PlusUrbia Design is proud to contribute transportation & mobility policy strategies to Active Design Miami.From Miami Today: Below, the cover and Plusurbia's contribution to the Active Design Miami book.
MIAMI – PlusUrbia Design, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Live Healthy Little Havana, and Urban Health Partnerships have been awarded the Dade Heritage Trust's Annual Preservation Award for their community-driven master planning work in Little Havana.The Coconut Grove-based Urban Design firm will be honored at the Trust’s annual meeting this Thursday April 6. Founded in 1972, DHT is Miami-Dade County’s largest preservation organization.The team is leading a master planning effort to improve and enhance Little Havana as a healthy community through a pioneering approach that integrates historic preservation with contextual urban infill to spark economic development, vibrancy and healthy living in authentic towns, neighborhoods and main streets.Development pressures make this a crucial time for a masterplan that will shape the evolution of Little Havana and how it is served by walkability, transit, park/open space, affordable/attainable housing, local jobs and healthy design.Little Havana is a culturally-rich neighborhood that is very important to both Miami and the nation. PlusUrbia’s partnership with key nonprofits will gather an unprecedented amount of input from people who live and work in Little Havana. Diverse input will inspire design guidelines to protect and enhance the culture, health, affordability and authenticity of Little Havana for future generations.Visit the project website at: http://www.littlehavanameimporta.org   
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City and county approved a new community redevelopment agency for 121 acres in east HialeahMarch 17, 2017 04:30PMBy Francisco AlvaradoA long-neglected industrial and manufacturing district in Hialeah could serve as a catalyst for new commercial and residential development in the blue collar, predominantly Hispanic city, according to elected officials.Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez and City Councilman Paul Hernandez (no relation) discussed their efforts to attract transit-oriented, mixed-use projects and create an arts district in the east side of the city, during a luncheon on Thursday hosted by the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida.The goal is to create a community where millennials can afford to live, work and play, Carlos Hernandez said. “In Miami-Dade, we haven’t built for the younger generation the last few years,” he said. “It has all been dedicated to building for the investors. If we don’t start building for the millennials, they are going to leave.”His city could be the answer to Miami-Dade’s lack of affordable workforce housing for young adults, he said. “I think Hialeah is the perfect place for that market,” Carlos Hernandez said. “This is something that the private sector has to work with us on.”To get developers interested in the area, the city and the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a new community redevelopment agency for 121 acres in east Hialeah so tax dollars are redistributed to public and private projects within the CRA boundaries. In the heart of the CRA’s area is the Hialeah Market Tri-Rail Station at 1200 Southeast 11th Avenue, which sits on an 462,363 square foot predominantly vacant lot.The city also approved master plans for transit-oriented developments near Hialeah Market Station and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station at 1125 East 25th Street. Designed by PlusUrbia, the plans call for more residential and commercial projects, pedestrian-friendly streets, enhanced public space, taller building heights and reduced parking requirements. As a result, two developers have already submitted plans.The first, Bridge Crossings, is a seven-story mixed-use project totaling 71,116 square feet with 74 apartments and 1,100 square feet of ground-floor retail, about a block north from the transfer station linking Tri-Rail and Metrorail. The 22,318-square-foot former lumber yard is owned by A&B 2701 Investment LLC, which paid $85,000 for the property in 2014.Mitchell Sabina’s MS Development and L. Michael Osman are teaming up on a proposed six-story development a block west of Market Station and across from a Home Depot. The developers paid $1.8 million for the 1.14-acre site in 2014. Called Apogean Pointe, the project would entail 59 apartments, nine live-work units, 4,000 square feet of commercial space and 102 surface parking spaces.Paul Hernandez recapped his initiative to create the Leah Arts District, a swath of industrial warehouses and car shops in east Hialeah that can be converted to live and work spaces for artists priced out of Wynwood and other emerging neighborhoods in Miami. He pointed out the popularity of Flamingo Plaza, a shopping center offering a milieu of thrift stores and discount outlets popular with Miami millennials, as a driving force behind his idea.Commercial brokers who specialize in Hialeah said sales for industrial and light manufacturing properties are on an upswing, but leasing rates are stagnant. “Sales prices have continued to climb and we’ve sold properties in the $70, $80 and $90 a square foot range,” said Joel Kattan, a senior advisor with Sperry Van Ness Commercial Realty. “However, rental rates don’t seem to be moving up quite as much as sales. Rents seem to be hovering around $6.50 a square foot.”Kattan represented the seller of a 31,000 square-foot warehouse who got $96 a square foot. Located at 1395 East 11th Avenue in the Leah Arts District, the property is now home to Unbranded Brewing, a new craft beer joint set to open later this year. Link to article: The Real DealFor more information on the Hialeah TODs, please visit: https://plusurbia.com/project/hialeah-transit-oriented-development/
Plusurbia hopes to complete a final draft of the master plan by JulyMarch 14, 2017 12:45PMBy Francisco AlvaradoAs new development creeps into Little Havana, a master plan is in the works aimed at preserving the historic character and the pre-World War II architecture in Miami’s most famous neighborhood.On Saturday morning, more than 100 residents and merchants participated in a community workshop at Miami Senior High School to formulate big picture ideas for the master plan, which is being developed by urban planning firm Plusurbia Design in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dade Heritage Trust and Live Healthy Little Havana.A majority of the participants reached consensus on restoring and reusing historic buildings, ensuring new construction is contextual and compatible with Little Havana, creating more affordable housing, community and cultural centers and making the neighborhood more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly.“At the end of the morning, we asked each table to give us their big ideas,” Megan McLaughlin, the project planning leader for Plusurbia, said. “We are going to use those to guide our reports and our suggestions to the city.”Plusurbia hopes to complete a final draft of the master plan by July, McLaughlin said. “We would present it to the city for them to consider,” she said. “The goal is to come up with heights, density, setbacks and floor lot ratios that matches what is there and is respectful of what is there.”More than a year ago, the national trust began efforts to designate Little Havana a national treasure, an honor that was officially bestowed in late January, McLaughlin said. At the time the designation was made, Live Healthy Little Havana awarded grants for the Plusurbia master plan and a streets plan being developed by Urban Health Partnerships. “The grant allows us to look at what zoning could be that is compatible with the existing neighborhood and allows healthy new development,” she said.Little Havana’s proximity to the urban core is making the neighborhood an attractive alternative for investors and developers, many buoyed by Greystar’s $89 million purchase late last year of the InTown apartment complex developed by Astor Companies. Nearby, a company controlled by Ana V. and Pedro O. Rodriguez has been approved to build a 12-story, 96-unit residential building at 45 Southwest Eighth Avenue that will also include 44,525 square feet of commercial space, 311 parking spaces and 15 bicycle parking spaces.During the workshop, PlusUrbia founder and director Juan Mullerat told attendees Little Havana hasn’t experienced the level of real estate development seen in Brickell, Edgewater and Wynwood because of the city’s zoning code, Miami 21.“Unfortunately, it has not led to much improvement in Little Havana,” Mullerat said. “We haven’t seen much investment in Little Havana, yet it is the second most dense neighborhood in Miami-Dade County.”The master plan would strike a balance between encouraging new development while giving property owners and developers incentives to preserve and renovate Little Havana’s signature three-story apartment buildings from the 1920s. “They are very unique,” Mulleret said. “You can’t find them anywhere else.”Lee Hernandez, a Little Havana homeowner since 1977, said the neighborhood needs an infusion of urbanism from Flagler Street to Northwest Fifth Street, between Northwest Fifth Avenue and Northwest 12th Avenue. “That area needs to be revitalized,” she said. “We need more greenery, we need more open spaces, and we need more places where people feel safe.”Hernandez said she would welcome rational development in Little Havana. “Developers are investing slowly, but surely,” she said. “I would like to see urbanization with consciousness. We don’t want skyscrapers. We need to keep the flavor.” Link to article: The Real DealMore information about the workshop: Little Havana Me Importa
Thank you to the 100+ community members who shared the vision for Little Havana's future at the workshop PlusUrbia Design hosted with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dade Heritage Trust, and Live Healthy Little Havana. We were gratified to get the input of Little Havana residents -- including senior citizens, families and young people -- as well as business owners, activists and city officials. Our design team is working on the input, mapping big ideas shared at the workshop to a map of the study area.Thanks again to all the volunteers and stakeholders who filled the library at historic Miami Senior High School Saturday March 11.                               
