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Liberty City Historic Survey
Liberty City Historic Survey Project Type: Historic Resources Survey Project Status: Completed Dates: August 2022 - June 2024 Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Dade Heritage Trust The purpose of this project is to document an architecturally significant neighborhood that has never been comprehensively surveyed. Liberty City holds a prominent place in Miami's heritage, reflecting the history and evolution of the African American community in the city. Established in 1922, Liberty City became a beacon of hope for Black families seeking freedom from the oppressive restrictions of Miami's racially segregated neighborhoods. The area was envisioned as a safe haven, promising liberty and better living conditions compared to the overcrowded and underserved Colored Town (now Overtown). This community rapidly grew, driven by Black families' aspirations for home ownership and business opportunities, marking the golden years of Liberty City from 1936 to 1968. During this period, Liberty City thrived with vibrant Black-owned businesses, active churches, and schools, becoming a symbol of Black prosperity and resilience . The development of Liberty Square, a public housing project built between 1936 and 1938 under President Roosevelt's New Deal, significantly boosted the community's growth. Liberty Square offered modern amenities and better living conditions than those in Overtown, attracting many Black families. This housing project not only provided necessary housing but also became a community hub, fostering a sense of pride and stability. Prominent Black millionaires built homes in the vicinity, further establishing the neighborhood's status. The impact of Liberty Square on Liberty City was profound, creating a model community that stood in stark contrast to the segregation and discrimination prevalent in other parts of Miami . However, the late 1960s brought significant challenges with the construction of the I-95 and I-395 interchanges, displacing thousands of Black residents from Overtown to Liberty City. This influx strained the resources and altered the community dynamics. Despite these challenges, Liberty City remained a focal point for Black culture and activism, playing a critical role in the civil rights movement. Over the years, the neighborhood has faced economic hardships and social unrest, yet it continues to be a testament to the enduring spirit and cultural heritage of Miami's African American community. The recent redevelopment efforts and historical recognition initiatives aim to preserve and celebrate Liberty City's rich history, ensuring its legacy continues to inspire future generations .
Overtown Reinvestment Master Plan
Overtown Reinvestment Master Plan Project Type: Master Planning Project Status: Completed Completed: October 2023 Site Area: 413 AC Team: Plusurbia Design (Lead), Hood Design Studio, Studio Roberto Rovira, Watson+Co, Streetsense Client: Terra Group, City of Miami   The Overtown Revitalization Master Plan recognizes this neighborhood’s deeply inspiring and unique history as a cornerstone of Greater Miami’s celebrated historical legacy. Built around a strong foundation for innovative planning and development, the plan draws on the community’s original cultural identity, current residents, and surrounding communities. Thoughtfully blending these elements together, this project strives to revitalize one of Miami’s most celebrated Black neighborhoods through this methodical planning approach, reawakening the neighborhood to unbridled excellence by incorporating displacement mitigation tools, affordability provisions, and other inclusive redevelopment measures. It aims to create a bustling and better-connected district by empowering existing stakeholders in partnership with local agencies and non-profits, restoring the once-prominent destination for residents, visitors, and culture-seekers. The heart of Overtown's revitalization master plan is creating a narrative that aligns with its history. This strategy examines Overtown over the years, analyzing its past and present to plan for a successful future. The following goals have been carefully curated in response to Overtown’s full story and aim to provide positive changes and opportunities while remaining true to the neighborhood’s origins. Our main goals include: Mitigating displacement and protecting the neighborhood's character to empower and secure Overtown’s present and future residents. For a successful revitalization plan to be implemented in Overtown, it is essential to prioritize the community's current needs and the preservation of the neighborhood’s cultural character. By implementing this as the baseline goal for the project, residents will maintain ownership of their neighborhood, and the unique qualities of their community will be respected. Providing public infrastructure that serves and reflects Overtown’s vibrant community to create a dependable neighborhood fabric. This includes accessible sidewalks, bike lanes, amenities, and opportunities to highlight existing examples of Historic Overtown within the built environment. Establishing a planting strategy throughout the neighborhood to protect and enhance Overtown’s sense of identity while promoting a healthier community. Large flora can quickly provide health benefits to a neighborhood, such as drastically reducing the effects of urban heat, increasing air and water quality, and boosting mental health. Moreover, with careful planning, planting strategies can become part of a place’s identity and serve as a living local landmark. Developing stronger connections between East and West Overtown to lessen the neighborhood’s interruption by highway structures. Addressing the many underpasses that serve as portals from one side of the community to the other may provide opportunities for improved connectivity and possible transformative spaces. In addition, establishing a cohesive design palette for the public realm will also help create visual connectivity throughout the neighborhood. Enhancing pathways to existing transit stations to support Overtown’s influence as a major transit hub in the city. With the recent development of impactful transit projects in the neighborhood, it is important to consider future transit development in the area and how it can best serve both local residents and the city at large.
Hialeah 2050 – Citywide Master Plan
Hialeah 2050 - Citywide Master Plan Project Type: City Wide Long Term Master Plan Project Status: On-going Site Area: 22.8 square miles Team: PlusUrbia Design (Lead) + EXP + Corradino Group + Urbe Studio + Cure Penabad Client: City of Hialeah The City of Hialeah has embarked on an ambitious journey with its Hialeah 2050 Master Plan, setting a forward-looking vision for the next 25 years to elevate the City’s infrastructure, livability, and overall quality of life for its residents. This comprehensive project entails a thorough analysis of current conditions, addressing infrastructure needs, regulatory gaps, multimodal transportation needs and managing development pressures. With a steadfast commitment to unveiling a revitalized vision in time for Hialeah's centennial celebration in 2025, the City aims to propel itself into a positive, dynamic future. Central to the Hialeah 2050 Master Plan is the aim to cultivate a vibrant, sustainable, and interconnected community that resonates with the aspirations of its residents. Through meticulous planning and community engagement initiatives, including open houses, bilingual platforms, surveys, workshops, and immersive involvement in local events, the project team is dedicated to shaping a prosperous roadmap for the City's evolution. The initial phase of Discovery and Evaluation underscores the significance of understanding the community's pulse, allowing the consultant team to collect valuable insights into the community's needs and preferences, paving the way for a transformative future for the City of Hialeah. The current status of this on-going project can be found at www.hialeah2050.com
Little River RAD
Little River RAD Project Type: Urban Design, Planning, TOD Project Status: In-progress Dates: 2024-Ongoing Site Area:65 AC Team: Plusurbia Design (Planning, Street and Urban Design), ARQ (Architecture) The Little River Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) project embodies a groundbreaking shift towards affordable urban living in Miami's Little River neighborhood. Designed holistically, this project seamlessly integrates a diverse mix of uses, ensuring inclusivity and providing much-needed access to amenities, jobs, and retail previously scarce in the area. It aims to rejuvenate the neighborhood with a variety of housing options—including market-rate, affordable, and workforce units—while avoiding displacement of existing residents. By thoughtfully replacing outdated 1940s public housing with new, sustainable alternatives, it preserves the neighborhood's cultural significance and integrity. At the core of this ambitious vision, which includes over 5,000 units, is a strong focus on transit, mobility, and accessibility. The introduction of a new train station at the heart of Little River TOD is set to transform resident lifestyles, offering viable alternatives to the prevalent urban car-centric culture. This development is a referent for a shift towards public transit, walking, and biking, dramatically decreasing car dependency and nurturing a more sustainable, interconnected community fabric. More than just enhancing living conditions through superior housing, the project is dedicated to crafting a cohesive urban mobility experience. As such, the Little River TOD emerges as a model of inclusive, sustainable urban development, presenting integrated solutions to climate, housing, and mobility challenges with a comprehensive and inclusive strategy.
