Andres Viglucci of the Miami Herald: Downtown Development Authority’s new master plan gets AIA Miami’s nod

Andres Viglucci, author of the Miami Herald‘s popular Urbanista! blog, covers urban affairs and architecture in Metro Miami. Naturally, he’s been keeping an  eye on the Miami Downtown Development Authority‘s efforts to enhance life, draw business, and improve the livability of Downtown Miami. So when the DDA’s 15-year Master Plan to gradually improve the public realm in downtown Miami won the American Institute of Architects Miami Chapter’s “best local urban plan of 2009,” Mr. Viglucci wrote a thoughtful post detailing the plan, its high points, strengths, and challenges.
Amid a torrent of ambitious urban designs and master plans approved in the past year, it’s a so-far unheralded document that won the AIA’s urban plan of the year award – the DDA’s clear, sensible and achievable 15-year plan to gradually improve the public realm in downtown Miami…

The plan’s chief virtue may be that Betancourt built on multiple existing plans and considerable strengths – Museum Park, the Burle Marx paving design for Biscayne Boulevard, the waterfront — instead of attempting to reinvent downtown… But its best parts focus on the nitty-gritty: New plazas and urban focal points, plus connecting all the disparate pieces already in place, or soon to be, into a cohesive whole, including enhancement of Brickell Avenue, Flagler Street, South Miami Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard into the cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly gems they should be – goals that may seem obvious but somehow have eluded past leaders.
Mr. Viglucci correctly points out that “some aspects of the plan are mainly aspirational” and that the DDA’s greatest challenge will be actually putting the plan into place.  We think that as Miami gets wind of the plans afoot, our community’s support will drive the plan forward. We’re looking forward to seeing the next stage of Miami’s development, and it looks like Mr. Viglucci is too!


About Andres Viglucci and Urbanista!

Andres arrived at The Miami Herald in 1983, when there was nowhere to buy a Coke on Ocean Drive. He covered the early days of the South Beach revival, as well as riots, rafters and the 1986 Miss USA contest. Three times he has been a member of Herald reporting teams that won the Pulitzer Prize. He covers urban affairs.  Email him at