DESIGN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODCOMMUNITY WORKSHOP10 A.M. SATURDAY MARCH 11 -- MIAMI SENIOR HIGH LIBRARYPlusUrbia Design will lead a major community workshop to help plan a bright future for Little Havana that retains its many positive features while addressing its many needs.The workshop, conducted in English and Spanish, will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday March 11 at Miami Senior High, 2450 SW 1st Street. Lunch will be provided and there is free parking in front of the school. The meeting takes place in the library, which is on the second floor, on the east side of the building. Children are welcome and there will be a children’s table during the inclusive event.PlusUrbia, in collaboration with National Trust for Historic Preservation, Live Healthy Little Havana, Dade Heritage Trust and Urban Health Partnerships, is leading a master planning effort to improve and enhance Little Havana as a healthy community. The Saturday event includes a workshop 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., a discussion during lunch 12:30 p.m-1:30 p.m, an open design studio 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and public presentation 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.Development pressures make this a crucial time for creating guidelines that will shape the evolution of Little Havana and how it is served by walkability, transit, park/open space, affordable/attainable housing, local jobs and healthy design. Little Havana is a culturally-rich neighborhood that is very important to both Miami and the nation. This event seeks an unprecedented amount of input from people who live and work in Little Havana -- to protect and enhance the culture, health, affordability and authenticity of Little Havana for future generations.For more details, visit: www.littlehavanameimporta.org
By Jeana WiserThe sensory experience of walking the streets of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is unforgettable. The layered histories, the rich cultural expression, and the colorful architecture underscore the importance of this unique neighborhood. I am proud to say that the National Trust added historic Little Havana to our growing portfolio of National Treasures in January 2017. Not only is the historic neighborhood a new National Treasure but it is also an excellent example of our recent thinking about ReUrbanism. We are very proud to be working alongside strong partners in Little Havana to ensure that it remains thriving, healthy, and livable.A neighborhood store in Little Havana. | Credit: Steven Brooke StudiosThe National Trust first formally recognized the importance of Little Havana in 2015, listing it as one of that year’s 11 Most Endangered Places. At the time, Little Havana was threatened by a proposed zoning change that would have increased the likelihood of large-scale, new buildings noticeably out of scale with the existing human-oriented neighborhood. (Since then, support for the proposed up-zoning has subsided although the future of the neighborhood remains uncertain in the absence of a coordinated, smart, and contextual planning approach.)Building on the momentum following the 2015 11 Most announcement, the National Trust formed an internal team and, along with our local partner Dade Heritage Trust, began listening to and learning from Little Havana residents, property owners, civic leaders, and government officials. In those meetings, we learned about:Little Havana’s built environment—historic, human scale, and very close to downtown jobs;the concerns of Little Havana’s residents, including affordability and displacement; andthe broad and diverse cohorts of people dedicated to revitalizing Little Havana through building reuse; retrofit; and contextual, human-scale infill.Historic apartment building in Little Havana. | Credit: Steven Brooke StudiosUnveiling a National TreasureOn January 27, we launched the Little Havana National Treasure campaign with a morning press event that included remarks from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, City Commissioners Frank Carollo and Francis Suarez, Dade Heritage Trust’s Chris Rupp, PlusUrbia Design’s Juan Mullerat, local developer Bill Fuller, and the National Trust’s President and CEO Stephanie Meeks.Following the press event, we toured the neighborhood with the media, visiting three sites. Each tour stop was selected to illustrate a unique facet of Little Havana’s importance:high–Character Score blocks;bodegas and other neighborhood retail integrated with residential uses;successful examples of renovated historic courtyard apartments; andThe signature metric of the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab, the Character Score encapsulates three key characteristics of the built environment: the median age of buildings; the diversity, or mix, of old and new buildings; and the granularity, or smallness, of the built fabric. These three metrics were drawn from the seminal ideas of Jane Jacobs, the renowned urbanist and author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Little Havana has many of Miami’s highest–Character Score blocks (shown in red) where there are concentrations of older, smaller, and mixed-age buildings.On the evening of the announcement, the National Trust and our partners staffed an interactive booth at Viernes Culturales, a monthly cultural festival that draws thousands to Calle Ocho, Little Havana’s cultural tourism hub. At the booth, passersby were invited to fill out notecards indicating what historic places in the community matter most to them. The responses were displayed for all to see, and participants were invited to spin a prize wheel to win Little Havana–themed giveaways.Notecards at Viernes Culturales. | Credit: Sehila CasperMessaging Through MapsBy all standards, the Little Havana Treasure announcement was a success. We raised awareness among international, national, and local audiences of little Little Havana as:a symbol of inclusiveness and a testament to the immigrant spirit that built our nation;dynamic, culturally rich, and affordable; andhistoric—more than 70 percent of its existing built fabric is more than 50 years old.The Preservation Green Lab’s research contributed to both messaging and context setting, in part through the use of maps.Blocks of modest, older, smaller buildings in Little Havana have the same level of population density as the nearby towers of Brickell—but in Little Havana, that density is contained in historic, human-scale buildings. In fact, the densest blocks of Little Havana have more than 40,000 residents per square mile, roughly 2.5 times the average density of San Francisco. More than half of Miami’s 100 densest blocks are located in Little Havana.Media outlets ranging from “The Miami Times” to Telemundo to the Associated Press attended the launch, spoke with our partners, and participated in the media tour. CNN captured a quote from Stephanie Meeks:“The National Trust welcomes the urban resurgence that is breathing new life into cities across the country, but we also believe that growth should not come at the expense of the vibrant historic neighborhoods like Little Havana that make cities unique and desirable places. As we work to preserve and celebrate Little Havana, we want to make sure it remains a healthy, vital and affordable urban neighborhood.”Little Havana is home to immigrants from all over Latin America and the world. It is one of four neighborhoods in Miami where more than 40,000 foreign-born residents live and one of three neighborhoods where more than 70 percent of the population was born abroad. The average block in Little Havana has more than 200 foreign-born residents, which is nearly three times the average density of immigrants citywide.Planning in Little HavanaThe National Trust is now beginning a neighborhood master planning process, in partnership with PlusUrbia Design, Dade Heritage Trust, and Live Healthy, Little Havana. We will co-convene public workshops, thematic and targeted focus groups, and continued one-on-one conversations with key stakeholders to gather more public input and information. The process of planning a healthy and vibrant future for this historic neighborhood will leverage the expertise and capacities of the National Trust. We will continue to use mapping and Preservation Green Lab analysis to inform the planning and outreach processes. We also intend to promote a broad range of tools to:Facilitate the rehabilitation and reuse of older and historic buildings;Enable the design and construction of contextual new buildings; andStrike a balance between the reuse of the older building stock and smart, contextual new development.Working with our local partners, we will publish a report and set of recommendations in July 2017. The materials will be available in both English and Spanish, and we will leverage them to inform decision-makers and empower stakeholders. We are looking forward to the next six months.Jeana Wiser is the senior manager of resilient communities at the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab. Link to article: Saving Places
Will share keys to creating healthy, connected communitiesJuan Mullerat will serve panel that explores urban infill development on a variety of scales. The presentation will take place March 2 in Tampa and the Congress for New Urbanism’s statewide conference.Mullerat will present PlusUrbia’s successful urban design for infill projects such as the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District, which has won national, state and regional awards from the American Planning Association. He will also detail PlusUrbia’s work in Little Havana as a partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. That signature project aims to preserve and enhance Miami’s Little Havana through design guidelines and other healthy living interventions.Mullerat’s presentation will also look at small scale, low cost, high impact infill projects such as parklets and pocket parks.
Art, Architecture & Landscape Design in Boutique DevelopmentDate: 02/09/2017Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pmLocation: Miami Center for Architecture and DesignDescription:Art, Architecture & Landscape Design in Boutique DevelopmentHow have various disciplines been integrated into boutique projects to articulate a powerful sense of identity and place? What considerations are taken into account that differs from mammoth development?Our panel ranges from two developers, skilled at both large and small-scale projects, to an urban designer whose revitalization plans have won numerous awards. An art gallery owner and a landscape designer will discuss how the overall aesthetics are determined, as well as the integration of their site-specific work into various projects.David Polinsky, PhD: Fortis Design Build, LLCRay Fort, ArquitectonicaJuan Mullerat, PlusurbiaAndres Arcila, NaturalficialAnthony Spinello, Spinello ProjectsClick here to purchase tickets.Click here for more information.
Watch Juan Mullerat and Megan McLaughlin's interview on PBS below or visit http://www.pbs.org/video/2365949292/
El barrio que acogió al exilio cubano y sigue siendo un punto receptor de migrantes y turistas acaba de ser declarado Tesoro Nacional. Por delante hay un plan de revitalización de sus calles y edificios y un reto: que las nuevas construcciones no acaben con su carácter ni echen a los vecinos de toda la vida.La Calle 8 se ha revitalizado en los últimos años como un punto recepción de turistas en Miami. Cortesía National Trust For Historic PreservationPor: Lorena ArroyoPublicado: ene 28, 2017 | 12:01 AM ESTMIAMI, Florida.- Olvídense del cafecito cubano, la salsa, los puros y el dominó. Más allá de los atractivos turísticos de la Calle 8, la Pequeña Habana está atrayendo cada vez más las miradas de quienes ven en las calles de este emblemático y céntrico barrio de Miami una oportunidad de desarrollo urbanístico.Ante el temor de que las grúas y el cemento derrumben el carácter único que le han dado durante décadas generaciones de inmigrantes, la Pequeña Habana fue nombrada este viernes Tesoro Nacional de Estados Unidos con una importante tarea por delante: que los planes urbanísticos que buscan revitalizarlo puedan conservar los edificios históricos y no supongan el desplazamiento de los residentes actuales.El objetivo del proyecto de revitalización de la Pequeña Habana es que no se pierda el carácter arquitectónico ni social del barrio.Cortesía National Trust for Historic Preservation "La Pequeña Habana es la Ellis Island de Miami, el lugar de llegada y establecimiento de muchos inmigrantes. La historia de estas calles es la historia de EEUU: hombres y mujeres que llegan en búsqueda de una mejor vida y trabajando duro para ellos y sus familias", afirmó Stephanie Meeks, la presidenta de National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), una organización que trabaja en la conservación de lugares históricos.Como sucedía con la isla de Nueva York donde se inscribían los millones de europeos que llegaron en barcos a EEUU, este barrio de casas antiguas y pequeños edificios de apartamentos ha sido el lugar de acogida de las oleadas de exiliados cubanos desde los años 60 y de numerosos inmigrantes centroamericanos, principalmente nicaragüenses, en las últimas décadas. Hoy en día, el 70% de sus habitantes nació fuera de EEUU y el 98% es de origen hispano."Mientras buscamos conservar y celebrar la diversidad de la Pequeña Habana, queremos asegurarnos que sigue siendo un barrio próspero, enérgico y asequible", afirmó Seeks.¿Viejos y nuevos vecinos?Su organización, que en 2015 incluyó al barrio como uno de los lugares históricos de EEUU con más peligro de desaparecer, conoce bien las amenazas a las que se enfrenta.Y aunque el anuncio del nombramiento de la Pequeña Habana como Tesoro Nacional en el teatro Manuel Artime comenzó como un acto de celebración de la diversidad con la presencia de políticos, urbanistas, empresarios y periodistas, no tardó en chocar con la realidad.Fue cuando, durante un tour por la ciudad en el que la NTHP presentaba a los medios su plan a largo plazo para revitalizar la Pequeña Habana junto a sus aliados (la fundación Dade Heritage Trust, el estudio de arquitectos y urbanistas PlusUrbia Design, y la organización Live Healthy Little Havana), una vecina irrumpió en la conversación.Ally DiVizio, en la imagen pidiendo un cafecito en una ventana de un pequeño comercio, teme que los planes urbanísticos echen del barrio a los vecinos que llevan años ahí. Lorena Arroyo "Ustedes no saben cómo es este barrio y lo que pasó hace unos siete años... Downtown y Brickell se lo compraron", afirmó la mujer, que se identificó como Ally DiVizio, en referencia a dos barrios aledaños que han mostrado un rápido crecimiento urbanístico en los últimos años."Los comisionados vienen aquí todo el tiempo y, ¿qué han hecho? ¡Nada! Todo lo que quieren hacer es más construcciones hacia este lado y echan a la gente que no puede permitirse una renta aquí porque siguen subiendo los precios", añadió, visiblemente molesta.Ante sus quejas, Juan Mullerat, un arquitecto y urbanista que dirige Plusurbia, una de las firmas que trabaja en el plan de revitalización del barrio, invitó a la mujer a participar en algunas de las reuniones y grupos de discusión que pretenden hacer con la comunidad.Una apuesta para la ciudad"La idea es traer la suficiente gente como para saber cuál es la manera en la que tenemos que diseñar para que el futuro de la Pequeña Habana no solo sea contextual con la manera con la que está hoy, sino que también atraiga nuevas fuentes económicas y de inversión", le explicó después Mullerat a Univision Noticias. "La gente tiene que ser la propietaria del plan maestro, no nosotros"."La comodidad es la Pequeña Habana", se puede leer en el edificio que construye Andrew Frey. Lynne Sladky / AP Y aunque el temor de DiVizio a que La Pequeña Habana sufra un proceso de gentrificación puede entenderse solo con levantar la vista y ver el barrio enormes grúas de construcción para construir rascacielos en los vecindarios aledaños, el plan de la NTHP y sus aliados contempla buscar formas de incentivar el desarrollo local y la movilidad social para que los vecinos de toda la vida y los recién llegados puedan seguir conviviendo.Según el estudio que hicieron estas organizaciones, pese a ocupar el 7% de la superficie de Miami, el barrio tiene cerca del 20% de las viviendas de alquiler de la ciudad y más de una cuarta parte de las alquiladas por menos de 1,000 dólares mensuales."El 80% de la gente de la Pequeña Habana vive de alquiler porque las viviendas son baratas, pero con la reiversión, con la construcción que hay acá, esto no es sostenible. Nuestro estudio es en conjunto con el National Trust para poder mantener los edificios existentes y con la ciudad de Miami para encontrar métodos tanto económicos como sociales para mantener el tipo de vivienda que hay aquí hoy", explica el director de Plusurbia.Eso implica desde ayudas del gobierno local para hacer las viviendas más asequibles a los vecinos de menos ingresos a incentivos para que los promotores mantengan los precios bajos o reducir el costo de la construcción al hacer, por ejemplo, edificios pequeños sin parqueo.Frey apuesta por construir edificios sin parqueo. Lorena Arroyo Eso es lo que está haciendo Andrew Frey, un desarrollador urbanístico que está construyendo en el barrio. Aunque a muchos en Miami les pueda parecer una locura, el edificio boutique de ocho apartamentos que levanta en la Pequeña Habana no tendrá espacio para aparcar autos.Y es que, el proyecto de barrio impulsado que impulsan National Trust y sus aliados incluye nuevas ideas de urbanismo como que las ciudades son para las personas y no para los autos o que cada comunidad tiene tiene historias y lugares que importan y hay que respetarlos."Nosotros no ofrecemos piscina, gimnasio ni spa", explica orgulloso Frey. "La Pequeña Habana tiene historia, cultura. Tiene gente real y una narrativa que no puedes controlar", añade.Enlace: UNIVISION NOTICIAS Artículos relacionados: Agencia EFE, MARTÍ NOTICIAS (Miami), El Nuevo Herald (Miami)#1, El Nuevo Herald (Miami) #2, Telemundo Miami, Diario de Cuba, Cuba en Miami, Miami News 24
