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Congratulations, Miami Beach. The American Planning Association (APA) recently recognized Ocean Drive on South Beach as one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets of 2007. This is quite an honor, as Ocean Drive is in the company of other nationally famous streets such as Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, Richmond’s Monument Avenue, and 125th Street in NYC.

According to the APA,


Great Places in America
celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard of communities. The designated streets and neighborhoods are defined by several characteristics, including good design, functionality, sustainability, and community involvement.

Specifically, Ocean Drive was recognized for its unique architectural legacy, citizen-led historic protection and planning efforts, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented restoration and redevelopment, and ongoing public support.

Not really any surprises, there. I give credit where credit is due, and the planners and citizens of Miami Beach have done a heck of a job (excuse the Bushism) the last twenty years turning Ocean Drive and South Beach around by utilizing its natural resources (density, historic architecture) and engaging the public realm for people instead of cars. It’s really a great local case study that I wish more planners and citizens in neighboring municipalities would research.

Photo courtesy of CTPEKO3A’s Flickr photostream

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