An Overview of New Urbanism in South Florida

By Jean Scott

In celebration of the June 2002 Tenth Congress for the New Urbanism in Miami Beach, this overview highlights the remarkable record of New Urbanism in South Florida. Drawing from a series of interviews and conversations, the overview summarizes the observations and reflections of some of the early core group of people who were involved in, or who had an opportunity to observe, South Florida’s New Urbanism movement. Those interviewed included Michael Busha, Dan Cary, Jaime Correa, Robert Davis, John M. DeGrove, Victor Dover, Neisen Kasdin, Peter Katz, James F. Murley, Erick Valle, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. To tell the story of New Urbanism in South Florida, each person was asked the following questions: What was the evolution? In retrospect, why South Florida? What is the next set of issues?

The responses reveal an exceptional story in the history of American planning and place-making. The opening line for this story is the line most often used by Florida New Urbanists when asked why there is such an extraordinary concentration of New Urbanists in South Florida. The response is that there was a rare coming together of like-minded people who were seeking alternatives to the problems caused by South Florida’s sprawl, and who supported and learned from each other, shared ideas, and worked together continuously to improve the practice of creating urban places.

“South Florida was a natural place for new thinking about cities to take root,” said Victor Dover. “There were enormous problems that came with rapid growth and sprawl, but there were also smart teachers who had figured out the solutions to these problems and were willing to explain them to a newly arrived generation of designers with urban experiences from around the world. The young designers they mentored were constantly exchanging ideas, too, urging each other on. Before long, this place became a hot center of new critical thinking about cities.”

The Evolution

The Early Years (1974-1983)
The story begins in the 1970s, when, attracted by the building activity in Miami and by the University of Miami School of Architecture, the first of those who were to become South Florida New Urbanists arrived in Miami: Robert Davis, Andres Duany, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Susan Lewin, then-editor of House Beautiful, introduced them to each other while Duany and Plater-Zyberk were at Arquitectonica and Davis was a young developer. From this introduction emerged the concept of an alternative to suburban development in South Florida.

A number of separate but parallel activities were taking place at this time, laying the foundation for a movement of alternative urbanism. The Architecture Club of Miami was bringing speakers in from all parts of the world. Among them was the “New Wave of European Architects,” a group of designers who shared a common thread: the city and urbanism as the context for architecture. This was in contrast to mainstream thinking in the fields of architecture at the time, which focused on the design of individual buildings and not on the city as a whole. One of these speakers was Leon Krier, who was to become mentor to and collaborator with many future New Urbanists. At the University of Miami, architectural faculty were also teaching the importance of the city and the region as the context for individual building design, using the precedent of the past as the predicate for designing the future. As a part of this practice, they developed a visual analysis of the historic residential fabric of Key West, which was to provide the framework for future town design and code writing.

key_west_1900

 

Key West, circa 1900
From the Florida Photographic Collection

During this period, the State of Florida, under the leadership of Dr. John M. DeGrove, established the Florida Atlantic University/Florida International University Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems. DeGrove became its first director in 1972, and in this capacity he worked closely with the governor to initiate the first legislative steps aimed at environmental conservation, which were to blossom later into a series of growth management laws. “What was happening at the state level,” DeGrove noted, “was important to the growth of New Urbanism as it put a focus on planning carefully for growth in order to have sustainable natural and urban systems.” DeGrove headed the Joint Center until 1999 (taking a hiatus from 1983 to 1985 to serve as Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs), when he was succeeded by James F. Murley.

In 1979, the firm of Venturi, Rauch, and Scott-Brown produced an urban design study for Miami Beach. The study stimulated the renaissance of Miami Beach, an initiative led by the Miami Beach Design Preservation League. Later, Miami Beach was to be a prototype for New Urbanist revitalization of downtowns – buildings oriented toward pedestrians rather than cars and set close to the street, mixed-uses, mixed-incomes and lifestyles, important public spaces, and a major public promenade. According to former mayor Neisen Kasdin, “Miami Beach was recognized very early as an example of New Urbanism.” Coral Gables, which was designed in the era of the City Beautiful movement, and Key West also offered historic models. At the same time, the new town of Miami Lakes began to emerge as a master-planned community. Founded in 1962 by the Graham family, the plan for Miami Lakes anticipated New Urbanism with its incorporation of commercial centers, public spaces, and an interconnected street pattern. Later, Dover notes, the design for the city’s Main Street provided an important precursor for New Urbanism.