Union with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dade Heritage Trust and Live Healthy Little launches long-term planning process to create a thriving, healthy and livable community.Nation’s Leading Historic Preservation Organization Names Miami’s Little Havana a National TreasurePress Release | Miami, Florida | January 27, 2017Author: Virgil McDillNational Trust for Historic Preservation Also Unveils New Research Underscoring Little Havana’s Affordability, Population Density and Opportunities for GrowthMiami’s Little Havana—a neighborhood that stands as a testament to the immigrant spirit that built America and a place that remains a dynamic, culturally rich, and affordable neighborhood—was today named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In partnership with Dade Heritage Trust, PlusUrbia Design, and Live Healthy Little Havana, the National Trust is today launching a long-term planning process that seeks to work with neighborhood residents, civic leaders, and local partners to ensure that Little Havana can remain a thriving, healthy and livable community that embraces its past while planning for a brighter future. Despite Little Havana’s significance and its continued role as a home to thousands of Miamians, the neighborhood currently faces a range of threats, including development pressure, demolition of historic buildings, displacement of existing residents, and zoning changes that could impact its affordability, cultural richness, and character. To address these threats, the Trust is launching a planning process to work with neighborhood residents and other stakeholders on solutions that encourage continued growth while preserving the neighborhood’s unique character.The National Trust’s experience and research demonstrates that the rehabilitation and reuse of older and historic buildings is a key to revitalizing urban neighborhoods for the benefit of residents. Building on this, the Trust recently launched an initiative called ReUrbanism that emphasizes the many ways that creatively reusing older buildings can benefit communities. For example, ReUrbanism research in Little Havana suggests that a strategy based on preservation could retain the character, density, scale and affordability that have long defined Little Havana. Key findings include:Blocks of modest older, smaller buildings in Little Havana have the same level of population density as the nearby towers of Brickell, but in Little Havana, these levels of population density are contained in historic, human-scale buildings.More than half of Miami’s 100 most densely populated city blocks are located in Little Havana.Miami’s greatest concentrations of rental housing in general and affordable rental housing in particular are found in Little Havana. Though Little Havana takes up about seven percent of Miami’s land area, it contains close to 20 percent of the city’s rental housing stock and more than a quarter of the city’s housing rented for less than $1,000 per month.Little Havana is host to thousands of small businesses and hundreds of women and minority-owned businesses. The commercial corridors of Little Havana—Calle Ocho, 12th Avenue, Flagler, and others—have some of the city’s highest concentrations of such businesses.“Little Havana is a symbol of the immigrant experience in America and a thriving, entirely unique place that thousands of people currently call home,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The National Trust welcomes the urban resurgence that is breathing new life into cities across the country, but we also believe that growth should not come at the expense of the vibrant historic neighborhoods like Little Havana that make cities unique and desirable places. As we work to preserve and celebrate Little Havana, we want to make sure it remains a healthy, vital, and affordable urban neighborhood.”"As we work to preserve and celebrate Little Havana, we want to make sure it remains a healthy, vital, and affordable urban neighborhood.”“This historic designation enshrines the diverse culture and history of Little Havana,” said City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. “Little Havana has been the destination for hundreds of thousands of Latin American immigrants since the 1960s seeking the promise of a new life in America. This national recognition confirms the neighborhood’s cultural significance in the immigrant experience.”"This partnership represents an opportunity to protect and strengthen one of the most authentic neighborhoods in America,” said Juan Mullerat, Director at Plus Urbia Design.  “With development pressures encroaching from Brickell and Downtown and a zoning code that often favors tear down and replacement with out-of-scale superblock development, we are at risk of losing the rich cultural heritage of Little Havana. Little Havana is Miami's heart and soul, but it is in critical need of a visionary approach to planning and development. Today marks the beginning of people-focused contextual urban design that will preserve and invigorate this diverse urban neighborhood." “As Miami continues to evolve, preservation will be essential in maintaining Miami’s unique urban neighborhoods,” said Christine Rupp, Executive Director of Dade Heritage Trust. “Dade Heritage Trust will continue to work with our partners to inform residents and property owners about the cultural and financial benefits of preservation. Our long-term goal is to protect specific historic properties that tell the story of Little Havana and assist with the restoration of those historic buildings to ensure that Little Havana maintains its urban, multi-cultural heritage and vibe. The historic fabric in Little Havana is amazing.  1930's bungalows, 1920's central hallway apartment buildings, coral rock homes, early Miami wood frame houses and even Art Deco apartment buildings exist within the neighborhood. The preservation of this neighborhood has so many positives from saving these structures that represent different eras in Miami's history to ensuring working class people can remain in this urban, highly desirable area.”"Today marks the beginning of people-focused contextual urban design that will preserve and invigorate this diverse urban neighborhood."Additional Background on Little HavanaLittle Havana’s story is at the heart of the American experience. From its earliest days as a streetcar suburb, to its iconic role as a haven for Cuban Americans, to its more recent role as a home to immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean, Little Havana has been shaped by people striving to build a better life for themselves and their families. To this day, visitors to the neighborhood can experience a thriving neighborhood that is truly one-of-a-kind. The neighborhood’s unique buildings—local variations of recognized types like the bungalow, center hallway walk-up apartments, and small commercial buildings housing mom-and-pop stores—have served generations of residents who have adapted them to fit their needs. The Trust’s research suggests that these character-rich historic buildings can play an essential role in the future growth of Little Havana.https://savingplaces.org/places/little-havanaAbout The National Trust for Historic PreservationThe National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.www.savingplaces.org About National TreasuresThe National Trust for Historic Preservation mobilizes its more than 60 years of expertise and resources to protect a growing portfolio of National Treasures that are threatened buildings; neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes that stand at risk across the country. Our National Treasures program demonstrates the value of preservation by taking direct action to protect these places and promote their history and significance.https://savingplaces.org/national-treasures#.WIuC-bYrKV4About Dade Heritage TrustDade Heritage Trust is a non-profit 501c3 organization founded in 1972.  The mission of the organization is to preserve Miami-Dade County's architectural, environmental and cultural heritage through education and advocacy.  Dade Heritage Trust is funded through memberships, private contributions, grants and public programming proceeds.For more information, call Christine Rupp, Executive Director, at 305-358-9572 or visit dadeheritagetrust.org.About Live Healthy Little HavanaLive Healthy Little Havana is an initiative coordinated by the City of Miami and supported by the Health Foundation of South Florida to promote healthier living in Little Havana. The goal is to strengthen community capacity to collaboratively plan and collectively carryout strategies to improve health. Residents and employees of Little Havana expressed concerns about the well-being of residents within the community at meetings and have identified health impact areas: physical activity, primary care, mental health & substance abuse and nutrition. LHLH has a focus placed on strategies that will foster changes in policy, systems, or the environment, with an emphasis on sustainability.https://www.livehealthylittlehavana.comLink to press release at National Trust for Historic Preservation website: NTHP Press ReleaseRelated articles: CNN, Curbed Miami, Miami Herald, AFP (Agence France-Presse), ABC Miami, CBS Miami, Christian Science Monitor, Florida Politics, Miami Agent, SKIFT (Travel Industry)
Upzoning of East Little Havana scrapped as Miami planners go back to drawing boardBY DAVID SMILEYdsmiley@miamiherald.comA view of an apartment building considered in 2015 for historic preservation in Little Havana. David Santiago El Nuevo Herald Once seemingly on the fast-track to approval, controversial legislation designed to spur growth in East Little Havana has been scrapped amid concerns that it would gentrify the storied community and displace its predominantly poor, immigrant residents.During Thursday’s meeting of the Miami Commission, city planners will nix plans to up-zone 32 blocks by withdrawing a proposal that first surfaced more than two years ago. The legislation, proffered to renew investment in a working-class neighborhood by allowing for taller, denser development, received tentative approval from Miami commissioners in early 2015. The state approved the measure but amid pushback from activists and preservationists, it disappeared from the political radar.The proposal finally resurfaced this week, only to be pulled. Francisco Garcia, Miami’s planning director, said the department concluded that the proposal still needed work, and had become too polarizing.“We found it very difficult to overcome the perception that this would result in displacement,” Garcia said.But the death of the rezoning proposal does not mean the end of efforts to jump-start development. Rather, it marks the beginning of a new direction. The neighborhood, despite pockets of vacant lots and run-down apartments, remains alluring to real estate interests.Garcia said it’s likely the city will continue to look at increasing density by considering allowing more units per acre, but pull back on discussions about increasing height. Planners also will look at new design regulations.  "THERE’S A LOT OF INTEREST IN LITTLE HAVANA. IT’S MIAMI’S ELLIS ISLAND"Juan Mullerat, director of PlusUrbia“There’s a lot of interest in Little Havana. It’s Miami’s Ellis Island,” said Juan Mullerat, director of the Miami design firm PlusUrbia, which has an active interest in Little Havana. “It’s an incredible melting pot that requires a high level of attention to make sure we get right whatever it is we’re going to do there.’’A group of business owners pushing to create a Little Havana Business Improvement District would like to emulate Wynwood business owners, who with the help of PlusUrbia, created design and zoning guidelines for the neighborhood.Meanwhile, Dade Heritage Trust is pushing to expand preservation efforts in Little Havana, which is filled with dozens of notable buildings from the early- and mid-20th century. The city created the neighborhood’s first historic district in 2015; it was the same year the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed East Little Havana on its list of America’s 11 most endangered communities. Coincidentally, the city is withdrawing its up-zoning proposal one day before the National Trust, the country’s principal preservation organization, is expected to announce new involvement in the neighborhood at a press conference in Little Havana.“Any future legislation will have input from the National Historic Trust,” said Mayor Tomás Regalado, who declined to discuss the details of Friday’s event.Going forward, Garcia said his department will continue to study the area to draw up new regulations. City planners will also monitor the results of new city legislation that, if approved next month, would allow developers who set aside affordable housing residential units to potentially double the number of units allowed.“We thought all would be better served by postponing the up-zoning, and reining it in through an appropriate set of design standards and guidelines,” said Garcia. “We’re going to give this a chance and see how it develops.”Read more here:http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/little-havana/article128557334.html#storylink=cpy
Certified Planner Will Serve Public and Private Sector Clients on Key ProjectsVeteran urban planner Megan McLaughlin, AICP, has joined PlusUrbia Design as its Planning Leader. She has extensive public and private sector experience in city planning and historic preservation. “The focus of my career has been to promote memorable places and historical resources as catalysts for revitalization.  This experience gives me a unique ability to leverage contextual urban design and preservation as economic development tools for cities,” McLaughlin said.McLaughlin's professional experience as the City Planner for the City of Coral Gables, the Preservation Officer for the City of Miami, and as a planning consultant for cities and towns across the United States have put her in a strong position to oversee PlusUrbia's growing role as a leader in municipal planning as well as the firm's increasing Caribbean, Latin and Central American client portfolio.In keeping with PlusUrbia’s strong dedication to giving back to the community, McLaughlin will continue her civic involvement as a Board Member of Dade Heritage Trust and as a member of the Transportation Aesthetics Review Committee of the Miami-Dade MPO. Previously, she served as an Executive Board Member of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. “Megan’s addition is part of PlusUrbia’s strategic growth plan to provide high-quality contextual design to both private and public sector clients,” said Juan Mullerat, PlusUrbia’s founder and director. “We look forward to her collaborative approach to urban design and her expertise on comprehensive solutions for historic preservation, urban infill and neighborhood revitalization.”