Halissee Gate Pocket Park
Halissee Gate Pocket Park Project Type: Public Open Space Project Status: Completed Dates: April 2023 Site Area: 0.16 AC Team: Plusurbia Design  Located in the western corner of Overtown, the historic entrance of John Sewell’s grand home is marked by two limestone columns, often referred to as Halissee Gate. Today, Halissee Gate stands as a forgotten relic of old Florida, separated from the home by blocks of infill development and the Dolphin Expressway. The Sewell Pocket Park project seeks to re-establish a virtual connection between Halissee Gate and Sewell’s home by creating a new pocket park that showcases the area's history and lost urban framework. Plusurbia Design prepared a design and concept feasibility to encourage the City of Miami to revitalize this empty lot where Halissee Gate columns still stand as a passive public open space to be enjoyed by the local Overtown community. The project was completed in April 2023 and includes various features, such as seating areas, shade structures, native landscape, artistic elements, and informational plaques, all intended to educate and enrich the life of the community. The project also includes improvements to the adjacent right-of-way surrounding Halissee Gate, creating a safer pedestrian environment. The Pocket Park project is part of Plusurbia Design's effort to build stronger urban connections in Overtown and provide the community with safe, vibrant public spaces for gathering and recreation. The park serves as a lasting reminder of the neighborhood's rich heritage and commitment to creating a brighter future. In addition to the Pocket Park, Plusurbia Design has partnered with other local organizations to develop additional public spaces throughout The City. From plazas that reflect Miami's rich history and vibrant culture to pocket parks and playgrounds that give children a safe place to play, Plusurbia Design is committed to creating meaningful and lasting public spaces for locals.
Panama Mobility
Panama Mobility Project Type: Mobility Assessment Project Status: Completed Dates: August 2023 Site Area: N/A Team: Plusurbia Design + WeArchitects + Colectivo 270 Client: IDB - InterAmerican Development Bank Integrating e-mobility and Transportation Infrastructure Resilience for Panama City.  Plusurbia Design, along with WeArchitects and Colectivo 270 were invited to conduct a mobility assessment for the InterAmerican Development Bank in Panama City. This project is focused on researching how e-mobility can be integrated into the current transportation infrastructure and increase its resilience. The team conducted field visits, research workshops, and stakeholder meetings in 2023, and concluded the project with a comprehensive report that outlines recommendations for the use of e-mobility as part of urban resilience in Panama City. These recommendations include changes in vehicular circulation, design standards, policy, and a variety of infrastructure investments. The team plans to prepare an implementation plan based on these suggestions that will serve as further guidance for the IDB's efforts to improve urban mobility in Panama, as a second phase. The team's research was focused on identifying key trends and opportunities related to pedestrian access and e-mobility in Panama City, including safe access for pedestrians, bikes and electric vehicles (EVs), charging infrastructure, public transport integration, and more. The findings were used to design a series of action steps to promote and incentivize the adoption of electric vehicles, expand charging infrastructure, and leverage technology to improve urban mobility.  
Bayamón Riverfront
Bayamón Riverfront Smart District Project Type: Economic Revitalization, Urban Design, and Transportation Planning Project Status: Completed Dates: August 2023 Site Area: approx. 52 acres Team: Plusurbia Design The City of Bayamon is one of few Puerto Rico cities with all the necessary ingredients for reinvestment to translate into remarkable transformation already taking place. With visionary leadership, Bayamon has revitalized its downtown historic architecture by restoring its architecture and integrating art through a captivating facade improvement program featuring vibrant murals. In addition, the city has prioritized reinvestment in its infrastructure, enhancing streets, expanding sidewalks, and improving accessibility to the metro station. The Tren Urbano, an elevated metro line, seamlessly connects Bayamon to the vibrant San Juan Metropolitan area, creating the possibility for a car-free lifestyle only possible in a few places, making this municipality a genuinely enviable place to live, work and play. Plusurbia Design was commissioned to envision the revitalization of Bayamon's Riverfront. An area currently underutilized and in need of redevelopment.  The proposed vision is for a vibrant space that seamlessly blends natural and man-made elements. The urban infill plan includes a variety of complimentary uses to bring life back to the area. Those uses are largely connected through a series of  pedestrian friendly spaces, emphasizing public amenities along the riverfront, increasing access to the waterfront, and more importantly creating an identity for the district. Our studio believes that sustainability should be the cornerstone of all its projects. Sustainable strategies, such as stormwater management, green infrastructure and energy conservation and generation are incorporated into the design.  This project serves as an example of how sustainable urban design can help create meaningful public spaces and encourage positive environmental, economic and social change. With the goal of creating a vibrant district that encourages interactions between people, businesses, the waterfront and nature through thoughtful design and planning, the plan proposes a variety of uses including residential housing, commercial/retail, and public open space. The plan also puts forth a vision for greening the district with a strong emphasis on urban agriculture. Community gardens, edible landscaping, green roofs and food hubs are all proposed as ways to foster social interaction while increasing access to challenging food deserts. Additionally, this type of programming encourages environmental stewardship by reducing water usage through rainwater collection and energy conservation through the use of renewable energy sources.
Lattice – Comprehensive Planning
Lattice - A new approach to Comprehensive Planning Project Type: Planning Platform | Code Project Status: Ongoing Dates: November 2020 - Present Team: Plusurbia Design Lattice enables communities to craft a vision for their future through better comprehensive planning. Plusurbia Design developed a Comprehensive Planning tool called Lattice for planning professionals, elected officials, and regional stakeholders. Visit The Center for Comprehensive Planning. Released as a free online tool, Lattice is part of a not-for-profit effort to help communities rapidly develop a planning framework that uses current best practices to address a specific area's economic, environmental, and social challenges. Lattice provides a step-by-step approach to comprehensive planning through an interactive prompt algorithm. The Lattice Planning Engine: Through an interactive questionnaire, Lattice dynamically generates a plan template that aims to meet the needs and achieve the goals of the planning region. The answer to each question prompts Lattice to generate the ideal plan structure and automatically includes general language for elements, goals, and policies tuned to user input. Lattice is the product of years of research by planners eager to develop a better way to create comprehensive plans, especially new ones or those needing significant updates to incorporate best practices. Plusurbia Design is committed to improving planning beyond its practice through The Center for Comprehensive Planning.  The Center provides resources, including guidance documents and interactive tools, to equip communities with the information they need to envision and create new, calibrated regulatory frameworks.
Miami Beach Resilient Development Code
Miami Beach Resilient Development Code Project Type: Form-Based and Resiliency Code Project Status: Ongoing Dates: November 2020 - Present Site Area: Citywide (9,740 AC) Team: Plusurbia + Perkins+Will (lead) Client: City of Miami Beach, FL Plusurbia was part of a multi-disciplinary team that included architects, engineers, and scientists capable of transforming the existing and outdated Code into a new document that established guidelines for new construction for the next fifty years. The team spent months meeting with community groups, architects, developers, and a number of Public Citizen Boards and the City’s Planning Department to lead them into a new and visionary Code that would address many of the issues and possible remedies to the devastating effects of sea-water rise. This project consisted of drafting a new form-based style resiliency code, tailored specifically to Miami Beach and focusing on resilience adaptation and mitigation strategies. This code simplifies use requirements, focusing on building orientation, scale, context, and building frontages. This code will provide City staff, developers, and the community with clear and consistent rules and regulations to which new development must conform. This form-based style resiliency code enables the City to formulate a strategic plan that will continue to promote and protect the historic character of the distinct neighborhoods, while identifying areas for sustainable growth and development.