In 1980, the concepts of New Urbanism began to be translated into projects. The first of these was Charleston Place in Boca Raton, a development designed by Duany and Plater-Zyberk. The development demonstrated that there was a market for a traditional neighborhood using vernacular architecture as an alternative to the conventional suburban subdivisions that characterized South Florida. Charleston Place later influenced the design of Seaside. Concurrently, The Anglo American Suburb, a publication by Robert A.M. Stern and John Massengale, introduced American urban designers to their own history of design, including that of Coral Gables.

The second project during this period was Seaside. The first step in designing Seaside came when Davis, Duany and Daryl Rose (later to marry Davis) took Davis’ red convertible on a driving trip through Florida towns. They used the trip to take photographs and make drawings of the places they saw. From this study of historical precedent emerged the plan for Seaside. Seaside was the first time Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) used an on-site charrette to involve many people in the planning process. This process later became the prototype for future town planning. A graphic urban code also emerged as a new model for zoning regulations.

The year 1982 saw the first group of houses at Seaside rising from the ground and evidence of its traditional small town street pattern taking form. “Seaside was the tipping point in New Urbanism as it gave form to what everyone had been talking about,” said Jim Murley. By the end of the 1980s, Seaside was beginning to gain national recognition. An article by Philip Morris in Southern Living generated broader interest in Seaside and the design principles of what was to be New Urbanism. The coastal village became an example of the New Urbanism and growth management. “Seaside might have been a single interesting project, but because its designers provided for the transferability of the lessons and helped others use them, the movement took off,” Dover noted.

The Middle Years (1984-1995)

In the mid-1980s, a number of future leaders of New Urbanism became exposed to its concepts through the University of Miami School of Architecture or while working at DPZ. These included Jaime Correa, Victor Dover, Joe Kohl, Tom Low, Mark Schimmenti, Ramon Trias, and Estela and Erick Valle. In 1987, while students at the school, Dover, Kohl, and Valle started a company called Image Network, which provided computer imaging for architectural firms. Important to the evolution of South Florida’s New Urbanism, the firm began to apply the same technology to other planning disciplines. When Correa joined the company after completing a master’s in planning and architecture, the group began to make planning and design their focus. During this same time, Schimmenti, a School of Architecture professor, became Director of Urban Design at DPZ and then later shared offices with the Image Network group, collaborating on town planning projects.

In 1991, Correa and Valle took teaching positions with the school; eventually, the four partners formed the two firms that exist today – Correa Valle Valle and Partners (known as CVV), and Dover, Kohl & Partners. The early firms (CVV and Dover Kohl, with DPZ and Schimmenti as mentors) formed the nucleus of South Florida’s New Urbanism movement. Crucial to their role was how the firms worked together – exchanging information, commenting on each other’s plans, using the same vocabulary, looking for new approaches, and “pushing the envelope” so that each project would be different and reflective of its context. “There was cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration on projects which nurtured what happened here,” noted Erick Valle. Members of these firms continued to be involved with the School of Architecture, by providing planning assistance to communities through the school’s Center for Urban and Community Design. The Center was important for the link it created between teaching and the practice of community design.

Meanwhile in 1984 and north of Miami in Martin County, Dan Cary, an ornithologist, came to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC). Although he began as an environmental planner, Cary soon rose to the position of Executive Director of the TCRPC. During this time, the Treasure Coast region, like much of South Florida, began to feel the effects of explosive growth. As Cary reviewed Developments of Regional Impact (plans required by Florida’s new growth management law), he began to realize that the state’s comprehensive planning process looked independently at issues, such as land use, transportation, employment, and the environment, which in reality were interrelated but did not consider the affect one area had upon another. In 1987, Cary found a solution to his frustration with the current planning process. He had been reviewing a development proposal in west St. Lucie County calling for 20,000 dwelling units, the equivalent of a small town. After reading an article about Duany and DPZ, Cary called Duany and began to work with him on an alternative plan for the proposed development. Cary discovered that all the independent pieces mandated by a comprehensive plan could be addressed together through traditional town planning. He soon began to guide the TCRPC into an aggressive role of encouraging development plans based on these concepts. This practice continues today under the leadership of TCRPC’s current Executive Director, Michael Busha.