Ocho de las diez ciudades donde más personas mueren atropelladas al caminar por la calle están en Florida. Miami ocupa el número once en la lista elaborada por la organización Smart Growth America. Pero, tras los datos grises, hay motivos para el optimismo.Una joven camina por delante de un grafitti con una calavera en Wynwood, Miami. | Eduardo Muñoz Álvarez / Getty ImagesPor: Lorena ArroyoPublicado: ene 12, 2017 | 01:01 PM ESTMIAMI, Florida.- No debería, pero caminar en Florida puede ser considerado un deporte de riesgo. Así lo refleja un informe publicado esta semana por la organización Smart Growth America que sitúa a ocho áreas metropolitanas del estado del sol entre las más peligrosas de Estados Unidos para los peatones.Según el informe Dangerous by Design, entre 2005 y 2015 murieron 5,142 viandantes atropellados en las calles del estado, o lo que es lo mismo: 2.66 por cada 100,000 peatones.Los autores elaboraron un "índice de peligrosidad de peatones" al examinar las muertes de peatones en 104 áreas metropolitanas del país y concluyeron que entre la última década en todo Estados Unidos murieron 46,149 personas atropelladas por automóviles mientras caminaban, lo que supone un promedio de 13 personas al día.A la cabeza de la lista está el área metropolitana de Cape Coral-Fort Myers, en la costa sureste, seguido de Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, en la costa este central y Orlando-Kissimmee-Sandford, en el centro. Y salvo dos posiciones, la octava y novena, ocupadas por Jackson (Mississippi) y Memphis (Tennessee), ciudades de Florida completan el 'top ten'.Además, la poblada zona de Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, en el sureste del estado, ocupa el undécimo lugar de la lista de áreas metropolitanas más peligrosas de EE.UU. para los peatones.El informe cuenta con mapas interactivos en los que se pueden identificar las zonas con más incidentes de atropellos a peatones. En la imagen, el área de Miami. | Dangerous By Design No es una sorpresa que el 'estado del sol' ocupe el primer puesto en el ránking de estados más peligrosos de EE.UU. para peatones", se puede leer en el informe de Smart Growth America.La lista probablemente tampoco sorprende a las personas del estado que cada día tienen que desplazarse a pie por las calles, muchas veces sin aceras y con escasos pasos de peatones que los autos no siempre respetan.Para el arquitecto y urbanista Juan Mullerat, el gran problema en Florida es la "falta de entendimiento entre modos de transporte y el respeto mutuo entre un modo y el otro", algo que achaca a la ausencia de infraestructuras adecuadas y compatibles para cada medio de transporte y la poca promoción del uso del transporte público."Lo más importante es la educación desde la sociedad y lo siguiente sería que municipios y condados empiecen a invertir en la infraestructura, no solamente para resolver estos conflictos, sino para promocionar el transporte público", opina. "Hace falta un cambio de mentalidad y una inversión por parte del gobierno para mover gente y no solamente carros".En eso coinciden los autores del informe al afirmar que mientras las calles estén diseñadas para priorizar a los vehículos que se desplazan a gran velocidad, las muertes de peatones seguirán ocurriendo: "Conforme la población de la nación va envejeciendo y se hace más diversa racial y económicamente, la necesidad de mejoras al respecto será cada vez un mayor reto", añaden. Hay motivos para ser optimistas"Todo el mundo implicado en el proceso de diseño vial, desde los legisladores federales a los líderes electos locales y los encargados de transporte, deben tomar acciones para acabar con las muertes de peatones", indica el informe.Peatones cruzan una calle en Miami Beach, una zona ocupa el lugar número 11 del país en la lista de las áreas metropolitanas más peligrosas para los viandantes. | Getty Images. Pero pese a las malas noticias para Florida, los autores del informe detectaron buenas señales en el 'estado del sol' al señalar que desde 2009, el Departamento de Transporte estatal "ha adoptado medidas para reducir las muertes de peatones".No son los únicos que ven un futuro más optimista para los viandantes del estado. El informe Foot Traffic Ahead que elabora anualmente la Universidad de George Washington y mide los espacios amigables para los peatones en las 30 mayores ciudades de EEUU señala a Miami como una de las cinco urbes con mejores perspectivas para quienes se desplazan a pie.El urbanista Juan Mullerat también comparte la ola de optimismo y ve muchas señales positivas de que el futuro de Miami será mucho más caminable. "Yo la verdad es que no estaría aquí si no fuera porque veo buenas expectativas para el futuro. Es mi trabajo el realizar este tipo de proyectos, así que estamos muy esperanzados porque vemos que esta inversión está ocurriendo, que los municipios se están empezando a dar cuenta de la necesidad del espacio público", apunta.De hecho, la empresa que dirige, Plusurbia, está desarrollando varios proyectos con áreas peatonales en los barrios de Hialeah y la Pequeña Habana de Miami."Estamos en un momento clave para poder proporcionar nuevos medios de transporte para los ciudadanos aquí en el sur de la Florida. Es un momento muy emocionante", afirma al mencionar proyectos como los trolleys que se recorren barrios y ciudades del condado.Sin embargo, reconoce que los cambios no son suficientes: "Estamos muy por detrás de lo que una ciudad como Miami necesita pero estoy contento por los pequeños cambios que, por pequeños que sean, son avances y poco a poco se vaya haciendo la suficiente inversión como para no necesitar el coche cada vez que nos tenemos que mover". Enlace: UNIVISION NOTICIAS
Hialeah City Council approved regulations for two new urban communitiesBY JOSH BAUMGARD     NOV 4, 2016, 9:54AM EDTThe Hialeah City Council unanimously approved regulations for two new vibrant, mixed-use communities that would be erected around rail transit.PlusUrbia, the visionary studio behind Wynwood and the more recent MyCalle8, created a neighborhood plan to transform two large warehouse districts into walkable communities, which would develop around two Tri-Rail stops: Market Station (1200 Southeast 11th Avenue) and Transfer Station (1125 East 25th Street)."Transit Oriented Development is key to walkability and reducing car dependency,” Project Director Maria Bendfeldt said. “New development will put more people on the streets. That activity supports Complete Streets—corridors that are just as welcoming, useful and safe to pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and people with disabilities as they are vehicles.”A CRA is pending and at least three developers have plans in place, aiming to overhaul the industrial area for the better, jolting Hialeah’s economy. Link to article: http://miami.curbed.com/2016/11/4/13510644/hialeah-warehouse-districts-mixed-use-community
Oct 27, 2016, 1:57pm EDTBrian BandellSenior Reporter   South Florida Business Journal The Hialeah City Council gave final approval to two new transit-oriented development areas on Oct. 25, with about 313 acres zoned for more density and uses that promote both pedestrian traffic and public transportation.The city hopes the rezoning will transform the heavily industrial area around its two Tri-Rail stations into mixed-use communities with housing for workers and vibrant open spaces. Miami-based PlusUrbia, firm that designed the neighborhood plan in Miami’s Wynwood as it has gone from industrial to mixed use, also crafted the TOD and complete streets plan for Hialeah.“Hialeah has always been seen as a suburban city away from the core of Miami-Dade County,” PlusUrbia Design Director Juan Mullerat said. “Hialeah is interested in developing their city in a walkable manner. The smartest way to do this is to use the transit corridor to take advantage of its proximity to the airport. These are two of the best-connected areas for transit in the whole county.”The rezoning centers around Hialeah Market Station, at 1200 S.E. 11th Ave. – with a Tri-Rail station only one stop north of the station that connects with Miami International Airport – and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station, at 1125 E. 25th St., where both systems connect. The Metrorail line continues south to the Health District, downtown Miami, Coral Gables and Dadeland. The Tri-Rail line extends north into Broward and Palm Beach counties.There’s also an Amtrak station nearby that carries passengers to New York.Multiple transit-orient developments have been proposed at the Metrorail stations further south, with apartments, hotels and offices, so local developers have bought into the TOD concept.Unlike Wynwood, which had an influx of artists, restaurants and retail before the city rezoned it, this area of Hialeah hasn’t seen much economic activity outside of warehousing in recent years. The question is whether the city can generate developer and resident interest in the new TODs.At least one developer is willing to try. The TOD process at Market Station started several years ago when Gerard Keating, who owns about 20 acres in the area, hired Zyscovich Architects to create a zoning plan for the area and present it to the city. He hoped that this plan would give his property greater density so he could build a mixed-use project.Hialeah officials weren’t ready to approve the plan at the time. So the city hired PlusUrbia to work with its planning and zoning officials and create a TOD and complete streets plan for both Market Station and Transfer Station. The new zoning applies to areas of 142 and 171 acres, respectively.Maria Bendfeldt, the project designer at PlusUrbia, said the TOD zoning encourages developers to create open space, public amenities and improve pedestrian right-of-ways in exchange for greater height. The goal is to have community gathering spaces, wide sidewalks and bike paths, and decorative medians. In some cases, pedestrians and cars would share the streets.The areas of each TOD are divided into three density levels: high-rise, mid-rise and low-rise.The high-rise areas are zoned 125 units per acre and up to 12 stories, if developers purchase an additional three stories of height. However, directly along the train tracks, developers could build up to 15 stories.The mid-rise areas are zoned for a minimum of 25 units per acre up to 125 units per acre and up to eight stories, with the purchase of three additional stories.Finally, the low-rise areas are zoned for up to 35 units per acre and no more than three stories.In the Market Station area, the high-rise zoning runs down Southeast Ninth Terrace and Southeast 10th Court from Southeast Eighth Street to Southeast 14th Street. In the Transfer Station area, the high-rise area is along East 25th Street between East Eighth Avenue and Northwest 37th Avenue, plus along East 11th Avenue from East 28th Street to East 23rd Street.Bendfeldt said that all buildings must have ground-floor retail to activate the street. Other types of commercial development would also be permitted in the buildings, she added.PlusUrbia worked with the city to reduce parking requirements for the area to encourage public transit and make the units more affordable, Bendfeldt said. The TOD zoning requires one space for each one-bedroom unit, generally under 650 square feet, and 1.5 spaces for larger units. However, the developer could reduce the parking requirement by a half-space per unit by paying into a TOD area parking fund. Bendfeldt said the city hopes to use these funds to build a public garage at some point.Bendfeldt said the new TODs are ideal locations for workforce housing because of their access to public transit that reaches major employment centers. There aren’t many affordable options left in the county, especially for young workers, she said.“As soon as you get two or three catalyst projects, you will get more interest in the area, either people trying to retrofit existing structures or building something new,” she said.Link to article: http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2016/10/27/city-increases-density-on-313-acres-in-two-transit.html
