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PBS Names Seaside One of “10 Towns That Changed America”

Posted on Jul 01, 2015 in PBS , Towns that changed America , July-August 2015

Seaside town planner Andrés Duany is interviewed by PBS host Geoffrey Baer in Seaside for an upcoming special on “10 Towns That Changed America.” Photo by Brandan Babineaux

Two years ago, WTTW Chicago PBS produced a special called “10 Buildings That Changed America.” This documentary, which ran nationally for several weeks on PBS stations, was about 10 visionaries whose ideas permanently altered the built environment. From that well-received program spawned a new “10 That Changed America” series that will focus on America’s most influential homes, parks and towns.

One influential town that made the short list is Seaside.

The series host, Geoffrey Baer, along with a producer, director of photography, sound mixer and gaffer, spent three days in Seaside in early May to shoot the town and to interview Seaside town planner, Andrés Duany.

“When we were asked by Robert and Daryl Davis to create a plan for Seaside 35 years ago, it did not occur to us at the time that this project would be important,” said Duany. “But, as it turned out, it became very influential in Florida and to the country.”

According to Baer, an Emmy award-winning producer for WTTW Chicago who is best known as the host and writer of WTTW’s Chicago-area tour programs, a panel of five spent many hours poring over dozens of possibilities for towns that could make the cut. Many were highly debated, he said, but Seaside was a no-brainer. “It was on every judge’s list,” he continued.

During the last year, Baer and his producers have studied in depth the towns they will be including in the documentary (the list has not yet been made public), and now they are hitting the road. The team will travel across the country to film these influential places and interview those who can bring the stories to life.

All three programs will run nationally on PBS stations in early 2016. For more information about “10 Towns That Changed America,” visit

The documentary includes the following 10 towns:

• Seaside, Fla.
• St. Augustine, Fla.
• Philadelphia, Pa.
• Salt Lake City, Utah
• Riverside, Ill.
• Pullman – Chicago, Ill.
• Greenbelt, Md.
• Levittown, N.Y.
• Southwest Washington, DC
• Pearl District – Portland, Ore.