The plan that made a drab suburb cool
This video from urbanists Dover, Kohl & Partners offers instructions on the transformation of an inner suburb that was languishing.
South Miami was an early suburb — it was built from the 1930s through the 1960s, with the fastest growth in the 1950s. Like many early suburbs, it benefits from a street grid and small parcels, which allow lot-by-lot rebuilding. South Miami's center languished for decades before getting a rail station in 1984. Revitalization of the main street area, now called Hometown, didn't begin in earnest until about 2000 — following the strategy of Dover Kohl, which has its offices there.
In this nifty video filled with excellent graphics, the firm explains in detail how the revival took place. Here's the formula:
1) Build walkable streets
2) Require street-oriented architecture
3) Embrace a mix of uses
4) Share parking with garages
5) Embrace transit
Mayor Philip Stoddard explains how this approach has benefitted South Miami:
"When I visit our Hometown on a weekend night, I ask other diners where they are from and why they came here. Their answer is always the same. 'We live in the south part of the county and we drive north until we get to the first lovely place where we can park once and spend the evening walking and dining.' The answer is music to a mayor's ears. We in South Miami embraced the gracious planning and design of our Hometown District, and we want to continue farther on this path."
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