PlusUrbia Design’s vision to create a parklet out of parking spaces in Little Havana has been awarded grant funding via the 2016 Public Space Challenge sponsored by the Miami Foundation. The Coconut Grove-based studio’s proposal for a low-cost, high-impact urban oasis was chosen from more than 400 submissions.PlusUrbia is known for its urban interventions in Little Havana, including myCalle8.org complete streets redesign of Calle Ocho. The studio’s La Terracita parklet would create a public gathering space -- to play dominoes or hang out. The parklet would be a gift to a densely-populated area, a neighborhood with one of the lowest indexes of open space per capita in the country.The Public Space Challenge Grant is for $20,000. PlusUrbia has committed to reach out to non-profits, businesses and individuals to leverage the grant. An equal match would fund all permitting, construction, liability coverage, ADA access, and maintenance of a successful urban parklet.Parklets can be replicated throughout Miami to create welcoming open spaces in urban areas. The ultimate goal is to collaborate with advocacy groups to produce a simple guide that would enable hundreds of parklets to be created. To see the full list of the 2016 challenge winners, please visit: http://ideas.ourmiami.org/page/winners
Goldman Properties' Wynwood Walls was awarded the 2016 PROJECT OF THE YEAR AWARD at the annual Urban Land Institute Vision Awards.Plusurbia was recognized amongst the Goldman Properties team for its contribution to Wynwood Walls with the design of Wynwood Doors and Garden.We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Goldman Properties's legacy in Wynwood. For more information on the Wynwood Walls Garden design, please visit: https://plusurbia.com/project/wynwood-garden/ In attendance representing Plusurbia were our Principal, Juan Mullerat, and Architecture Leader, Santiago Eliaschev, pictured below to the left with the rest of the Goldman Properties team and to the right with Goldman Properties CEO, Jessica Goldman Srebnick.
PLUSURBIA DESIGN’S WYNWOOD REVITALIZATION DISTRICTHonored with APA Florida Award of ExcellencePlusUrbia Design’s vision for the renowned Wynwood arts district has been selected for an American Planning Association of Florida (Florida APA) Award of Excellence in the Neighborhood Planning category.The prestigious statewide honor recognizes the studio’s plan that supports Wynwood’s creative industries with mixed-use development, walkable streets and open space.The award recognizes PlusUrbia’s Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) planning report. The studio’s recommendations ultimately led to the City’s adoption of the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD-1) to guide future development in the area.  It will be presented during APA’s statewide conference in September, in Tampa.The plan promotes mixed-use development, including manufacturing-enabled retail. Smaller units serve millennials and artists with affordable apartments and live-work units. To preserve light industry, galleries and shops, a Transfer of Development Rights program was implemented to reduce development pressures on legacy structures. Coupled with a parking buy-down program, the Wynwood NRD is promoting new urban typologies in Miami.PlusUrbia collaborated with the Wynwood (BID), City of Miami Planning and Zoning Department and Akerman law firm. The studio’s Wynwood plan earned the APA’s America’s Great Places Award and the Gold Coast Chapter’s Best Plan in 2015.   
 MY CALLE 8 UPDATE:FDOT PD&E STUDY KICKOFF MEETING August 25 (5:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M.)Shenandoah Park Rene Janero Recreation Center, 1800 SW 21st Avenue  FDOT is holding an important Public Kickoff MeetingThis is the first public meeting of the FDOT process that will ultimately decide the fate of our Calle8 corridor. Will it be a complete street with wide sidewalks, safe crossings, calmed two-way traffic and dedicated lanes for pubic transit and bicycles? Or will it be more of the same "Highway Ocho" with three lanes of one-way speeding traffic that serves suburban commuters, not Main Street Little Havana.This is your opportunity to gather for an open house at 5:30 p.m., then a 6 p.m. public presentation by FDOT's project manager and consultant team, led by the HNTB firm. This project will last into 2018, but this is the first opportunity for community input.This is our opportunity to help the FDOT team to understand what we expect for the future of the Calle8 corridor. Please follow the link below and sign the petition if you would like to see a better Calle8:https://plusurbia.com/mycalle8-petition-launches/  FDOT Project Information:
 PlusUrbia's Juan Mullerat is honored to present "Affordable Pockets for Healthy Living: Little Havana USA" at the American Planning Association Florida statewide conference coming up in September in Tampa. FROM DARK STREET TO GREEN ALLEY / AFFORDABLE POCKETS FOR HEALTHY LIVING: LITTLE HAVANA USA Wednesday, September 7, 2016          3:30 PM - 4:45 PMInner city neighborhoods such as Miami’s Little Havana have good bones, but need urban interventions to increase healthy living.  We’ll explore both assets (including high density to support public transit; affordable housing in close proximity to jobs) and challenges including lack of park space for healthy recreation, limited access to fresh food and a zoning code that prevents infill with small units and no parking.  For a fraction of what exurbs or new towns cost, the inner city can be retrofitted in a more sustainable manner.  The session will also focus on creative ways to change alleys, narrow utility corridors that are rarely seen as public spaces, to make them inviting public places, as well as “green infrastructure”. The session will focus on the traditional uses of alleys, and some ideas for transforming them into inviting public spaces. Example projects will be shown from a variety of communities with a wide range of community development objectives and outcomes.SPEAKERSJUAN MULLERATPrincipal, PlusUrbia DesignDAVID M. HAIGHT, FAICP, LEED AP NDProject Manager, AtkinsLink to event:http://floridaplanning.org/conference-2016/sessions/from-dark-street-to-green-alley-affordable-pockets-for-healthy-living-little-havana-usa/For more details on APA Florida 2016 conference, please follow the link below:http://floridaplanning.org/conference-2016/
Thank you to the diverse leaders who joined Plusurbia in hosting Commissioner Francis Suarez in his campaign for Mayor of Miami.
Proud of our Wynwood Walls Garden design (Wynwood Walls) "Project of the Year Finalist", Urban Land Institute Vision Awards:http://seflorida.uli.org/events/vision-awards        Grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Goldman Properties's legacy in Wynwood.For more information on the Wynwood Walls Garden design, please visit: https://plusurbia.com/project/wynwood-garden/  
 PlusUrbia participated in a Charrette in San Salvador, El Salvador led by Castillo Arquitectos from Guatemala.The project aims to serve as an example of sustainable development in the region. Below is a recap of the work accomplished during the week of the Charrette:See also media coverage at El Diario de Hoy.
Juan Mullerat shares a vision of a people-friendly Calle8 in a Spanish language interview with @CityLabLatino
FINALISTS ANNOUNCED! MIAMIANS REIMAGINE PARKS, NEIGHBORHOODS IN 2016 PUBLIC SPACE CHALLENGE Hialeah Public Libraries, 2016 Public Space Challenge finalist, is hoping to add seating areas and a free library near the JFK Library building in Hialeah.Change is happening in Miami’s parks, plazas and open spaces. You can skate at a new skate park in what was once an empty lot under I-95 at NW Third Avenue and NW First Street. You can stay hydrated and reduce waste at Margaret Pace Park’s newly installed water bottle refill station and water fountain. You can easily explore all the amenities along the Ludlam Trail by following walking and biking signs that make it easier to know how long it will take to get where you want to go.Vibrant public spaces like these help connect Miamians to each other and to their communities. That is why we created the Public Space Challenge. We wanted to empower Miamians to improve, activate and create new public spaces in their neighborhoods. Anyone can apply to get funding and help technical help to make their idea a reality.There’s a growing movement in Greater Miami recognizing the power of parks and open spaces. All you have to do is look at the 400+ submissions for evidence. The community set a new record for number of ideas submitted. Residents across the county from Miami Gardens to Homestead shared their vision during the Challenge. West End residents also submitted more 2016 entries than in the past three years of the Challenge, supported by County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, District 11.Today, we are happy to announce 56 finalists for this year’s Challenge. You can see the finalists and all the ideas submitted here.The themes we saw emerging in this year’s Challenge were around parklets, bus and transit stops, bicycle infrastructure, and under passes and bridges. Many entries also involved reclaiming unused spaces. From a 1,000-foot water slide, to a ladies kickball league, to community gardens, these are the things that Miamians want to make happen.PlusUrbia, a 2016 Public Space Challenge finalist, is proposing an urban parklet in Little Havana.Design firm PlusUrbia proposed creating an urban parklet out of a parking space in East Little Havana’s residential area. They want to transform the parking area into an open space with a small grouping of tables and chairs where residents can gather to play dominoes in a safe, welcoming spot away from traffic.The Nature Conservancy wants to create green spaces along Wagner Creek, which runs through Downtown Miami’s health district. They note greenery allows people to connect with nature, supports wildlife and helps reduce flooding. They envision trees for shade and grassy areas people can enjoy.Hialeah Public Libraries, pictured above, suggested adding seating areas along the walkway surrounding the JFK Library building, featuring a free library. Their hope is that this people will come together in a shared gathering space to socialize, relax, exercise and read.Green Mobility Network seeks to enhance the West End bus terminal with a transit kiosk, a bike pump/repair station and covered bike parking, and public art installations. Their intention is to encourage more residents to realize the benefits of public transit in an area of the county known for long commute times.The Branches, Inc. park, a 2016 Public Space Challenge finalist.In Homestead, Branches, Inc., recommended installing a shade system over the Branches Florida City Playground. They note that this project would provide a safe inviting playground for children, youth and families, and an opportunity for people to get to know one another.Other finalists aim to bring an interactive light installation to an underpass in Little Haiti, build a floating park and mangrove off the Rickenbacker Causeway, or design an aeroponic educational garden in Liberty City.These ideas help improve quality of life for all Miamians. They create opportunities for neighbors to connect, engage residents to play a role in revitalizing their communities and spur economic development. In the coming weeks, Challenge finalists will work on developing full proposals for their submissions.We invite all Miamians to explore these finalists on the submission website, ideas.ourmiami.org. We also encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to let them know what these community gathering places mean to you (find contact information for county officials here).It’s up to all of us to create an even more vibrant place to call home.Stuart Kennedy is Director of Program Strategy and Innovation at The Miami Foundation.Click here to view all the 2016 Public Space Challenges finalists.Link to post: http://ourmiami.org/finalists-announced-miamians-reimagine-parks-neighborhoods-in-2016-public-space-challenge/Link to our Miami Public Space Challenge submission: Parklets!
