Saturday, August 7, 2010

Quick Reflection--The Postwar Experience in Orange TV's New History of International Drive

This is new documentary about the history of International Drive made by Orange TV. I, like a lot of academics who study urban development, have mixed feelings about the impact of the type of development represented by International Drive. That issue is different from the question of the history of people and organizations that strove to make a community work in a period that growth was not guaranteed. The experience building international drive speaks to the post-war consumer mindset in the United States. The men (and there is an omission of women and minorities in this narrative) who promoted International Drive sold the possibility of the future where people could consume the environment. Cheap and plentiful land, infrastructure to support tourist travel by car and tax structure built on those visitors remains the key to understanding the development questions in Florida today. As we struggle with the implication of future where resources will not be as freely available, the enterprising perspective on display in this documentary will be needed again. The difference is that opportunity must be found in creating new industry not as depended on tourism, better resource management, and greater recognition of the region's diversity will be necessary if International Drive will support another next fifty years of economic activity.


  1. Thanks for this great post - I will be sure to check out your blog more often. And I think you made a great point. One that I have been thinking about as well.


  2. Thank you for commenting on part one of the International Drive Drive docu-series. It is heartening to know that there are people watching what Orange County produces and that some of our programs promote conversation and reflections about our region. The goal of this ojective historical narrative (as with all the Scrapbook episodes) is to give insightful accounts of the people, and events that have shaped our region.

    I do have to dispute one of your comments regarding the ommission of women and minorities in the program. Central Florida's early history, as with many small cities around the region is a reflection of that period and not a deliberate ommission. I encourage you to continue following the program as more personalities who shaped I Drive will be revealed.

    I must tell you that I am an African American female producer. This project was my idea, having visited the area as a teenager, I vowed to move here in part because of Disney and the excitemtent I witnessed on I Drive. Now a resident of 13 years, I have seen this area diversify in ways that are truly remarkable and yes, overlooked. I hope you continue to promote the multi-cultural growth of Central Florida. Just thought you might like to know that the lack of diversity you speak of in this piece is actually behind the camera.
    Stay Tuned

  3. I look forward to seeing the future episodes. I hope it is clear that I think the program is a great addition to your understanding of the region. As a historian, I see these issues of inclusion as key for a better understanding of the past and building a more stable future. I look forward to seeing how those narratives of racial minorities and women are incorporated into the story.