City Terrace CDC
City Terrace Community Development Corporation Project Type: Transportation Planning & Urban Design Project Status: Ongoing Dates: June 2022 - present Site Area: approx. 6 acres Team: Plusurbia Design + BusinessFlare Client: Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation Inc. The premise of this project is to provide General Planning and Economic Development Strategy Services to provide a holistic development vision, strategies, and recommendations for the future development of the Opa-Locka CDC  properties as part of a larger special district. This planning exercise consisted of a dual-scoped approach. It included a high-level analysis and suggestions for Opa-locka’s downtown and surroundings, as well as a more detailed master plan and recommendations for a transit-oriented development (TOD) area. This TOD area is proposed to be located between the city’s Tri-Rail station and downtown, capitalizing on these assets and the properties owned or considered for ownership by the Opa Locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC), reflecting their pivotal role in the area’s more extensive redevelopment. Specifically, the goals of the project are to: Create a walkable TOD destination for the City of Opa-Locka that helps reposition their place brand from unsafe and unpredictable to the next Miami transformation story and a place of opportunity. Maximize the development potential of the OLCDC properties as part of a larger strategy to leverage revitalization (commercial and residential) by applying Urban Core and TOD principles to the area and identifying market potential that supports financially feasible new development Create a phasing and acquisition strategy that maximizes leverage, ROI, and future opportunities for OLCDC and their partners, including the County, CRA, and City.
Affordable Housing Blueprint
West Grove Affordable Housing Blueprint Project Type: Affordable Housing Project Status: Completed | June 2022 Dates: July 2021 - June 2022 Site Area: 960 acres Team: Plusurbia Design, BusinessFlare, The Corradino Group Client: City of Miami Creating the right conditions for Affordable Housing in a neighborhood requires a carefully calibrated combination of factors to be considered carefully. Variables are often difficult to estimate and predict and differ greatly, including development costs, market conditions, and land availability. Others can be managed through policy, regulation, administrative processes, and financial assistance to increase opportunities and the likelihood of Affordable Housing being built in any given area. This Blueprint for Affordable Housing provides a guide to make policy and legislative modifications to the current conditions in the West Grove to incentivize its Affordable Housing component. It also includes case studies where this has been achieved and proposes Assistance Programs to mitigate the displacement of its residents. The proposed recommendations are intended to improve the tangible, implementable, and predictable factors based on current conditions to create Affordable Housing in the West Grove. Regular calibrations and modifications to these recommendations will be necessary to keep up with changing local and regional socio-economic conditions. This will ensure that, over time, families in West Grove can remain in their homes and not be cost-burdened by it, giving them upward economic mobility within the neighborhood.
Playa de Ponce – Borinquen Trail
Playa de Ponce Segment - Borinquen Trail Project Type: Mobility Plan Project Status: Completed Dates: February 2023 Site Area: 6 miles Team: Plusurbia Design This rails-to-trails study proposes a network of paths and first-phase interventions in Playa de Ponce, Puerto Rico. This vision report was developed in conjunction with community leaders, non-profits, and government stakeholders in Playa de Ponce, a historically underserved urban center on the South coast of Puerto Rico. Plusurbia Design proposed to carry out a study for Borinquen Trail for Para la Naturaleza’s cultural projects grant. Plusurbia Design carried out this study of Borinquen Trail for Para la Naturaleza’s cultural projects grant. The study mapped the existing conditions of Playa de Ponce’s mobility and public spaces, proposed a multi-modal implementation plan for walking, biking, and transit, and developed creative placemaking strategies. The results from this study will help guide the growth of Playa de Ponce by connecting its neighborhoods with cultural heritage sites and the rest of Ponce. The plan proposed to build a continuous ‘complete street approach’ along the route with bicycle routes and amenities, such as street trees, cultural centers, parks, bioswales, wayfinding signage, and historic property markers. The development of this new trail would create better streets and public spaces in Playa de Ponce while also improving access to jobs and opportunities. Furthermore, the plan included recommendations for implementing climate resilience, stormwater management, microgrids, storm surge defense, and historic preservation strategies. The city council is currently considering measures to implement the recommendations in the study. If approved, residents can look forward to a continuous bicycle route between Playa and the city center and a continuous path along the Southern coast connecting with communities along the former railroad. Ultimately, these proposed changes will lead to a more livable and sustainable Playa de Ponce. By providing residents with reliable and accessible transit options, the city can move towards achieving its goal of a greener future.
USC Nuestro Barrio Multi-Modal Plan
Sacred Heart University, PR | 'Our Neighborhood' Multi-Modal Plan Project Type: Transportation Planning & Mobility Audits Project Status:  Ongoing Dates: June 2022 - present Site Area: approx. 6 acres Team: Plusurbia Design + Management & Technical Consulting Group Client: Universidad Sagrado Corazon, PR The ' Nuestro Barrio ' Multi-Modal Plan is a multimodal mobility study of conditions for people walking, biking, or taking transit in and around the Universidad de Sagrado Corazon in Santurce. The project includes an analysis of barriers to multimodal mobility, preparing guidelines for transit-oriented development (TOD) projects, and proposing redesigns for streets incorporating multimodal infrastructure. The outcome of this project includes redesigning the university's transit system and bicycle-friendly campus facilities. Additionally, the project assesses existing infrastructure and prioritizes new projects to increase accessibility and safety. This initiative aims to provide students with a safe, convenient, and sustainable way to move within the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. The team has adopted an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the full context of multimodal mobility at the university site. Initial research includes conducting stakeholder interviews, analyzing existing land use patterns and transportation networks, and exploring various mobility solutions. Furthermore, the team has conducted extensive outreach to engage stakeholders in defining new mobility goals for the university campus area. The project also involves creating design strategies that address current infrastructure deficiencies while looking ahead to future growth at the university. The resulting plan is expected to create an integrated and coordinated system of multimodal transportation networks to meet current and future demand while providing sustainable, equitable, and safe mobility options for all users. The team hopes this project will provide a framework for transforming the campus area into a vibrant, connected community with improved access to jobs, educational opportunities, and resources. In addition, the project will also be used to inform policy decisions related to land uses and development in the area.
East Gateway District
East Gateway District Project Type: Master Planning Project Status: Completed | October 2022 Dates: August - October 2022 Site Area: 170 acres Team: Plusurbia Design Client: East Gateway Coalition Greenville, South Carolina is known for the story of its downtown revitalization and embrace of planning to reinvent itself into one of the most vibrant, fastest-growing cities in the country. However, its most popular entrance, providing visitors with their first impressions of the city, must reflect this modern reality. Instead, the Gateway Area contains a series of disconnected development patterns that have evolved independently over the last 200 years, including a National Register-listed Historic Neighborhood, the city’s Arena, and the county’s Law Enforcement Center. The Community Vision Plan embraces the neighborhood’s assets and introduces strategies to weave the built environment back together, better establishing physical and psychological connections to the adjacent downtown. The project began by reimagining the central corridor as a multimodal boulevard flanked by mixed-use, urban-style development. From there, introducing a transition zone offers a way to preserve the neighborhood's historic character, while allowing the corridor to reach its ideal density. Furthermore, exploring additional infill development opportunities around the arena reveals the potential for a new entertainment district that will continue to build on Greenville's legacy of great placemaking.
