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Frank Starkey has been appointed to the CNU Board, strengthening CNU’s ongoing connection to the work of incremental community developers nationwide. Starkey is based in the Tampa, Florida area, where he has been the lead on several prominent new urbanist projects, most recently the redevelopment of the town of Port New Richey, Florida.
“I’m looking forward to participating in the Board and in CNU at a deeper level,” says Starkey, whose ties to the organization go back at least 20 years, to the Congress in Denver in 1998. “I got into New Urbanism initially because it was a good combination of a way to protect unmolested woods and agricultural lands, and to create places where people want to put down roots and know their neighbors.”
Growing up on a 16,000-acre cattle ranch near Tampa Bay, Florida, Starkey knows the best—and some of the worst—of both rural and urban/suburban living. “It was pretty isolated,” he recalls. “I was jealous of my friends who lived in subdivisions. They could just get on their bikes and go to their buddies’ houses. I’ve always been drawn to places that provide proximity to people. From a personal standpoint, New Urbanism has brought things together for me.”
“Frank has a keen eye both for the development possibilities of places, and for their human dimensions,” says Michaele Pride, CNU’s Board chair. “He does not think about development in one category and community life or values in another. He brings them together. That’s the kind of vision we need for the CNU Board.”
“I enjoy helping make a community,” says Starkey of his work. “It’s much more about connecting with people, which is why we’ve dialed up on business development [in our projects], on recruiting people to come do business in the community.”
Starkey noticed early in his career that “paying attention to the civic realm was something conventional development was not doing at all.” His experience as a developer of new urbanist communities, with town greens, front porches, and ample sidewalks, affirmed for him that “the physical structure of a place has a transformative impact on communities.”
Starkey is looking forward to bringing his perspective and experiences to bear on his work with CNU’s Board. He is especially interested in helping CNU in its work to promoting development that is locally focused, personal, and incremental, based on the power of people to invest gradually and steadily in their own communities.
“I want to make the world safe for the developer whose day job is not being a developer,” he says.
Starkey is the founder and president of of People Places, LLC, past president of the National Town Builders Association, and former Chair of the Board of Governors at the Seaside Institute.