Published by The Miami Foundation:Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street) has long-been a signature thoroughfare in Little Havana.  The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six will soon look at whether Calle Ocho should remain a highway or return to its original, two-way main street design.  Local architecture and planning firm PlusUrbia Design has launched the MyCalle8 petition campaign, encouraging FDOT to consider a "complete street" approach with bike paths, transit lanes and wider, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. Foundation President and CEO Javier Alberto Soto weighed in, sharing how the proposed design can promote a more vibrant neighborhood for residents. Read more>> http://ourmiami.org/blog/
By Jon Warech | May 4, 2016 | PeopleThrough expansion and curation, Jessica Goldman Srebnick is helping Wynwood grow up, without letting it grow old.Under the watchful eye of developer Tony Goldman, the Wynwood Walls transformed a once-undesirable neighborhood into a vibrant home for internationally acclaimed street art. But for his baby to develop as the late visionary intended, it will fall on his daughter, Jessica Goldman Srebnick, to nurture the area into adulthood.“I feel like Wynwood is in its toddler stage,” says Goldman Srebnick, the CEO of Goldman Properties. “We’re walking, we’re talking, but we still have a lot of growth ahead of us.”Over the next five years, Goldman Srebnick expects big changes in Wynwood, including an influx of retail, a 434-car parking garage (being developed by Goldman Properties), and office buildings packed with tech companies, start-ups, and co-working space. But as the neighborhood grows, Goldman Srebnick is working to ensure that Wynwood doesn’t lose what she calls the “special sauce” that makes it one of the most dynamic communities in the world.“The art is going to go vertical,” she says. “Right now it’s all horizontal, but as we start building bigger, it’s going to go vertical, which is going to be interesting. Plus, I think you’ll see a beautiful marriage of art and architecture in Wynwood. The hope is that we’re setting the tone for that.”The evolution has already started at Goldman Properties, which recently expanded the Wynwood Walls by purchasing an adjacent property dubbed Wynwood Garden. While the expansion allows for larger events—like the concert series that Goldman Srebnick is starting in May or high-profile weddings (and nightlife impresario David Grutman’s recent engagement)— it also provides room for more street art, which is the foundation of the development.“We like to make sure we have representation from all over the world,” she says, noting that she’s on the hunt for an Italian artist. “In the day and age of Instagram, you can really research and find some extraordinary artists and what they’re doing in real time all over the world.”Here, the art isn’t just pretty; it’s also good for business. “I look at the Wynwood Building as an interesting example,” Goldman Srebnick says of the structure that’s now home to tenants like Del Toro Shoes and the hair salon Junior & Hatter. “It was a 40,000-square-foot industrial building that was getting $6 a square foot in rent. We painted it these incredible black and white stripes—we didn’t change the structure of the building at all—and then all of a sudden, creative people wanted to work there and creative retailers wanted to be there.”And as Wynwood matures, new tenants will expect the same vibe—“There’s going to be a cachet to having an office in Wynwood,” she says—and demand that the cool neighborhood not lose its edge. Businesses like Jugofresh are doing their part by standing out design-wise and embracing the responsibility that comes with being a Wynwood tenant. “You know where you are when you’re in Wynwood,” she adds. “It’s not Everyplace USA.”Juggling the creative and the corporate, managing an expanding business while staying true to her father’s ideals, and helping Wynwood grow up without selling out constitutes a big part of Goldman Srebnick’s day. She watched her father at work (what she endearingly calls the Tony Goldman School of Business) and is a “lifelong learner,” she says, attending the leadership development program at Harvard Business School every year.“Obviously, we’re not in this as a hobby; this is a business. But at the same time, you will work that much harder and the quality of your product will be that much better if it’s something you really love and believe in,” she explains, noting the success of the restaurants her company runs, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar and Joey’s Italian Café, and the growth of tenants like Panther Coffee and Zak the Baker. “We have a marathon mind-set, not a sprinter’s mind-set, and so we’re thinking about decisions for the long term. Choices come with consequences, and I try to make choices that better the lives of other people and create prosperity and hope.” And in Wynwood, hope springs eternal, and prosperity is painted on every wall. 2520 NW Second Ave., MiamiLink to article: http://oceandrive.com/jessica-goldman-srebnick-on-growing-wynwoodFor more information on the design for Wywnood Walls Garden please visit: https://plusurbia.com/project/wynwood-garden/
Link to Article: 20160505-Miami_Today_Calle8
CITYLAB ARQUITECTURAEl rediseño que necesita el corazón de la Pequeña HabanaUna propuesta pretende hacer de la Calle Ocho una vía más amigable para los peatones y, de paso, sentar un precedente para Miami.Una representación de Plusurbia de Calle Ocho con pistas designadas para bicicletas y tranvías. PlusurbiaPor: Tanvi MisraA cada uno de sus costados, la Calle Ocho está bordeada por gruesos edificios con forma de cajas: gasolineras, tiendas de empeño, ferreterías, supermercados y la ocasional panadería cubana ofreciendo cafecito, croquetas y pastelitos. La calle es sede de varios íconos culturales: bares de jazz como Hoy Como Ayer y Ball and Chain, así como Versailles, el restaurante cubano favorito de todos. Alrededor de la 15 Avenida los turistas salen de autobuses para echar un vistazo al Parque del Dominó, esperando ver a los viejitos exiliados cubanos insultándose con malas palabras y riendo mientras juegan. Cerca queda el Tower Theater, un excelente ejemplo del estilo Art Deco de arquitectura, donde los inmigrantes cubanos antes iban a ver películas estadounidenses.Si bien recientemente esta área ha recibido mejoras, por lo general la Calle Ocho todavía deja mucho que desear. Esencialmente se trata de una carretera de una sola vía con tres pistas que conecta Downtown Brickell con los suburbios del oeste. Tiene aceras estrechas y deterioradas. Y, según los lugareños, uno se juega la vida al tratar de cruzar la calle.“No está ni elevada ni sumergida: es una cicatriz”, dice Juan Mullerat, quien vive en la Pequeña Habana y es director en Plusurbia, una empresa miamense de diseño urbano y arquitectura. “Permite que los autos pasen a alta velocidad por un barrio histórico”.Pero ahora el Departamento de Transporte de Florida (FDoT, por sus siglas en inglés) está iniciando un nuevo estudio sobre la revitalización de la Calle Ocho y la 7, su hermana que corre en paralelo hacia el oeste. “A medida que avanza el estudio, la visión para este corredor empezará a tomar forma con la retroalimentación que recibamos del público”, dijo Ivette Ruiz-Paz, encargada de relaciones públicas de FDoT, a CityLab mediante un correo electrónico.Sin embargo, urbanistas, desarrolladores, inversionistas, autoridades de la ciudad y hasta el alcalde Tomás Regalado no están del todo seguros si la visión de FDoT coincide con la de ellos. “Habrá un ‘antes’ y ‘después’ para este proyecto”, dice Mullerat. “La pregunta es, ¿cómo será el ‘después’? ¿Será una calle completa? ¿O se quedará como carretera?”.Hacer que Calle Ocho vuelva a ser una “calle principal”La propuesta inicial del Departamento de Tránsito. Florida Department of TransitAntes de iniciar el desarrollo del proyecto y el estudio ambiental que está realizando ahora, el FDoT completó un estudio de planificación del corredor entre la avenida Brickell en el este hasta la 27 Avenida en el oeste (el área en el mapa de arriba). Esto lo explica así el resumen del reporte:Esta parte de la ciudad ha experimentado un crecimiento significativo a lo largo de la última década, particularmente dentro del área de Brickell, donde se espera que las construcciones actuales y futuras impacten al corredor estudiado con una mayor demanda en cuanto al tráfico.Para ser justos, el informe del FDoT menciona que el propósito es crear “un corredor amigable para peatones con mejor seguridad, operaciones generales de tráfico y movilidad para el transporte público, los peatones, las bicicletas y los conductores de autos”. Pero centrar la atención en mejorar el acceso al área de Brickell ha suscitado preocupaciones que el resto de la calle —particularmente las partes que van por la Pequeña Habana— quedará relegada a un segundo plano.“Lo que espero es que el DOT pueda ver a Calle Ocho no sólo como un facilitador para el tráfico sino también como un bulevar bello”, le dijo el alcalde Regalado al Miami Herald.Para representar los intereses de su barrio, Mullerat y sus colegas en Plusurbia han creado un plan alternativo para la calle. El propósito de este proyecto —creado gratuitamente— es presentar una visión de la Calle Ocho como una “calle principal”, tal como era antes de que fuera modificada en los años 50 para ser un corredor vehicular de alta velocidad.Para empezar, eso significa cambiar la calle para que vuelva a ser de dos sentidos. También proponen estrechar las sendas de autos, designar carriles para el transporte público y los autobuses y agregar extensiones de cunetas para controlar el tráfico. Plusurbia también visualiza árboles dando sombra y asientos que bordearán la calle.Parte del proyecto que presentó la oficina de Mullerat. PlusburiaDurante muchos años, Carlos Fausto Miranda —agente de bienes raíces y propietario en la Pequeña Habana— ha propuesto un desarrollo urbano en la zona que incluya el uso mixto, los ingresos mixtos y que tenga una densidad mediana. Miranda está de acuerdo con las sugerencias del plan, las cuales “innegablemente e indiscutiblemente coinciden con el movimiento de nuevo urbanismo”.Sin embargo, él y los otros urbanistas discrepan en cuanto a algunos de los detalles más pequeños. Por ejemplo, Miranda quisiera que se consideren juntas las calles 7 y 8 dentro del ámbito del proyecto. De tal modo la Calle 7 podría ser la vía principal para el flujo del tráfico y tener sendas para bicicletas y autobuses, mientras que la Calle 8 podría tener aceras amplias “para que la gente pueda encontrarse e interactuar”.Andrew Frey —director ejecutivo de Townhouse Center, una organización de planeación urbana sin fines de lucro— ha estado luchando durante mucho tiempo para hacer que la ciudad más ‘caminable’. A él también le gusta la idea general de Plusurbia pero piensa que las sendas para bicicletas y el estacionamiento paralelo no se conjugan bien. Su otra preferencia sería que se colocaran los árboles y asientos en el encintado para que haya suficiente espacio en la acera para caminar.Por lo general existe un consenso en que el plan de Plusurbia —y la petición que lo acompaña— son invitaciones a un diálogo muy necesario. “Me alegro de que Plusurbia y las otras personas afectadas estén tratando de incluir las opiniones de los residentes del barrio” en el proceso de planeación, dijo Frey mediante un correo electrónico. Muchas veces esas voces no se oyen, dice. Y cuando se oyen, no siempre se les hace caso.Efectos colaterales positivos del planLos abuelos de Bill Fuller vivían en el barrio de Shenandoah, el cual no queda muy lejos de donde está su oficina actual en la Pequeña Habana. Desde 2001 Fuller ha estado invirtiendo en el barrio y ha asumido varios proyectos de restauración y de interaccion cívica ahí. Recientemente restauró e inauguró Ball