conceived of the book as having 224 pages, but the overwhelming amount of materials he uncovered, along with critical essays that were generated, caused the page number to swell. This concerned his publisher, who asked Thadani to raise funds to offset production costs so that the retail price of the book would be affordable.

I show pictures of Seaside to several of my classes and a few always recognize it as the place in The Truman Show. I would be very interested to see this book though I am not sure I would want to pay what such a book would cost. Additionally, I wonder how critical this book will be. The community is interesting in itself but I would be more interested to learn what New Urbanists have learned from the successes and challenges in Seaside. In other words, is Seaside a good model for New Urbanism in 2013 and beyond or has the movement evolved significantly in the last thirty years?

Wired’s “seven creepy experiments” short on social science options

When I first saw the headline for this article in my copy of Wired, I was excited to see what they had dreamed up. Alas, the article “Seven Creepy Experiments That Could Teach Us So Much (If They Weren’t So Wrong)” is mainly about biological experiments. One experiment, splitting up twins and fixing their environments, could be interesting: it would provide insights into the ongoing nature vs. nurture debate.

I would be interested to see how social scientists would respond to a question about what “creepy” or unethical experiments they would like to see happen. In research methods class, we have the classic examples of experiments that should not be replicated. Milgram’s experiment about obedience to authority, Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, and Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade Study tend to come up. From more popular sources, we could talk about a setup like the one depicted in The Truman Show or intentionally creating settings like those found in Lord of the Flies or The Hunger Games.

What sociological experiments would produce invaluable information but would never pass an IRB?