Allapattah 17th Avenue Survey
Allapattah 17th Avenue Survey Project Type: Historic Preservation Project Status: Completed Dates: December 2019 - October 2021 Site Area: 17th Avenue between NW 20th Street and NW 36th Street Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Dade Heritage Trust Dade Heritage Trust partnered with the Allapattah Collaborative to bring attention to the unique character of this thriving Dominican neighborhood of Allapattah and to support the small, locally-owned businesses along 17th Avenue. Through their efforts, 17th Avenue was designated as a National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street program. In support of Allapattah’s Main Street initiative, Dade Heritage Trust commissioned Plusurbia Design to create a building inventory study of NW 17th Avenue between NW 20th Street and NW 36th Street. This study provides a snapshot of history for each property along 17th Avenue, including a historic photo, a current photo, and a history of the various businesses that were located on the site from the 1920s until the 1970s. This picture in time provides information for property owners and neighborhood stakeholders to make informed decisions about the future, based on a better understanding of the history of Allapattah’s “Main Street.” This investigation into Allapattah’s history revealed the hard-working, industrial character of 17th Avenue throughout the 20th Century, and the cultural transformation of the neighborhood as waves of Dominican immigrants arrived in the neighborhood by way of the Miami River.
The Underline Special District
The Underline Special District Plan Project Type: Urban Planning and Design Project Status: Completed Dates: April 2019 - February 2020 Site Area: 10+ mile Corridor Team: Plusurbia Design + Tindale Oliver (Benesch) Client: Friends of the Underline, Inc. The Underline, a 10+ mile green corridor along the Miami-Dade Metro Rail, has the potential to impact its surrounding areas through careful planning and zoning positively. Inversely, the corridor will significantly benefit by assuring that surrounding areas are protected, that stakeholders are provided safe and pleasant access to the corridor, and that any potential future development is appropriate to its context and its privileged Transit Oriented location. This study calibrates through planning and zoning the future development and mobility improvements along the length of the corridor spanning five municipalities. To maximize the corridor’s positive impact and balance changes resulting from the creation of this Green Corridor, the study proposes mid-scale development that transitions from denser and more intense transit-oriented areas to single-family residential neighborhoods. Future development and infrastructure improvements are supported through financing strategies outlined in the study to allow the corridor's evolution to be incremental. Recommendations are necessary to understand this balance and propose improvements to development standards and value capture mechanisms to capitalize on the value created to build and maintain the Corridor’s positive impact.
Borinquen Trail
Borinquen Trail - Rails 2 Trails Project Type: Mobility Project Status: Ongoing Dates: September 2020 - Present Site Area: Islandwide Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Internal - Pro Bono Borinquen Trail is a proposal in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society to reuse the former railroad right-of-way. The vision is the transformation of Puerto Rico’s former railroad right-of-way repurposed as an off-road path network for sustainable and low-speed transportation, integrating community initiatives through an islandwide framework. The project traverses coastal communities along 680 Kilometers, passing along tropical beaches, forests, and urban centers. The Borinquen Trail plans to connect cultural and historic destinations (such as old sugar mills, former rail infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels, and miles of coastal areas) and economic hubs such as traditional town centers and recreational / sports facilities, including national parks. Rail-to-trails are multi-purpose public paths created from former railroad corridors. They are often flat or follow a gentle grade as they traverse urban, suburban, and rural communities in America. Throughout the extension of this corridor, an educational program will provide context to the historical use of the corridor, including the role railroads played in Puerto Rico’s 19th and early 20th-century economy, as its route extends along the coast and links to former sugar mills in the mountains. Most former railroad right-of-way runs along public lands, making the public sector a key partner. Learn more and show your support at the following link: http://rutaborinquen.org
El Encanto District
Project Type: Master Planning and Conceptual Design Project Status: Completed Dates: February 2020 - May 2020 Site Area: 590.75 acres Team: Castillo Arquitectos (lead) + Plusurbia Design + Leon Sol arquitectos consultores + Zanetta Illustration Client: JOR., S.A. El Encanto District Master Plan was carried out during a Design Workshop called a "Charrette." This was carried out at the El Encanto facilities in February 2020. During an intensive work session of 5 consecutive days, the designers collaborated with the client to define the project's objectives, generate consensus regarding its vision, and represent a strategy for strategic projects to be developed in different stages of intervention in El Encanto. The Charrette began with an extensive reconnaissance visit to both Phase 1, the Huizúcar area, and the 68 blocks in San José Villanueva. The resulting Master Plan that was developed responds to the needs of El Encanto and its stakeholders, providing a holistic approach to the District's urban design. It features four strategic pillars: 1) Mobility, 2) Public Space & Infrastructure, 3) Housing, and 4) Landscape & Ecology. These four pillars address the various challenges faced by El Encanto. It defines the necessary strategies to improve mobility and connectivity, as well as an overall urban development plan; it proposes a mix of housing types and suggests ways to promote climate-resilient and green housing; finally, the Master Plan promotes a comprehensive approach to landscape design, with an emphasis on restoring natural areas and creating recreational spaces. In all, El Encanto’s Master Plan is designed to help the city become a more livable, vibrant, and sustainable place for locals.
Brandon Town Center
Brandon Town Center Project Type: Master Planning Project Status: Under Construction Dates: September 2018 - February 2019 Site Area: 56 acres Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Rotunda Land Development The Brandon Town Center is a mixed-use, walkable downtown environment planned for Brandon, a primarily suburban community located east of Tampa in Hillsborough County. The project includes a variety of uses, including commercial, entertainment & recreational space; multi-family residential; single-family homes; civic & government services; parks; and public art. The project's goal was to create a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented downtown environment that would provide an amenity to the community while providing a positive return on investment for our client. The plan features a main street with mixed-use buildings flanked on either side by attached single-family houses (row houses). There is a stormwater and recreational pond and a food hall that anchors the central green space and looks out onto the pond. The design also includes public open spaces for recreation, seating, shade trees for cooling, and play structures. Innovative stormwater managing techniques will be deployed, including green infrastructure such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, and bioswales to manage stormwater runoff. Each area is designed according to the wants and needs of the community, with special consideration given to the existing landscape and ecological systems. A vehicle-free street type is used in the master plan to provide enhanced pedestrian connectivity, safety, and comfort. The streets are designed to be naturally traffic-calmed, with on-street parking, wide sidewalks, street trees, and textured crosswalks.  These streets aim to create a pedestrian-friendly environment that can host various activities, such as outdoor markets, performances, and promenades.
Village of El Portal – Design Guidelines
Village of El Portal Design Guidelines Project Type: Planning Project Status: Completed Completion Date: October 2020 Site Area: 256 acres Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Village of El Portal The Village of El Portal Council unanimously adopted the first El Portal Design Guidelines on October 27, 2020. The guidelines were developed after the Village Mayor Claudia V. Cubillos and Village Council directed the Planning Consultant to develop Architectural guidelines; these guidelines aim to preserve and enhance the Village of El Portal's unique character while allowing for change through new development. The El Portal Design Guidelines articulate design principles that guide architects, developers, and property owners in creating a built environment compatible with existing structures, open spaces, and the public realm. They intend to provide a framework for the successful execution of quality urban design and architecture in El Portal, addressing building composition, scale, and articulation to establish a measure of architectural harmony that accommodates diverse styles and uses and addresses landscaping and site design elements. The guidelines also facilitate the review process by clarifying the architectural expectations of the community. These standards aim to achieve street-friendly buildings, authenticity, climate responsiveness, and contextuality. This document sets general guidelines concerning its purposes and contents and are not meant to be regulatory.
