This from the Herald today:

…a group of investors are developing a large chunk of Homestead’s Park of Commerce — 270 acres lying west of the Homestead-Miami Speedway and east of Florida’s Turnpike — into what they believe will become South Florida’s largest luxury business park.

Once complete, the aptly named ParkSouth will house 1.4 million square-feet of warehouse, light-commercial and office space. Maybe even a hotel.

Then later:

“I see Homestead like a new Doral, a new Weston, three years down the line,” said Albornoz (retail investor).

Jeez, I hope not.

Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald

Photo courtesy of the Miami Herald

This is really unfortunate - especially given our current economic problems. We can no longer approach land development with a business as usual mindset. This project typifies the type of bad, autocentric planning that pervades our suburbs and which should not only be avoided, but written  out of our land development regulations (ie. made illegal - in much the same way that compact/traditional planning has been illegal for the past 50 years).

Our friends at Eye on Miami have some great commentary about the proposed changes to the State growth management laws - part of the same  discussion.  Rolling back growth management laws is clearly a mistake - we need to beef up our land development regulations,  not water them down. Our future is in compact, pedestrian friendly development - incremental growth that uses resources efficiently, and results in the creation of real communities. Projects like the one shown above perpetuate an isolated, car-dependent way of life.

The advent of the car was a great thing - it allowed us the flexibility to travel long distances,  altering the landscape we inhabit. In our eagerness to use this new toy to its fullest - we separated the different aspects of our life - work, home, school, store - into neat little zones, but we never stopped to ask whether it was practical or useful to do so in the first place. Well  it isn’t - not for the people who inhabit these places, and not for the local government that needs to provide them services.

If we continue with these same patterns of development then our future is going to look like one mini-Doral after another, all connected by an arterial that comes from nowhere and goes nowhere.

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4 Responses to Homestead the new Doral??

  1. Why do developers always aspire to create the “NEW WESTON.” Ed Easton said the same thing about Parkland (the Lennar DRI). Is Weston a place we all want to recreate, is it a poster child for a good city? Godawful thought. If I had to live the rest of my life in one of these Western suburbs (My sister lives in Coral Springs) I would pretty much go nuts.

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  2. AND…thanks for referring to Gimleteye’s thoughtful post today at Eyeonmiami. It is a good analysis of very bad policy.

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  3. Stephen McGaughey says:

    Besides this blog, would you report some day on what local and regional organizations and leaders have this same mind set of restructuring the development pattern in Miami-Dade.

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  4. Tony Garcia says:

    There are many people and organizations that are pushing this idea, both within local government and in the private sector. Most notably is the City of Miami’s efforts with Miami 21, the smart code rewrite. Miami-Dade has dabbled in smart growth overlay districts, but has yet to embark on a code rewrite that really addresses the fundamental flaws of the zoning code. Coral Gables is a big proponent of compact urbanism, as reflected in the amazing success of the Downtown area.

    There are many people within the County and City Planning departments that advocate smart growth principles. The County has a Community Planning division that organizes community charrettes in underdeveloped areas, and former Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning Subrata Basu (along with others within the Planning Department) are forward thinking. Similarly, Ana Gelabert-Navia, Planning Director for the City of Miami is a big advocate of smart growth - and has been for years. Well before Miami 21 came on the scene, she pushed for patches to the existing code that would address the ambiguous relationship it had with the pedestrian realm.

    PS.This definitely deserves its own post.

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