and Chain, por ejemplo, y también organiza los Viernes Culturales, un festival de arte que atrae tanto turistas como miamenses al vecindario.Fuller representa la nueva generación de inmigrantes cubanos que están tratando de reclamar un barrio que por muchos motivos ha sido descuidado a lo largo de los años. Quiere asegurar que la Pequeña Habana refleje tanto el pasado como el presente en cuanto a la cultura panlatinoamericana y cubanoamericana del barrio: debe ser auténtico y moderno pero no chabacano ni genérico. “No estamos tratando de crear una versión Epcot de Cuba”, dice Fuller.El Teatro Tower, en la Pequeña Habana. Infrogmation/ Wikimedia CommonsPero en su forma actual la Calle Ocho ha sido un impedimento continuo para lograr esa visión. Dado que se desarrolló como una carretera para facilitar los viajes en auto, atrae negocios orientados hacia los conductores que ofrecen bastante estacionamiento. Y los negocios que no atraen a gente en auto tampoco reciben mucho tráfico de peatones. Además, dado que la vía es de un solo sentido hacia el este, por la mañana los clientes potenciales atraviesan el barrio rápidamente para llegar a sus empleos durante la hora pico en vez de detenerse. Al regresar toman la calle 7 y completamente pasan por alto a los negocios de la Pequeña Habana.Si una versión del plan de PlusUrbia —la de una vía de dos sentidos y amigable para peatones— se llegara a implementar, los negocios en la calle realmente podrían prosperar, dice quienes abogan por el plan. Tanto los miamenses como los turistas podrían caminar por la calle, vitrinear en negocios pequeños y experimentar el trabajo de artistas y artesanos locales. La renovación podría dar lugar a una mejor calidad de vida para los residentes del barrio y hacer que la calle realmente sea un destino turístico.“La calle principal es la atracción [pero] puede tener un efecto colateral positivo para el barrio”, le dice a CityLab Francis Suárez, el comisionado de la ciudad del distrito 4 (el cual incluye el área al sur de la Calle Ocho). Y dado que la Pequeña Habana es el barrio más denso de la ciudad —y además increíblemente diverso— el impacto per cápita de la revitalización podría ser inmenso.La iniciativa para revitalizar la Calle Ocho se está dando al mismo tiempo que la Pequeña Habana experimenta cambios, los cuales, de acuerdo a los lugareños, podrían dañar su personalidad. En 2015 el National Historical Preservation Trust (Fideicomiso de Preservación Histórica Nacional) agregó el barrio a su lista de los 11 sitios que más corren peligro debido a su arquitectura deteriorada. A medida que se disparan los precios de la vivienda en otras partes de la ciudad, el suministro de viviendas envejecidas del barrio hace que los residentes sean vulnerables al desplazamiento. Sin embargo, el plan de Plusurbia sólo fomentaría y conservaría la diversidad económica y cultural, dice la empresa.“Todos se benefician con una mezcla de gente”, dijo Steve Wright, presidente de mercadeo de Plusurbia, a CityLab mediante un correo electrónico. “Nadie se beneficia de una monocultura”.Domino Park es uno de los hitos del barrio. Infrogmation/ Wikimedia Commons¿Un paso pequeño para Calle Ocho y un gran salto para Miami?Los argumentos para una calle que sea amigable para peatones que ha sugerido Plusurbia no son nuevos, pero sí son novedosos para Miami, ciudad que ha experimentado con planes para hacer que sus calles sean más ‘caminables’ y que también ha probado relativamente recientemente el desarrollo de alta densidad y uso mixto. Ahora, la pregunta es: ¿el rediseño propuesto para la Calle Ocho llevará a la ciudad hacia delante o hacia atrás en cuanto al diseño urbano? Y si será hacia delante, ¿influirá a las autoridades de la ciudad y del estado para que consideren implementar tales renovaciones en otros barrios menos visibles?Las respuestas a esas preguntas seguirán pendientes por un tiempo, pero una cosa sí es cierta: los cambios a la Calle Ocho debían haberse realizado mucho antes.“Con frecuencia uso la analogía de que los barrios de una ciudad son como hermanos en una familia. Uno los quiere a todos pero ninguno es igual”, dice Mullerat. “La Pequeña Habana es como uno de los hijos mayores de una familia que ha sido desatendido durante mucho tiempo. Y ahora necesita convertirse en algo más”.Este artículo fue publicado originalmente en inglés en CityLab.com.CITYLAB ARQUITECTURAUNIVISION 23 MIAMI Link al artículo original: http://www.univision.com/noticias/citylab-arquitectura/el-rediseno-que-necesita-el-corazon-de-la-pequena-habana
Will Calle Ocho become a “complete street”? Or remain a highway?By TANVI MISRAMiami’s 8th Street, also called Calle Ocho, is flanked by stout, boxy buildings on either side: gas stations, pawn shops, ACE hardware stores, supermarkets, and the occasional Cuban bakery with cafecito, croquetas, and pastelitos. The street is home to some significant cultural landmarks—jazz bars like Hoy Como Ayer and Ball and Chain, for example, and Versailles, everyone’s favorite Cuban restaurant. Around 15th Avenue, tourists pour out of buses and peer into Domino Park, hoping to catch elder Cuban exiles cursing out opponents over a game. Nearby stands the beautiful art deco Tower Theater, where Cuban immigrants would go to get their fix of American films back in the day.While this last stretch has seen some improvements recently, 8th Street as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. The throughway is, essentially, a one-way, three-lane highway connecting Downtown’s Brickell neighborhood to the Western suburbs. It has pinched, dilapidated sidewalks. And crossing the road, locals say, is like playing Frogger.“It’s not elevated, it’s not sunk; it’s a scar,” says Juan Mullerat, who is a resident of Little Havana and director at Plusurbia, a Miami-based urban design and architecture firm. “It allows for cars to move at high speed through a historic neighborhood.”But now, the Florida Department of Transportation is kicking off a new study into the revitalization of 8th Street and its westbound sister, 7th Street. “As the study progresses, the vision for the corridor will begin to take shape with the input we receive from the public,” Ivette Ruiz-Paz, the media outreach specialist for FDoT told CityLab via email.But local urbanists, developers, investors, city officials, and even city Mayor Tomás Regalado aren’t quite sure that FDoT’s vision is in concert with their own. “There will be a before and after for this project,” Mullerat says. “Question is, what is the after? Is it a ‘complete street’? Or does it remain a highway?”Turning Calle Ocho back to a “main street”(Courtesy of FDoT)Before launching into the project development and environmental study it’s doing now, FDoT completed a planning study of the corridor from Brickell Avenue in the East to 27th Avenue in the West (the area in the map above). From the report’s summary:This part of the city has seen significant growth in the last decade, especially within the Brickell area, where current and future major developments are expected to impact the study corridor with increased travel demand.To be fair, FDoT’s report mentions that the purpose is to create “a pedestrian-friendly corridor with improved safety, overall traffic operations, and mobility for transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and automobile users.” But the focus on improving access to the Brickell area has raised concerns that the rest of the street—especially the parts that run through Little Havana—will be an afterthought.“What I hope is that the DOT can see Calle Ocho not just as a facilitator for traffic but as a beautiful boulevard,” Mayor Regalado told the Miami Herald.To represent the interests of their neighborhood, Mullerat and his colleagues at Plusurbia have created an alternative plan for the street. The aim of this pro bono project is to present a vision of Calle Ocho as a “main street,” just like it was before it was refashioned into a high-speed vehicular conduit in the 1950s (pictured above, left).For one, that means turning the street back to two-way. They also propose narrowing driving lanes, designating lanes for public transportation and bikes, and adding curb extensions or “bulb-outs." Plusurbia also imagines shady trees and curbside seating lining the street.Carlos Fausto Miranda, a real-estate broker and local property owner in Little Havana, has long been a proponent of mixed-use, mixed-income, medium-density urban development. Miranda says he’s on board with the suggestions in the plan, which “undeniably, unquestionably fits into the movement of new urbanism.”He and other urbanists, however, differ on some of the finer details. Miranda, for example, would like 7th and 8th Streets to be considered together. That way, 7th street could be the main commuting throughway with bike and transit lanes, and 8th could have roomy sidewalks “for people to meet and interact.”Andrew Frey, the executive director of the urban planning nonprofit Townhouse Center, has been fighting to make the city more walkable for a long time. He also likes Plusurbia’s general idea, but feels that bike lanes and parallel parking don’t mix. His other preference would be for the trees and street furniture to be along the curb, so that sidewalk space is clear for walking.Generally, there’s consensus that Plusurbia’s plan is an invitation to a much-needed conversation. “I’m glad Plusurbia and other stakeholders are trying to insert neighborhood voices” into the planning process, Frey says via email. These voices aren’t often audible, he says. And when they are, they’re not always heeded.The spillover benefits of the planBill Fuller’s grandparents lived in the Shenandoah neighborhood, which isn’t far from where his office in Little Havana is now. Fuller has been investing in the neighborhood since 2001, and taken on a number of restoration and civic-engagement projects there. He recently restored and reopened Ball and Chain, for example, and organizes the Viernes Culturales art festival, which draws both tourists and locals to the neighborhood.Fuller represents the new generation of Cuban immigrants trying to reclaim a neighborhood that, for many reasons, has been neglected over time. He wants to make sure that Little Havana reflects the past as well as the present of Miami’s Cuban-American, pan-Latin culture: It must be authentic and modern, but not tacky or cookie-cutter. “We’re trying not to create an Epcot version of Cuba,” Fuller says.But Calle Ocho, in its current form, has been a persistent impediment to achieving that vision. Because it has been developed as a car-reliant throughway, it attracts car-oriented businesses with expansive parking. The businesses that aren’t drive-through don’t really get foot traffic. And because the street is an eastbound one-way, prospective patrons zip by in a hurry to get to work during the morning rush hour instead of stopping. On their return commute, they take 7th Street, and miss these businesses altogether.If a version of PlusUrbia’s two-way, pedestrian-friendly plan were implemented, commerce in that corridor could really thrive, supporters say. Locals and visitors alike could stroll down the street, window-shop at small businesses, and experience the work of local artists and artisans. The makeover would usher in a better quality of life for the locals and allow the street to become a real destination for tourists.“The principal street is the draw, [but] it’s going to have a spillover effect for the neighborhood,” Francis Suarez, City Commissioner of District 4 (which includes the area south of Calle Ocho) tells CityLab. And given that Little Havana is the densest neighborhood in the city—and an incredibly diverse one—the per-capita impact of the revitalization would be immenseThe push to revitalize Calle Ocho comes as Little Havana experiences changes that locals believe threaten its character. The National Historical Preservation Trust put the area on its list of 11 most endangered sites in 2015 because of its dilapidated architecture. As housing prices elsewhere in the city skyrocket, Little Havana’s aging housing stock makes its residents vulnerable to displacement. Plusurbia’s plan, however, would only foster and conserve economic and cultural diversity, the firm says.“Everyone benefits by a blend of people,” Steve Wright, president of marketing communications at Plusurbia, tells CityLab via email. “No one benefits from monoculture.”A small step for Calle Ocho, a giant leap for Miami?The arguments for a pedestrian-friendly street that Plusurbia is putting forth aren’t new, but they’re certainly novel to Miami, which has made forays intowalkability and high-density, mixed-use development relatively recently. The question now is, will the Calle Ocho redesign take the city forward or backward with respect to urban design? And if it is forward, would that urge city and state officials to consider such updates to other, less visible neighborhoods?The answers to those questions are coming, but one thing’s for sure: Calle Ocho is long overdue for a change.“I often use the analogy of neighborhoods in the city being like siblings in a family. You love them all, but none of them are the same,” Mullerat says. “Little Havana is one of the oldest children in the family, who was neglected for a long time. And now it needs to become something more.” Article link: City LabTo support Calle 8 as a complete street, please visit mycalle8.orgFor more information on the Calle 8 alternative plan, please visit:  Calle 8 Revitalization