Las Olas
Project Type: Corridor Analysis and Design of Multimodal Alternatives Project Status: Completed | August 2020 Site Area: 3.5 mi Team: Plusurbia Design + The Corradino Group (lead) Client: City of Fort Lauderdale Las Olas Boulevard is a vital link for multimodal traffic. It is a strategic part of the roadway network and the most direct east-west route for people walking and cycling. Our project vision is to connect residents and visitors of Fort Lauderdale through the enhancement of this iconic boulevard representing our history and future. As the major thoroughfare connecting downtown Fort Lauderdale and Central Beach, Las Olas Boulevard must balance moving people efficiently through a balance of transportation needs inclusive of pedestrian, bicycling, vehicular, and transit modes, with space programmed to safely accommodate other alternative modes, such as scooters, when they arrive. Las Olas is the most direct route between Downtown Fort Lauderdale and the beach. Its centrality also places it within reach of transit, first response, and park facilities. The goal is to reimagine the 3.5-mile length of Las Olas Boulevard from Downtown through The Isles. Las Olas Boulevard is considered the critical identity street for Fort Lauderdale, and our challenge is to build on the strengths already in place to create a memorable image; a world-class street. Las Olas Boulevard today has four distinct characters: Downtown, The Shops, Colee Hammock, and The Isles. Several variables comprise the makeup of each street segment: 1- Pedestrian areas, bicycle, and scooter lanes, asphalt for cars and vehicles, all things that move and are in motion; 2- Amenities throughout, such as landscaping, street furniture, signage, and lighting. These elements are static and have different purposes in different street parts. These elements are the basis of the visual identity for each street segment; 3- Different roles during the day and at nighttime; and 4- The street also differs from Weekday, Weeknight, Weekend, and Event operations. The design of Las Olas Boulevard strives to create a street that achieves the following for residents and visitors: • Promote quality of life through context-sensitive design • Efficient use of the road network to allow for a variety of uses, such as open streets • Safe, comfortable, and direct routes for nonmotorized modes of travel such as bicycles and scooters
Hialeah Heights
Hialeah Heights Project Type: Master Planning Project Status: Completed Completion Date: April 2020 Site Area: 33 acres Team: Plusurbia Design Client: City of Hialeah Emerald Bay is a Conceptual Master Plan created in collaboration with the property owners, their consultants, and the City of Hialeah’s Planning Department to encourage a mixed-use, connected walkable development. The initial research and stakeholder meetings of the existing municipal regulatory conditions and a review of existing site plans in the area showed great potential to create a traditional neighborhood-style site planning and development framework. This project aims to provide a well-knit neighborhood lifestyle in a walkable environment. It offers several green spaces and amenities such as a clubhouse, pool, dog park, fitness center, and water features. It also considers a multimodal approach by providing walkable and bikeable streets that can connect to adjacent future projects. The design is divided into two properties with current industrial use that are designed similarly and function independently. This proposed multi-family design, within the City’s annexed area named “Hialeah Heights” at the northwest of the City’s boundaries, is planned to provide an urban framework that can expand to adjacent properties connecting to the proposed streets and block structure. It proposes 900 medium-income rental multifamily units designed in 3-4 story garden-style apartment buildings with 2- and 3-bedroom units. The design creates a traditional neighborhood with diverse building types, creating an exciting and vibrant community that encourages pedestrian movement and social engagement.
Wynwood Norte
Project Type: Neighborhood Revitalization Project Status: Completed | September 2019 Site Area: 207 acres Team: PlusUrbia Design + C-Street Collaborative Client: Wynwood Community Enhancement Association (WCEA) Faced with development pressure from Wynwood Business District to the south, Midtown to the east, and Design District to the north, the Wynwood Norte Neighborhood is at risk of being redeveloped without a clear, holistic vision where a historically cohesive community may lose its current identity and strengths. This, in turn, may affect the future livability of its current neighbors and future residents. This community-led Master Planning exercise surveys the neighborhood, its character, and conditions; it presents a comprehensive Vision Plan integrating what residents, business owners, community leaders, and stakeholders of Wynwood Norte want to see in their community with best planning practices. This plan emphasizes an approach to growth that supports existing residents. This plan recognizes and addresses residents' fear of keeping their homes by introducing measures to mitigate displacement and improve affordability. Proposed strategies help residents reinvest in existing homes and to provide residents with expanded and better-quality housing options within the neighborhood. Proactive steps are taken to preserve the existing residential fabric while introducing incentives to develop or redevelop vacant and/or underutilized sites to meet community needs. It prioritizes public investments in infrastructure, transportation, open spaces, and parks, promoting sustainability and green building practices while providing equitable access to jobs and services.  The plan proposes strategies to create a safe and healthy environment while preserving the unique history and cultural identity of Wynwood Norte. Calibration of planning and zoning is paramount to maximize the neighborhood's assets and guide future development. 
Suburban Corridor to TOD
Turning a Suburban corridor into a Transit Oriented Neighborhood Node Project Type: Transportation Planning & Urban Design Project Status: Completed Dates: 2018 Site Area: approx. 1/4 mile Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Pro-bono Plusurbia is devoted to spurring and improving development in suburban corridors converting them into transit-oriented developments. These urban centers encourage ridership and promote walkability, mobility, and accessibility for all. The incremental conversion of a former shopping center into a mixed-use development is a simple example of what can be implemented in suburban areas around the country to provide ex-urban communities with the services and access needed to reduce traffic and car dependency. Low to Mid-rise buildings provide a variety of housing and increase the population needed to support transit use. Large swaths of parking lots fronting the street can be replaced with street-level retail with active frontages, promoting walkability and encouraging residents to shop locally, use transportation, and fulfill many of their daily needs on their way to or from their destinations. Pavement reductions and increased tree canopy along the street reduce the heat island effect, creating a more comfortable walking and biking experience. These retrofits can provide an economic engine, convert sprawling suburban shopping centers into compact and vibrant urban centers, encourage the use of public transportation, and promote a better quality of life.
