For those who have been following, and hopefully supporting Miami 21, you already know that the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are a continuous thorn in the side of progress. Clearly not capable of understanding — or should I say reading — the code, most complaints state that Miami w21 will ” limit their creativity.” Proven to repeatedly be a bunch of hooey (with many examples) the following should gives M21 supporters a sense of justice.

Last night  Mayor Manny Diaz   received the 2009 American Architectural Foundation’s Keystone Award for taking on Miami 21, the largest form-based code ever proposed. That’s right readers, our local and vocal architects may like Miami just the way it is, but the nation is watching this process closely, and it seems most are hoping M21 succeeds. If it does, it will usher in a whole new precedent for replacing the very zoning codes — proliferated like a bad plague across the land without any regard for urbanism and local conditions — that prevent most US cities from allowing smart growth.

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6 Responses to Diaz Receives National Award for Miami 21

  1. Blingtown says:

    The whole AIA v. Miami21 has been interesting. I am really curious if the whole AIA is opposed or if it really Bernard Zyscovich’s leadership that has given the loudest voice to a minority. I work at Arquitectonica and I would say that there is a full range of opinjions trending slightly toward support. From a practical standpoint, I am just looking forward to some clarity in the codes.


  2. WalterC says:

    “Mayor Diaz is revolutionizing downtown Miami through design. Through public art, multi-family housing, transit, mixed-use developments, and preservation of Miami’s historic neighborhood fabric, he is constantly utilizing design to shape a more sustainable future,” said Sandy Diehl, chair of the AAF Board of Regents (upon giving the award).

    I did not know that Mayor Diaz had undertaken these wonderful revolutionary measures. I have yet to see any tangible results from this revolution, unless the horrendous towers, pedestrian unfriendly roads, missing parks, private views-only of the bay, filth, images of a virtual underdeveloped country’s decaying center city, a traffic mess, inaccessible metro, are the evidence. I guess not.


  3. Tony Garcia says:

    Bling: I think that a lot of the criticism comes from within Zyscovich’s office. I’m not convinced that a majority of architects are against the plan because he is so vocal about his opinion. I’ve been to plenty of meetings where architects come out in support of the plan (one in particular was Bernado Fort Brescia who spoke in support of the plan when it came before the PAB in ’07).

    In related news, I found this article from last week’s ‘Cape Coral Daily Breeze’ that described Zyscovich’s upcoming work there.

    “Pushing his concept of new urbanism, Zyscovich stressed the need to take a city’s existing character and design new growth that is interwoven into its fabric and foundations.”

    Interesting, even though he will not call himself new urbanist, others do – reinforcing his image as an over-eager self promoter who is trying to get his name in the paper.

    Walter: I think its a little harsh to criticize Mayor Diaz for what didn’t get done during his tenure- he has been a great advocate for our city, and has worked with the community on a variety of issues from supporting bike infrastructure to Miami 21. Most of the issues you are referring to are the result of thirty years of incompetent leadership at City Hall (pre-Diaz). Lets hope that someone appears on the radar that can actually take his place.


  4. Blingtown says:

    Why do you think I stay anonymous?


  5. Miami 21 needs much more work says:

    Land use attorneys, neighborhood activists, developers, park space lovers, neighborhood preservationists and property owners all have spoken up in strong opposition to Miami 21. All groups find it unworkable. At a recent public hearing 31 of the 34 speakers were opposed to Miami 21.

    The so-called Smart Code might work on a vacant lot but it has never been used on an existing City anywhere near the size of Miami. Clearly it will have a severe negative economic impact.


  6. Tony Garcia says:

    I have been to several of the many community workshops and presentations and there is always a good balance of pro vs. con participants. To paint an ‘everyone hates Miami 21′ picture is not only inaccurate – it just isn’t true.

    A very vocal minority of people is trying to derail one of the greatest opportunities this town has ever seen. Negative smear campaigns like this one unfortunately tend to work here, given the spotty track record of our elected officials.

    PS. The Smart Code can be calibrated to work anywhere – even in Miami. Philadelphia started its Smart Code revamp well after Miami and is competing for first dibs on implementation in a major city.

    “Clearly it will have negative economic impact.” Based on what??? If you are going to make sweeping generalizations please base your statements in facts. The negative economic impact is born by our residents under the current car-centric code that requires excessive parking and penalizes creation of public space. By creating walkable urbanism you allow families to free up money otherwise spent on cars/car maintenance/insurance/gas. That is a real and measurable way that Miami 21 will positively impact the economy of the region.

    I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a code that prioritizes the pedestrian realm over the car any day!


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