In honor of National Public Works Week (yes, this is a real thing), I wanted to share an interesting article that relates theme parks to public works.
I have never really thought of theme parks and public works in the same context, but Rollins College, a liberal arts school in Winter Park, Fla., offers students a week-long course to explore various Disney properties to learn how these heavily trafficked destinations – with tens of millions of visitors every year – are designed.
Surprisingly, Disney World and other nearby Disney projects are an intriguing, if overtly contrived, case study in urban planning. The college points out that the Magic Kingdom has public transportation (monorail), a public center (Cinderella’s Castle), a Main Street with shopping, entertainment and restaurants, and a bustling economy with many job opportunities.
This course identifies the potential opportunity to learn real-life public works lessons by studying theme parks. Disney World probably handles more vehicular and pedestrian traffic than many cities in the U.S.
What similarities and differences do you see in the way Disney World is planned compared to your city?