During this time several events occurred that served to intensify South Florida’s burgeoning New Urbanism movement.

The passage of Florida’s Growth Management Act in 1985 put into place a comprehensive, statewide framework to plan for and manage Florida’s future growth at the state, regional, and local levels. Under the leadership of DeGrove, Murley, Ben Starrett, and others at the Department of Community Affairs, the Act was refined and tested around the state over a period of years. What emerged was a growth management framework that promoted and rewarded innovative planning approaches. This included the provision of funding for regional planning councils to publish and distribute New Urbanism educational materials, sponsor charrettes, and engage in special New Urbanism studies for towns and cities under various initiatives.

Sponsored by TCRPC under Cary’s leadership and conducted by DPZ in 1988, the Downtown Stuart Charrette kicked off the revitalization of downtown Stuart. The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program shepherded the plans into reality. The plan’s success was measured by the town’s lowering of its millage rate thanks to an increase in downtown commercial activity. The Stuart charrette provided a precedent for a series of charrettes run by TCRPC applying the principles of New Urbanism to the redevelopment of existing centers, including Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and Fort Pierce. Dover Kohl and other firms collaborated with TCRPC on many of these charrettes. Eventually, TCRPC formed its own in-house design studio, which has been led by a succession of University of Miami School of Architecture graduates and faculty, including Ramon Trias, Geoffrey Ferrell and Marcela Camblor. Trias is now the planning director in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Established in 1988, the graduate program in Suburbs and Town Design at the University of Miami School of Architecture consolidated the link between the School and the experience of places like Seaside and Stuart. Visitors to the program and research projects conducted in the design studio integrated the program’s activities with the evolution of concepts and experience in both the public and private sectors in the region. Key faculty members include practicing New Urbanists such as Jaime Correa, Gary Greenan, Frank Martinez, and Allan Schulman, as well as theoretician Jean-Francois LeJeune who studied with Leon Krier and Maurice Culot in Europe. The program also publishes the journal The New City, including an influential edition that documented the 1920’s planning work in Florida by John Nolen. The New City also gave wide distribution to a translation of the “Law of the Indies” by Ramon Trias.

Mizner Park, 1989, was conceived as a catalyst for revitalizing downtown Boca Raton in the face of development competition to the west. A risky undertaking by an unprecedented public-private partnership, this early redevelopment of a grayfield shopping mall provided an important early example of a mixed-use, walkable urban center inserted into suburbia. Mizner Park’s success caused its influence to spread quickly beyond the region, becoming a national prototype. “Mizner Park,” Robert Davis noted, “was a great victory and provided a complete mixture of office and retail in an extraordinary market.”

Also in 1989, Windsor, a village in Vero Beach, revived the urban and architectural traditions of the Caribbean. Narrow, rural section streets lined with courtyard houses update the pattern of buildings admired in historical cities such as St. Augustine and Charleston. Strict urban, architectural, and landscape regulations produce a harmonious place. While it is a gated community, Windsor has succeeded in bucking the trend of large-lot developments typically expected of its price point.

The Miami-Dade County Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Code was adopted in 1991. Growing out of the East Everglades Bird Drive Basin Study carried out by the University of Miami School of Architecture under the initiative of attorney Sam Poole and Geoffrey Ferrell, the county’s TND Ordinance set a precedent for the region and for the country. Although it was not used for many years in the county, elsewhere in the country, the code’s mere existence provided a powerful precedent for changes in codes and standards.

Also in 1991, a citizen-driven planning process produced a Master Plan for the Revitalization of Riviera Beach. Schimmenti, Dover, Correa, Kohl, and Valle led the effort in collaboration with the TCRPC, developing a method of including citizens and stakeholders not only in discussions and reviews, but also in shaping and designing their ideas. As described in Peter Katz’s book, The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community, “… the most significant htmect of Riviera Beach’s new plan was its use of computer imaging as a tool for public participation. The design team transformed video images of the existing city instantaneously into several alternative future scenarios. Though the master plan will ultimately be built out in small increments, these ‘snapshot’ previews enabled the citizens of Riviera Beach to make more informed choices about the destiny of their community.”