PlusUrbia suggested a couple of ideas for the  2016 Our Miami Public Space Challenge :Patios for Calle 8Click below for more info and to vote!http://ideas.ourmiami.org/place/447913A Hangout Place for Little HavanaClick below for more info and to vote!http://ideas.ourmiami.org/place/448130
BY ANDRES VIGLUCCIaviglucci@miamiherald.comThe Spanish-language tag for Little Havana’s fabled main street, Calle Ocho, might conjure up images of a magical stroll along a colorful neighborhood street, maybe some tropical architecture and picturesque shops and bodegas.That’s a fantasy. Instead, says Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, what visitors to Southwest Eighth Street confront when they alight from their vehicles is “a racetrack” — three lanes of automobile traffic speeding toward downtown Miami that make crossing on foot an outright hazard, never mind the sightseeing.Now, as Florida’s transportation agency undertakes a two-year, $2 million study aimed at modernizing Calle Ocho, city officials including Regalado and some Little Havana residents and business owners are raising a red flag.They’re pointing to state records showing that 49 pedestrians and 18 cyclists were struck by cars, six fatally, on the stretch of Calle Ocho west of Southwest 27th Avenue in a five-year period, and they are asking for a radical reconception of the street.They say Calle Ocho’s future lies in its past, and they want engineers at the Florida Department of Transportation — better known for putting traffic flows first — to take it back to what it once was. Not a funnel for cars, but a true neighborhood main street where motorists go slow, pedestrians reign and merchants flourish. And they want it done pronto.The sense of urgency is motivated by a burgeoning revival of the long-depressed stretch that’s been centered around the restored Tower Theater and the adjacent Domino Park, at Southwest 15th Avenue. Calle Ocho boosters say an explosion in tourism, fueled in part by rapid expansion of popular double-decker bus tours and the monthly Viernes Culturales event, has brought some three million visitors to the street last year. But that revival, they argue, has been held in check by the intimidating traffic along the corridor and the unappealing sidewalk ambiance it creates.“What I hope is that the DOT can see Calle Ocho not just as a facilitator for traffic but as a beautiful boulevard,” Regalado said. “I think we are up against the clock. Every day more tourists come to Calle Ocho. We have to do something quick. And I know FDOT will take years.”FDOT officials say they’re following required procedure but have no details yet on the study. Calle Ocho falls under the agency’s jurisdiction because it’s a state road, part of the old Tamiami Trail otherwise known as U.S. 41.After months of preliminary study, agency spokeswoman Ivette Ruiz-Paz said, the agency hired a contractor and is “early” into a two-year analysis of what improvements to make to both Calle Ocho and Southwest Seventh Street. Both were converted in the 1950s into three-lane, one-way throughways to speed commuters in and out of downtown Miami. The study will be formally and publicly kicked off in about a month, she said.In the meantime, Ruiz-Paz said, FDOT is also planning a short-term safety-improvement project to start in 2017 that would install up to a dozen crosswalks with flashing lights along the corridor, fill in missing sidewalk gaps and make other improvements. The cost: $2.1 million.But what they’ve seen from the agency in preparatory public meetings so far has alarmed some Calle Ocho property owners and merchants. They say FDOT consultants and officials appear too concerned about automobiles and might be just paying lip service to neighborhood wishes because they’re required by law to undertake “community involvement.”Case in point, said Bill Fuller, an entrepreneur who helps organize Viernes Culturales and operates the wildly successful Ball & Chain bar in a renovated historic building near the intersection at Southwest 15th Avenue: The proposed flashing crosswalks, which he said were not presented publicly until after the design was already well underway.Fuller contends the flashing-lights idea is so inappropriate for the historic neighborhood that it underscores that FDOT doesn’t get what the locals want. He complains that the agency doesn’t consult with locals before embarking on elaborate and costly plans.“The community was in an uproar. It’s tremendously unsightly. That design would not be acceptable in Miami Beach or Coral Gables,” Fuller said. “Why don’t you sit with the neighborhood from the very beginning? Let’s get to a real solution. We’re not going to be just another box so that you can check off community involvement on your list, and then ram this down our throats.”Fuller and other merchants and residents are rallying around an alternative Calle Ocho redesign that’s also won qualified support from Regalado and other city officials, including Commissioner Francis Suarez, who represents western Little Havana and is vice-chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the county’s transportation planning agency.The plan, developed pro-bono by PlusUrbia, a Miami architecture and planning firm, would reduce auto lanes on Calle Ocho to two, narrow them slightly and restore two-way traffic. The shift would make room for dedicated transit and bike lanes and expanded crosswalks.Those changes alone, says PlusUrbia co-principal Juan Mullerat, who lives near Calle Ocho, would make the street safer and more attractive to pedestrians, to the many locals who depend on bikes to get around, to bus riders and to users of the new Little Havana city trolley.It’s also better for merchants, Mullerat said. Not only would they benefit from increased foot and bike traffic, but having auto traffic both ways brings more business in the evening when people are on their way home from downtown.And slowing cars doesn’t mean traffic jams, Mullerat stresses. He says studies show that doing so can actually improve traffic volumes and flow because motorists can safely follow other cars more closely.Not everyone has signed onto the idea of restoring two-way flows on Calle Ocho. Notable among the objectors are the managers of one of Calle Ocho’s most prominent businesses, Brickell Motors, which straddles both sides of the street. President Mario Murgado, who has made extensive improvements to his property, has expressed concern about maintaining access to the dealership’s lots and buildings.But Mullerat stresses that he’s not pushing his firm’s plan as the only good alternative but as a basis for public discussion.“We stand by our plan. But let’s do a real study, not a three-lane highway,” he said. “We want a process where people have a real say. The goal is a democratic Calle Ocho that works for everyone, that’s not just for commuting but is a destination.”The city, meanwhile, is about to spend $1 million on Calle Ocho enhancements, but Regalado notes the irony that the city can’t go past the sidewalk’s edge.“I can do sidewalks, trees, planters, garbage cans with art — all of which we’re going to do,” he said. “But I can’t touch the roadway.”The impending tug-of-war over Calle Ocho is just the latest in a series of similar disputes between municipalities and state roadway officials prompted by the revival of urban neighborhoods across Miami-Dade.City officials looking to make pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets out of urban corridors like Biscayne Boulevard downtown and along the Upper East Side — also a state road redesigned in the 1950s and 1960s to speed traffic through — have been frustrated by state and county traffic-engineering practices that prioritize the movement of cars and, critics say, treat public-transit users and people on foot and bikes as an afterthought, if not a nuisance.One consequence of that cars-first approach to street design, the critics note: Statistics show that Miami, Orlando and Tampa consistently rate among the five most dangerous metros in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists.“We used to be a suburban city. Now we’re seeing urban renewal in very large doses,” said Suarez, the city commissioner. “So you have to revisit some of these decisions that were made 50 years ago. Everything that we’re doing in the city is to promote rapid transit and [streets] that allow for walkability and biking.“It’s a more intelligent way of doing things. I just hope agencies like FDOT understand that we want quality, not just quantity, that they need to look at this not just as an engineering project, but as a neighborhood-building project. Hopefully we can get everybody on board.”State and local transportation agencies have started to show more flexibility in accommodating wider sidewalks, narrower auto lanes and bike lanes as part of roadway projects. But critics say they haven’t gone far enough to meet increased demands for street designs that better balance motorized traffic with other users, a concept known as Complete Streets.They say the Calle Ocho project, given the street’s symbolic importance as the cradle of Miami’s Cuban community and the substantial public interest that goes along with that, could be the truest test to date of how willing FDOT officials are to bend to local wishes and a different vision of urban streets.Some Little Havana property owners contend the 1950s one-way conversion of Eighth Street contributed to the blight that’s afflicted eastern Little Havana for decades.“It’s drained so much of the potential of this street,” said Carlos Fausto Miranda, a commercial real estate agent and investor who works in the neighborhood and backs the PlusUrbia concept. “You have this terrible gash of high-speed auto traffic going right through the middle of it.”Miranda noted that whatever FDOT ends up doing on Calle Ocho will have long-term repercussions because the street likely would not be touched again for a generation or two.“We need to make a lot of noise. We need a lot of people voicing their opinion. And we need to do it now,” he said. “We want to collaborate with FDOT. But it’s hard for them to break their momentum. And once this is done, it’s done for several decades.”Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/little-havana/article69652182.html#storylink=cpy
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