Hialeah TOD
Hialeah Transit-Oriented Development | Guidelines and Zoning Amendments Project Type: Transit-Oriented Development Project Status: Completed Completion Date: October 2016 Site Area: 313 acres Team: PlusUrbia Client: City of Hialeah A 1925 suburb’s transformation from car dependency to 21st-century commuter rail connectivity The Hialeah Transit Oriented Development Plan (TOD) will transition two of the city’s car-dependent suburban, underutilized warehouse districts into vibrant, mixed-use, compact communities served by premium commuter rail.  The fully-adopted zoning will create 313 acres of walkable, urban development in a working-class community that has not benefited from significant economic growth in decades. For the first time in the city’s 90-year history, it will create dense, walkable, 24-hour mixed-use districts linked to some of the best fixed rail commuter transit in South Florida. The enacted legislation creates two compact districts to address Hialeah’s need for workforce housing, adaptive reuse, job creation, civic space, complete streets, and dense urban living. Hialeah, Florida, was incorporated in 1925 and was best known for the Hialeah Race Track in its early years.  The city grew rapidly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, becoming a popular destination for Cuban exiles who began transforming the city into a working-class community. The pair of large TODs will transform Hialeah from the typical, nearly 100 percent car-dependent American suburb into a prime example of urban living. Complete Streets Guidelines, adopted in parallel with the two TODs, will transform suburbia into complete districts with pedestrian, bicycle, and transit mobility networks. Compact urban development created by the TOD districts is within walking distance of three rail nodes that provide direct rail links to regional job centers and three international airports. The city’s leadership in creating two major TODs will unlock the potential of primarily underused existing train stations. TOD will introduce more equitable, affordable, sustainable, and healthy communities to Hialeah. Transit Oriented Development regulations are a significant step toward reducing the cost of living for Miami-Dade County’s second-largest municipality. WalletHub ranked Hialeah as the second worst city in America regarding income gap applied to housing affordability, where “nearly one out of three tenants in Hialeah spends at least 50 percent of their net monthly income on rent, dwarfing the 35 percent maximum recommended global standard.” TOD zoning requires one space for each one-bedroom unit, generally under 650 square feet, and 1.5 spaces for larger units. Developers can reduce the parking requirement by a half-space per unit by paying into a parking fund that will pay for centralized garages, increasing walkability. Relieved of the expense of building excessive parking, developers can offer units at a more affordable price. The cost of living is further reduced by proximity to rail, eliminating the high cost of car ownership. Millennials searching for housing have been largely priced out of greater Miami. In Hialeah, the sixth most populous city in Florida, Market Station, and Transfer Station TODs will provide mixed-use districts with micro units connected by rail to all the region’s activity centers. A wide range of price points will serve empty nesters and young families seeking workforce housing. Increased density promotes arts, restaurants, and shops. All buildings must have ground-floor retail to activate the street. Market Station District is a continuation of the nearby existing LEAH Arts District. TOD zoning encourages adaptive reuse of existing warehouse structures.  Complete Streets promote healthy living options for mobility beyond the car. Their design is considered parallel to the uses they serve and incentivizes civic life. In Market Station, a high-rise allows 125 units per acre and up to 12 stories via a bonus program to get three additional stories. Mid-rise areas are zoned for 125 units per acre and up to eight stories by adding three stories via bonus. Low-rise areas are zoned for up to 36 units per acre at a maximum of four stories. High densities in lower buildings promote smaller, more affordable dwelling units. Transfer Station has the same density, with high-rise capped at eight stories, mid-rise at six, and low-rise at three. Bonus development rights can be attained by providing benefits such as affordable / workforce housing, public park / open space, LEED certification, adaptive reuse of legacy structures, and cash contributions to a public benefits fund. The benefits fund can be used to acquire, create, maintain, and restore green and open spaces. Market Station TOD encourages historic preservation by restoring the 1926 Seaboard Air Line Railroad depot, which was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1995. APA Florida 2017 Award of Merit in the Neighborhood Planning category
Little Havana Revitalization Master Plan
Little Havana 'Me Importa' Revitalization Master Plan Project Type: Neighborhood Revitalization Project Status: Completed Site Area: 1,700 acres Team: PlusUrbia Design + National Trust for Historic Preservation + Dade Heritage Trust + Urban Health Partnerships + Live Healthy Little Havana + City of Miami Client: Health Foundation of South Florida Plusurbia led the team in the partnership, preserving the authenticity of Little Havana while creating design guidelines for proper growth and development and setting the stage for zoning recommendations. The unprecedented project was in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which named Little Havana a “National Treasure.” The effort also focused on healthy urban living, a goal of project partner Live Healthy Little Havana. Dade Heritage Trust and Urban Health Partnerships were also partners in this initiative to retain character, density, scale, and affordability in Little Havana. This is an outgrowth of PlusUrbia’s advocacy for a complete streets approach to the pending FDOT redesign of the Calle Ocho corridor (SW 7 and SW 8 streets between SW 27 and Brickell avenue). Images were created of a 21st-century Calle Ocho with multimodal transportation alternatives such as dedicated bike and transit lanes, comfortable wide sidewalks, and additional safe crosswalks in a vibrant urban setting. Dade Heritage Trust 2017 Annual Preservation Award Making Cities Livable Conference - Honor Award for Excellence - A Healthy City for All 2019 APA Florida 2019 Award of Excellence in the Grassroots Initiative category APA Florida Gold Coast Chapter 2019 Award of Excellence for Best Plan, Report, or Study         
Wynwood Steps
Wynwood Steps Mixed-Use Concept Architecture Project Type: Concept Architecture Project Status: Completed Dates: April 2016 Site Area: 1.75 AC Team: Plusurbia Design Client: Goldman Plusurbia was tasked to create an innovative way to intertwine public and private space in a mixed-use project for one of the most prominent sites in the Wynwood Arts District. The Project combines the street-level pedestrian experience, creative office, and retail space through a seamless circulation strategy. It created an outdoor amphitheater-stepped seating space using a recessed gran stair overlooking the street combined with native landscaping. The design also considered pedestrians' circulation to access public and private areas. The result is a beautiful and vibrant place that perfectly complements the surrounding district while providing a safe, comfortable, and inviting experience to all who visit. Given its location and the civic space provided, the project has an iconic identity, showing that urban design can be both aesthetically and functionally successful when thoughtfully designed. This project is also a great example of how sustainability can be integrated into design through landscape, featuring native species and drought-tolerant plants requiring minimal maintenance. The design indicates how urban design can bring communities together, create beauty in the cityscape, and positively impact the environment. It is an inspiring example of how responsible urban planning and design can make our cities more livable, sustainable, and enjoyable. Plusurbia is committed to creating resilient cities with projects like this one that demonstrate how thoughtful design can promote social inclusion and environmental stewardship.
Coconut Grove Master Implementation Plan
Coconut Grove Master Plan Project Type: Visioning & Master Implementation Plan Project Status: Completed Site Area: +/- 150 acres - study area Team: PlusUrbia + Perkins+Will Client: Coconut Grove Business Improvement District (BID) Created from extensive stakeholder input, the plan is a comprehensive overview and specific action roadmap to guide proper growth that positively impacts economic development and quality of life. The results-oriented plan provides the tools to improve the identity and character, open space, mobility, land use and form, community, and resiliency of Coconut Grove’s Village Core. These tools are organized into six building blocks essential to maintaining the Grove’s history of lush greenery, idyllic waterfront, unique restaurants/retail, and a one-of-a-kind village vibe.  The goal is to create a vibrant Village Core while protecting the tranquil and livable adjacent residential neighborhoods that make Coconut Grove Miami’s unique Garden District. The master plan contains decisive action steps that empower the BID to re-energize the heart of the Village Core and have a clear long-term roadmap for the years to come.  It establishes the BID as the central coordinating body to ensure that great ideas become fully-implemented physical improvements. With this document, Grovites, elected officials, and municipal departments will have a comprehensive tool to deliver the combined synthesized goals established by the BID, the Village Council, the Grove 2030, government agencies, and other previous plans and studies. APA Florida 2019 Award of Merit in the Neighborhood Planning category APA Florida - Gold Coast - 2019 Award of Merit Implementation Award
Pocket Parks
Miami's Pocket Parks Project Type: Planning & Zoning Project Status: Ongoing Completion Date: Ongoing Site Area: n/a Team: PlusUrbia Client: City of Miami - Pro bono work Everyone can agree that Miami is a city with an evident lack of green public spaces. A 2015 report by The Trust for Public Land, City Park Facts, found that within the city limits, out of 22,957 land acres, only 1,442 are park acres in Miami or 6.3%. That equates to only 3.5 park acres for every 1,000 residents. The challenge is finding suitable and affordable locations for parks accessible to citizens. One of the solutions is pocket parks. Several of these smaller spaces, usually located in vacant lots within the urban fabric, serve people who live in their vicinity. With a pocket park nearby, people don’t have to rely on making their way to a big city park to take their kids to play, read under a tree, walk their dogs, or enjoy being outside. A pocket park should be accessible by a short walk for all residents in a neighborhood. This is already an incentive to get people to walk and exercise. A pocket park also increases social interaction, thereby fostering a stronger community. This, in turn, plays a role in reducing crime in the neighborhood. With all of the benefits of pocket parks, the properties surrounding them are expected to increase in value dramatically. Because of all of the positive outcomes they bring, PlusUrbia proposes designs for pocket parks to replace the many vacant lots in Little Havana. As the densest neighborhood in Miami, Little Havana goes through blocks on end without any green public spaces. Converting vacant lots into pocket parks throughout the neighborhood can create a connection of spaces that will help continue transforming Little Havana into a more walkable, enjoyable, and safe place for its residents.