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, several important design charrettes were held, the results of which can be seen today. One of these was the South Miami Hometown District Charrette. Dover Kohl and Sam Poole led the effort to develop a downtown plan. Dover cites two important outcomes. One was that citizens insisted that design be made a central focus of the city’s planning decisions, not an afterthought. Using the Hometown Plan, street spaces have since been greatly improved and new main street buildings have been built. The other outcome was the form-based graphic code adopted by the city, which moved New Urbanism principles into the regulatory mainstream. “This meant,” Dover said, “that design, policy, and management were beginning to merge together, repairing and refining the local culture for community building.”

The New South Dade Charrette was a joint initiative of the architecture faculty at the University of Miami and Florida International University. Involving the work of more than 150 volunteers, the charrette produced proposals for rebuilding prototypical situations, ranging from regional-scale environmental restoration to neighborhood plans for farm-worker housing. One of the neighborhood plans later evolved into an energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity community called Jordan Commons, under construction and partially completed today. A series of University of Miami studies on larger ecosystem restoration work, as well as greening urban areas, grew out of this effort. The Florida City Charrette, a joint effort of DPZ and several University of Miami faculty, produced a plan for the southernmost city in Miami-Dade County, proposing a framework of public spaces and buildings and a vision for the community’s main street, some of which have been realized under Mayor Otis Wallace’s leadership.

The 1993 Downtown West Palm Beach Master Plan was the initiative of Mayor Nancy Graham. Working with Cary and the TCRPC, seeking to avoid highway improvements that would be destructive to the downtown’s historic urban fabric, DPZ produced a plan and a new zoning code that mixes uses and limits building volume by height. The city purchased a large, in-town site and guided its private-sector design and development into what is now CityPlace, bringing a department store back to the downtown, along with a large number of townhouses and apartments. This, in combination with significant restoration and infill building throughout the downtown, provided a successful model for emulation by others in the region.

The 1994 ground breaking for Celebration played an important role in furthering the credibility of New Urbanism as an alternative to sprawl. Especially important was the new town’s implementation by Disney, a corporate developer who might be expected to limit risk, of the plan’s major environmental conservation and mitigation component, and its commitment to renown designers such as Robert Stern and Jaquelin Robertson. Peter Rummell, the Disney development leader, has since taken the helm at the St. Joe Company, which is putting in place across the state a series of New Urban plans.

The first of a series of South Florida charrettes applying New Urbanism principles at the regional scale occurred in 1994 with the Dover Kohl/TCRPC South Martin County Charrette, which covered a 130-square-mile area. TCRPC had previously conferred with Jonathan Barnett and DPZ on the same topic. In 1995, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), under the leadership of then-Director Sam Poole and Dan Cary, then the SFWMD Planning Director, sponsored the Western C-9 Basin Charrette. The planning area spanned jurisdictional lines, combining western Broward and Dade counties, and was a joint effort of Dover Kohl, DPZ, 1000 Friends of Florida, and the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida.

Although the C-9 charrette did not result in actual projects, an important outcome was the recognition by participants that, regardless of how the remaining western land was developed, it would soon run out and there could be no further sprawl into the Everglades to accommodate growth. It was during this charrette that Roy Rogers, then a developer with Arvida, coined the term “Eastward Ho!” which led to a series of initiatives to encourage development within the eastern urban part of the region. C-9 also demonstrated the integration of water management, conservation, and compact neighborhood development.

Also in 1995, the TCRPC under the leadership of newly appointed Executive Director Michael Busha adopted the first regional plan, The Strategic Regional Policy Plan, based entirely on New Urbanism principles. The Plan incorporated the principles of the Charter of New Urbanism and included an illustrated manual for building the region with a more sustainable pattern of cities, towns, villages, and countryside.

The quantity and variety of early projects in South and Central Florida enabled and supported the sharing, refining, and testing of concepts by all involved. This environment was fertile ground for the growth of New Urbanism in South Florida. The University of Miami and the Seaside Institute brought the Florida discussion to a larger audience, which then supported the creation of the Congress for the New Urbanism. In looking back over this period, Katz observed, “By 1990, South Florida had become the mecca for New Urbanism. It was an amazing concentration of people who shared similar ideas and created new ones. I was staggered by the richness of thinking.”

