Miami 21: a New Zoning Code for the City | Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. LLC

Miami21 is a new form-based zoning code for a growing coastal city at the heart of a metropolitan region. The purpose of the effort was to direct the city toward transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly growth, and away from disjointed, car-centered development.

From the beginning, the new code had overarching goals: conservation and development. These were to respond to the seemingly conflicting agendas of residents concerned about high-density development encroaching on low-density neighborhoods, and city administrators eager to encourage renewed investment in languishing commercial districts.

The work began with analysis of existing regulations and all neighborhood plans; it required input from studies on economic development, transportation, arts and culture, historic preservation, and green building, as well as coordination with a Parks and Open Space Master Plan, and a Bicycle Master Plan. A series of public workshops, and an outreach campaign that included a website, a hotline, and advertising, were used to elicit public participation.

Using the Transect and the Smart Code as its organizing framework, the new code focuses on regulating building to create pedestrian-friendly public space and to ensure physical predictability for developers and residents. The code includes incentives to minimize areas devoted to parking, and it encourages green building, historic preservation, the redevelopment of brownfield sites, and the development of additional public open space.

The new code was approved by the City Commission in 2009 and went into effect in 2010. As the region recovers from the recession, several large-scale Special Area Plans are in construction.

Additional Credit

  • Economic Development Sub-Consultant: Economics Research Associates (ERA)
  • Legal: Lewis, Stroud & Deutsch, P.L.
  • Parks and Open Spaces: Goody Clancy
  • Public Outreach Sub-Consultant: Village Marketing Bureau

Photo Credit


Miami 21: a New Zoning Code for the City

Jury Comments

The zoning code for the city of Miami is an important, innovative project; it’s the kind of project we need to see more cities undertake.

The effort it took to reach a consensus on this plan is truly remarkable: the sheer fact that the plan was implemented is amazing and deserves to be rewarded.

This project went beyond crafting a vision – in fact, it developed a tool. Other cities will have to address zoning issues in the future, and this plan will serve as an invaluable precedent.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design Jury

  • Marcy McInelly, AIA, Chair
  • Urbsworks, Inc.
  • Portland, Oregon
  • David Gamble, AIA
  • Gamble Associates
  • Boston
  • Manuel de Lemos, AIA
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • The Honorable Tom Murphy
  • Senior Fellow, Urban Land Institute and
    former Mayor of Pittsburgh
  • Washington, DC
  • Brad Tomecek, AIA
  • Tomecek Studio Architecture
  • Denver

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