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Cotino is a “Storyliving by Disney™ community” in the greater Palm Springs area. “Parks, pathways and a promenade will reflect the imagination of Disney Imagineering.”

Discussion  8 comments

Broccoli of Doom

Without enough context (only just browsed the website briefly) I'm actually intrigued by this. Only because EPCOT is by far my favorite of the Disney parks and it was originally intended to be a model for the community of the future and the kid in me still wants to live at Disney World even through the rational adult in me continues inexorably down my path of disillusionment. The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.


EPCOT was supposed to be a fully functioning city, with jobs, public transport, and public spaces. This is an exclusive, car-centric, gated residential development like the million others that exist in the desert. It is nothing more than a branded living experience for Disney adults. It does nothing to move the needle on the car culture that has paved the desert, creating viscious heat and soul-killing strip mall suburbia. It does nothing to provide housing for the service workers that have been priced out of the desert communities. You can also see this in Celebration, FL, where Disney started out with grand ambitions to create a walkable town and then threw all that out the window by extending the town into faceless sprawl.

Jason Heiss

I was intrigued when this was first announced a couple of years ago, but I get the impression that Disney is actually doing very little here except some light storytelling and letting the developer slap their name on it.

There is a footnote that says "Residential community is Disney branded and managed", but everything else I've read implies that Disney won't have anything to do with ongoing management. The closest I see to ongoing Disney involvement is that the Artisan Club (optional, with an extra membership fee) will have "Curated Disney signature events, performances, and seasonal celebrations from time to time". If the best your marketing site can promise is "from time to time" I don't have high hopes.

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Rex Sorgatz Edited

Remember when Kendall told the world that Waystar Royco was building a residential community? I remember.

Andrew Lilja

This isn't the first planned community from Disney or even the second. Of course, Celebration had some very non-Disney things happen in it.

I'm fascinated by the very broad overlap between master-planned communities and the new urbanists. I think it was this recent post that clarified the difference for me. Master-planned communities are attempts to privatize walkable, 15-minute cities with good public transport. Urbanists attempt to plan cities that with services and design that's available to everyone. The Disney stuff feels yucky because it's all stuff we want, we know other people have, and we know we shouldn't have to pay extra for to get.

Stephanie A-H

I've lived most of my adult live in college/university towns and I'm convinced that this is what master-planned communities are trying to emulate. Think about it: a mix of interesting people without worry that you won't fit in (the residency time to be a "local" in our town is like 16 months), lots of amenities and a healthy economy thanks to all those undergrads/visitors spending money, plenty of arts events that are cheap or near free.

Mind you, this is HEAVILY subsidized by federal/state/local taxes. It's super hard to pull off if you're paying out of pocket for this.

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Michelle Lee

This particular community feels like a caricature of itself, but there are some interesting planned, walkable, more diverse communities around the world. The ones outside the US are already starting from a car-light(er) culture than American ones and probably have less of an uphill battle. Brandevoort in the Netherlands, for example, just reuses a lot of the local design patterns that already work! It's laid out around a central fort following a 17th century design, connected by trains, mixed use, etc. Devon Zugel wrote a nice roundup of startup cities from Arizona to Honduras.

Wayne Bremser

related, a few years ago New Yorker had a good, long piece profiling the Margaritaville retirement planned community. In both cases there's a cultural aspect related to the brands that attract a certain demographic, which the NYer piece goes into.

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