New Urbanism Starts to Take Off (1996-2001)

Beginning in 1996, the application of New Urbanism in South Florida was broadened through a series of new projects and design charrettes – for center cities, highway corridors, redevelopment sites, new neighborhoods, and districts.

Two of the larger projects have been CityPlace in West Palm Beach and Abacoa in Jupiter. Through the vision of Mayor Nancy Graham, CityPlace turned a failed redevelopment site into a dynamic mixed-use urban center with high-end retail, offices, market-rate housing, cultural facilities, and well-designed public spaces. The city issued a nationwide request for proposals and worked closely with the development team throughout the planning and construction process.

Abacoa is a 2,055-acre master-planned mixed-use town organized around a system of ecologically restored greenways. Planned by the six founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the development is on lands formerly owned by the MacArthur Foundation and includes Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU’s) MacArthur Campus and Honors College. A unique feature of Abacoa is the Abacoa Partnership for Community, a nonprofit organization established in 1997 to foster a sense of community, encourage environmental stewardship, and build civic infrastructure within the Abacoa community.

Martin County
• Avonlea
• Stuart Downtown Plan
• Stuart Redevelopment Extension Plan

Broward County
• East Village
• Ft. Lauderdale downtown code
• St. Croix

Miami-Dade County
• Aqua
• Coconut Grove Study
• Design District and Little Haiti Plan
• Hialeah Downtown Plan
• Miami Lakes Town Center
• Miami Shores Redevelopment Master Plan
• Miami Springs Downtown Revitalization Plan
• Naranja Lakes Redevelopment Plan
• North Miami Beach Redevelopment Plan
• Overtown Plan in Miami
• South Dade US 1 Corridor Busway Plan

Palm Beach County
• Atlantic Grove
• Botanica-Sea Plum
• City of Delray Beach Redevelopment Master Plan
• Courtyards of Delray
• Lake Park Master Extension Plan
• Lyman Village
• Old Palm Grove
• Osceola Woods
• US 1 Corridor Plan involving seven cities

The period of 1996-2001 also saw an expanded role of two of the region’s universities in furthering New Urbanism in South Florida. Plater-Zyberk was appointed Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture in 1996. In 2000, the School of Architecture initiated an innovative program called the Knight Program in Community Building to address urban problems. The program brings together scholars, architects, designers, community leaders, policymakers, theorists, and practitioners with an interest in the interdisciplinary process of community building.

Also in 2000, the FAU Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, under the leadership of Jim Murley and the Board of Directors of the Abacoa Partnership for Community, created the Abacoa Project with a gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to do research, training, and education on New Urbanism. The Abacoa Project works to build a vital and healthy community and to ensure a civic-minded society and responsible citizenry within Abacoa. Current projects include preparation of a chronicle of Abacoa, creation of the Florida Public Officials Design Institute, and scheduling educational events on New Urbanism and Smart Growth.

Another important event in 2000 was the Citistates Project – a four-part series of articles by Neal Peirce and Curtis Johnson discussing the strategic issues for the future of South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties), published in The Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The Citistates project was sponsored by the Collins Center for Public Policy, with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. One of the articles, “The Search for a Sustainable Solution,” reprinted immediately preceding this text, illustrates the value of the New Urbanism as an alternative to South Florida’s sprawl and the effectiveness of using charrettes and visualization tools as a method for involving a diverse citizenry in the planning process.

Why South Florida?

The early concentration of New Urbanists in South Florida is attributed by those interviewed to a number of factors. “When you look back over what has happened,” Plater-Zyberk observed, “there were a lot of remarkable parallel cultural coincidences that we didn’t know at the time were happening and which began to converge.” These factors included the following.

· The region’s primary growth and settlement patterns occurred in the post-war years of expanding suburban development. Resulting in an overall pattern of suburban sprawl, it soon became obvious that alternative planning concepts were needed.

· The influence of the University of Miami School of Architecture. Long before New Urbanism became a name, faculty members were teaching the importance of design based on precedents and viewing architecture as part of a city.

· The ability of students at the school to gain practical experience working at DPZ and Dover Kohl and with built projects like Seaside and Windsor.