Curridabat Master Plan
City of Curridabat Master Plan Project Type: Master Plan & Form-Based Code Project Status: Approved Completion Date: December 2010 Site Area: 2300 acres Team: PlusUrbia + Castillo Arquitectos (lead) + Dover Kohl & Partners Client: Municipalidad de Curridabat In December 2011, a group of designers from PlusUrbia and Dover, Kohl & Partners traveled to Curridabat, Costa Rica, under the direction of Eduardo Castillo of Castillo Arquitectos, Guatemala. The workshop entailed a week-long, hands-on visualization of different areas of the city where neighbors, municipal staff, and stakeholders participated in various activities and meetings with the group of designers. The plan humanizes the city with wider sidewalks, parallel parking, planting strips, and urban furniture. A form-based code creates a properly-scaled built environment to sustain the pedestrian-friendly city. The plan structures future development by ensuring smart growth and providing a safe and innovative environment for its citizens. The project, the first comprehensive plan to be implemented in Central America, was created under the direction of Eduardo Castillo of Castillo Arquitectos, Guatemala. It was honored as “Best City Plan” by the Congress for New Urbanism 2014.  The plan resulted from a week-long, hands-on visualization of different areas of the city where neighbors, municipal staff, and stakeholders participated in various activities and meetings with the group of designers. This report is the base for a Form-Based-Code for the municipality of Curridabat (the first implemented comprehensive plan in Central America) to structure future development, ensuring healthy growth and providing a safe and forward-looking environment for the municipality's citizens. It was honored as “Best City Plan” by the Congress for New Urbanism 2014. CNU XXII Charter Awards - 2014 Best City Plan
DongJiang Gang
DongJiang Gang Master Plan Project Type: Urban & Architectural Design Project Status: Planned Completion Date: February 2012 Site Area: 17.3 acres Team: PlusUrbia (lead) + studio LFA+ LopezJaimes + Walter Chatham Client: Vanke Tianjin DongJiangGang, located on newly reclaimed land on the waterfront of the Bohai Bay in Tianjin, China, creates a new paradigm as a livable community in the region being in harmony with its environment, embedding sustainable and inherent site elements in a built and natural twine that results in a jiving environmental concert. A careful study of northern-European waterfront city-making traditions in similar climatic conditions to those of DongJiangGang led the design of DJG to become highly conscientious in its design intentions and results that promote discourse ­­between its built and unbuilt dichotomies, from the desire to create safe, healthy, and educated communities that evolve into resident-oriented and environment-friendly master plans, design results in the culmination of well-stitched patch-work between commercial centers, residential units, and waterfronts providing open water views to all residents and visitors from both public and private locations. Therefore, the wharf becomes a superb setting for this romantic idea of shared spaces and commonwealth, where people can enjoy ocean views indoors and varied outdoor areas. The master plan promotes this common-wealth idea by providing ‘shared’ views of the water maximized by willing the buildings into v-shapes that, enhanced with height, hierarchy, and variation in residential typologies, create a homogeneous array of unit types that encourage social interaction. Careful attention has been given to the shoreline design that becomes the central community amenity. This continuous linear open space makes a unique recreational space for residents and visitors alike. It protects and promotes the area's natural beauty while standing as a unifying edge that transitions from “life-by-the-water’s-edge” to a rational interpretation of traditional waterfront living. The language of the architecture attempts to bridge a contemporary paradigm of the historical precept on newly reclaimed (man-made) land. Un-served by immediate stylistic or historical context. Simplicity and elegance are paramount to creating a backdrop to the site's natural beauty, engaging the sun, water, and site edges without whimsically applying paradigms that contradict or dictate new forms or discourse. In respect to this dialogue between nature and unique form that detaches and engages the site conditions, DJG employs simple shapes and colors that are disposed and utilized following pragmatic precepts: i.e., openings to provide views, volumes to orient and terminate vistas, so architecture creates backdrops and responds to their civic duty of creating and enhancing spaces subdued by the human scale and proportion laws.
Playa Inca
Playa Inca Project Type: Urban Design Study Project Status: Planned Completion Date: July 2012 Site Area: 60 acres Team: PlusUrbia Client: In-house study We seldom find land planning projects that incorporate the artistry of the ultra-modern-chic-stylized-look of “starchitects” with the pragmatic, modest, yet skillful layouts derived from traditional precepts and principles. Surveying the strata of contemporary designs, “starchitects” sometimes lack and often purposely dismiss realism, sacrificing the creation of livable places instead of visually impacting images that seek to call attention to themselves and nothing more – these are projects that are made for publication and not for living. On the other hand, traditional design methods follow the principle of systematically sacrificing vision and often relegating interventions to “another Traditional Neighborhood Development” (TOD). In these cases, we often find livable communities that create “a sense of place,” disregarding the identity inherent in every site where they intervene. The imposition of a new “Genius Loci” (spirit of place) at the expense of losing each site's historical/social/etymological value. Playa Inca is the first of a series of studies to find common ground between artistry and traditional principles by using locally identifiable patterns that become the crux of design, introducing proven principles and techniques from traditional land planning. Located near a Peruvian oceanfront town, Playa Inca derives its form from the legacy of Incan construction methods. Its thoroughfare network, open space system, and lot division are extrapolated from the joints created in Incan walls. These forms are morphed into the land, following the terrain and respecting existing streams, topography, and beach dunes. Embedded within its framework, a central all-purpose building faces one of the open space and provides some civic and commercial uses to the project. *This design series is intended for research and education, not construction.
Klaksvik City Center
Klaksvik City Center Project Type: Master Plan Competition Project Status: Planned Completion Date: April 2012 Site Area: 60 acres Team: PlusUrbia (lead) + Castillo Arquitectos Client: Klaksvik Municipality KLAKSVIK – CURRENT CONDITIONS: Klaksvik – a town rich in cultural heritage, natural resources, and history - is experiencing an increasing need for a center that re-defines Klaksvik as an important enclave true to its history and culture, while enhancing its seafaring legacy and rebranding itself as a forward-thinking town that becomes an iconic anchor for the Faroe Islands. INTERVENTION – THE FUTURE: Nexus building – the natural evolution. CRUX This proposal seamlessly extends the existing fabric of Klaksvik while introducing new building typologies based on those found in other Faroese cities. The intervention creates a well-defined urban center that incorporates the highest values and enhances community life. Creating a well-choreographed sequence of spaces and buildings weaves civic, residential, and commercial uses into a rich assembly designed to house various venues: from the casual visit to music and movie festivals. CLIMATE + ENVIRONMENT The design responds to climatic and environmental concerns in order to maintain the center active throughout the year. Site and climate-responsive building frontages, streets and courts are planned as intimate public spaces that can be enjoyed during the summer months. In addition, a secondary mobility system of continuous enclosed galleries and operable arcades is intended to provide a sheltered, walkable environment during the wintertime. Building volumes and heights are designed to enhance views and maximize sunlight exposure based on the low sun angles. Similarly, the interlocking building blocks’ orientation and placement shelters the intervention from prevailing winds by interrupting their natural path, thus protecting the center from strong, direct ocean winds. PROPOSAL New Klaksvik Center becomes the new nexus of the city that makes use of the natural placement, commercial uses and civic venues to create a vibrant enclave organized around the main element that makes Faroese culture, life and history special: a continuous and direct relationship to water and to the surrounding landscape. KEY CONCEPTS + DESIGN PROCESS         Compactedness | Densification | Tradition | Water Ways | Diversity + Interest | Choreographed Views | Memorable Places | Wind-Walls | Summer/Winter Mobility In collaboration with Castillo Arquitectos.
DongJiang Gang Competition
Project Type: Master Plan Competition Project Status: Planned Completion Date: March 2010 Site Area: 17.3 acres Team: PlusUrbia (lead) + Studio LFA + LopezJaimes Client: Vanke The site’s advantageous zoning and planning directives have resulted in a design closely related to the best traditions of Northern European Harbours such as Haffen City, Borneo in Amsterdam, and Malmo in Sweden while creating a new Chinese architectural paradigm. The design considers all the conditions conveyed to us during our visit to Tianjin and builds upon its relationship to the Harbor by not only being inspired by it but actually reusing shipping containers and learning from their dimensions to define the design’s form. The Wetlands have provided a very romantic story for this project where the port can disintegrate into ruins, “a memory of place” similar to the writings of J.B. Jackson. The port is therefore reused artistically within the project's architecture, both in its units and as monuments at key points. They become gateways into nature and, finally, part of nature itself, an economical and environmental way to construct architecture and the landscape - two very important aspects of any project these days. Above all, and even though this type of architecture has been attempted before, very few whose use of recycled elements is inherent in the history of the actual site, a port, and waterfront where nature intrudes and creeps into the architecture such as here.
Hialeah Race Track
Hialeah Race Track Master Plan Project Type: Urban Design Project Status: Planned Completion Date: March 2009 Site Area: 94 acres Team: PlusUrbia Client: Pro-bono work After a prolonged period of remarkable political stewardship which has yielded stability, consolidation, and steady growth, the City of Hialeah is ideally poised for a true renaissance.  Endowed with clear advantages by its transit connectivity, central location in the hub of the Miami-Dade / Broward County line, and a large and growing residential base, Hialeah’s most significant obstacle in its relentless rise to prominence amongst Florida’s elite cities is arguably a still undefined identity.  Its rich, varied, and long-standing cultural heritage has not yet become a distinct and recognizable image.  This elusive «sense of place» has time and again proven to be the critical aggregate that enables communities to capture the imagination and interest of a new generation of savvy investors, driven entrepreneurs, and increasingly discerning prospective residents who seek to add value to their investment by setting their roots in a place of distinction with a unique and readily identifiable image. Significant victories have thus far been achieved in the re-development effort; these have wisely sought to recapture the prestige and élan of Hialeah’s distinguished heritage.  Numerous revitalization plans, infrastructural refurbishment projects, and civic monuments have generated new momentum toward reestablishing Hialeah’s distinction and stature. Within this promising context, the re-development of the Hialeah Race Track site stands poised as the tipping point, the catalyst that may well propel Hialeah forward into a new era of prominence.
Emergency Social Market (ESM)
Emergency Social Market (ESM) Project Type: Modular Growth Study Project Status: Planned Completion Date: April 2012 Site Area: 17 acres Team: PlusUrbia + OSKI studio Client: In-house study ESM has been designed to grow organically over time. Both the housing stock and the planning evolve with the community's needs by systematically adding modules and consolidation of parcels systematically. ESM applies to building blocks or modules to single-family and multi-family designs. The single modular house may be placed on different lot types to become detached, semi-detached, or attached (in townhouse form). A base module of 3 x 3 meters is used for housing typologies that can grow and evolve from a small one-bedroom house to a full-size three-bedroom house. Modular multifamily units are also based on a 3 x 3-meter module allowing additions and sub-division. A basic two-bedroom unit is a standard that can be increased by joining the abovementioned unit. It can also be subdivided to allow commercial uses to be part of the mix, creating live-work units that serve the community’s needs. Internal spaces are secured by gates and provide semi-private open spaces shared among the households. A 19 sm unit is designed to be the smallest possible denominator provided for a family. With an average parcel size of 100m, these basic homes can grow to 131 sm in two floors. The intent is to provide enough flexibility for a family to make the investment and make their homes a long-lasting investment in creating a community.
New Town Phoenix
New Town Phoenix Project Type: Urban Design Project Status: Planned Completion Date: May 2010 Site Area: 76 acres Team: PlusUrbia + studio LFA + OAD Client: Vanke New Town Phoenix proposal offers a unique opportunity to address the re-development needs of a vibrant city with a rich history almost destroyed during the 1976 earthquake. Located in the central area of Bohai Bay, Tangshan borders on the Bohai Sea in the south lies against the Yanshan Mountains in the north, and adjoins Beijing and Tianjin in the west Qinhuangdao in the east. The site is conveniently located northwest of the city’s central business district, in one of Tangshan’s newest neighborhoods, considered the city's heart. The site is near the old airport location and close to a beautiful set of recently designed parks and memorials. Through a recent partnership with private international companies Tangshan, it will soon become an ecological city and serve as a model for its measures to relieve the pressure on the country’s congested and polluted mega-cites. Tangshan has constantly sought to renew itself, always maintaining hope and ensuring that past prosperity ensures future success. Thanks to its residents' dedication and determination, Tangshan has become an exemplary model of the city “reborn.” Over the last century, Tangshan has emerged as a major hub of China’s modern industries. It has witnessed the founding and implementation of China’s first mechanized coal mine; the first standard-gauge railway track; the first steam locomotive; and the first barrel of machine-made cement, among others. Tangshan enjoys a first-class infrastructure and industrial capacity complemented with iron, steel, coal, electric power, building materials, machinery, chemicals, and ceramics as the pillars. The city has established itself as a critical industrial base for energy and raw materials in the country.
BAC House
BAC House Project Type: Architectural Design Project Status: Planned Completion Date: April 2012 Site Area: 3,200 SF Team: PlusUrbia + 1521 Design Studio Client: Bakehouse Art Complex Board of Trustees Bakehouse Art Complex is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to attracting emerging mid-career artists in South Florida to a workplace that provides affordable studios, exhibition galleries, and professional development opportunities. Initially built in the early 1920s as the American Bakeries Company, The Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC) purchased the property and retrofitted the facility into working studios for artists and exhibition galleries. PlusUrbia and 1521 Design Studio collaborated on this project, which attempts to redefine and upgrade their primary exterior event space and lobby, improving the circulation and visibility of both the gallery and the studios. For the exterior event space, we conceived an intervention that is endowed with a considerable level of autonomy. By clearly defining the space and providing a compatible yet distinct language, the existing and proposed intrinsic characteristics are redefined in a new choreographed space. This strategy offers a location for outdoor venues and a welcoming entrance to the BAC’s facility. The design provides a well-defined three-dimensional space that becomes the heart of the new BAC. The objective of the lobby is to create a space that captures the essence of the former bakehouse while incorporating contemporary elements such as industrial lighting, a stainless steel table, and repurposed wood.  This ensemble results in a nostalgic and elegant atmosphere. In collaboration with 1521 Design Studio.
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