· The historic precedents of early successful places like Coral Gables, Key West, Miami Beach, and Winter Park, and the parallel historic preservation movement to protect and revitalize these places and publicize their merits.

· The state’s focus, starting in 1972, on protecting environmental resources and then on managing growth. Over time, this broadened the dialogue about growth by requiring communities to plan for growth and protect resources.

· The establishment of an urban design studio at TCRPC in 1992, and that agency’s role in using charrettes and its regional plan to apply New Urbanism principles to existing centers and new developments. This allowed the early New Urbanists to test, expand, and refine the planning principles.

· The recognition that for purposes of both the environment and water supply, the region’s future urban growth could not be accommodated farther west into the Everglades. These constraints made people more open to re-thinking current development patterns and the need to channel the region’s future growth to already settled communities.

· The youth and diversity of the region. This attracted professionals ready to make their mark and open to innovation, bringing urban memories to a state characterized by suburban sprawl.

These seemingly separate events became bound together in a single movement because of a uniquely South Florida culture among New Urbanists that emphasizes the sharing of ideas. As a result, New Urban designers in South Florida enjoy the free-flow exchange of information, allowing them to learn from each other, test new concepts to expand their collective knowledge, refine techniques, and push the state of the art. “The urban critique of the early professionals who came to South Florida is without precedent in American urbanism,” said Jaime Correa. “It provided the beginning groundwork for the New Urbanism.”

The Next Set of Issues

New Urbanism provides the solutions for the many problems created by the region’s steady diet of sprawl over the last 40 years. Now, virtually depleted of vacant land for new development and with major investments made to protect and restore the Everglades, the central issue facing South Florida is how to accommodate an additional 1.8 million people over the next 20 years in the already settled areas of the region without diminishing quality of life. “New Urbanism is the operating system for Smart Growth in South Florida,” said Michael Busha. “However, in a region where the predominant form of development and thinking is still suburban sprawl, the challenge for New Urbanism in South Florida is how to build off of the successes of the last 15 years, to continue to overcome obstacles to New Urbanism in a place where sprawl has such a strong hold. The challenge will be a formidable one, but if we have learned one thing as pioneers, it is that persistence will pay off.”

As the operating system for Smart Growth in South Florida, those interviewed view New Urbanism as a way to:

· Crack the transportation issues of increased congestion by providing a form of development that promotes pedestrian and transit connections and creating places where people can live and work in a walkable environment.

· Address the widening income gaps and issues of affordable housing through the design of mixed-income neighborhoods, an action that will require governments to address the issue of inclusionary zoning, density, expanding the use of bond issues to help on housing prices, and invest in infrastructure and plans to ensure that every community is well connected by transit.

· Overcome opposition to density and mixed-use development with planning practices based on traditional town-planning principles, good architecture and urbanism, and attention to designing new development consistent with past precedent.

· Reuse the greyfields of abandoned and outdated strip malls, big boxes, and highway corridor development, provided that government becomes a partner in overcoming obstacles to redevelopment, including upgrading infrastructure, redeveloping suburban shopping centers into town centers, changing codes to provide for mixed-use development, and providing incentives.

· Embrace the cultural diversity of the region through the use of charrettes to involve all citizens in a collaborative dialogue about new development, building on the diversity of the region and its physical environment as the basis of creating what Dover calls “the most interesting and exciting architecture and urbanism yet.”

Conclusion

Today, conditions in South Florida are ripe for the broader application of New Urbanism throughout the region – there is the demand, with the pressing need to change the way of planning, and the concentration of expertise. “With the synergy of talent in place,” Murley noted, “South Florida has all the soft infrastructure – the designers, architects, bankers, developers, engineers, the common vocabulary, the sharing of ideas, the continuing push to improve the product – and a record of market successes.” Additionally, graduates of the University of Miami School of Architecture and the various New Urbanist offices continue to impart the knowledge and technique. As Cary notes, “We have here now a critical mass of talent, a family that reinforces each member through an extremely close and supportive network. This network continues to attract new talent and serves as a renewing source of energy for all who are members. When I have a problem or new idea, I can pick up the phone and get feedback from some of the best urban designers in the country – something truly unique to South Florida.” It is this network that reminds us of its early teachers, who enabled others to become teachers and leaders as well, resulting in an extraordinary era of urban design.