Currently viewing the tag: "Historic Preservation"

I heart bungalows. One of the best building types, and an endangered species throughout Miami, where it was once widespread. This is exactly the type of housing the City of Miami should be restoring  - not tearing down (as they recently voted to allow with a zoning change along 12th avenue - a bastion of bungalow frontage). Check out some of my favorites from around East Little Havana….

A color coded survey of historic bungalows in East Little Havana performed by Street Plans.




Bungalows have been adapted and recycled many times. Infill development opportunities abound, you only need to be creative...






The City of Miami Planning Department will be holding a Community Meeting for the NE neighborhoods (approx 50th St northward to the city limits- east of the railroad tracks and including Oakland Park) to discuss the Preservation Division’s work on requests for historic districts, NCD, and creating a unified vision for the more than half dozen neighborhoods in this area.

Presentation by Preservation Officer Question and Answer regarding Historic Districts vs Neighborhood Conservation Districts.

How to achieve the vision of this area and updates on city staffing.

The Planning Department will have maps of all of the possible historic district expansion areas. They will also explore several options of how to market and identify historic neighborhoods to the public and bring greater value to these neighborhoods.


For more information please contact Alexander Adams
City of Miami Planning Department, Preservation Officer

Phone:  305.416.1445

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Congratulations to friend of Transit Miami Alex Adams, who was recently promoted as the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Miami. Alex has been a strong advocate for smart growth and transportation policy reform in the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County (both as a citizen and municipal employee), and has worked for the City of Miami Urban Planning Division for over 3 years. Prior to that he worked in the Florida Keys as Historic Preservation Officer and planner. He has a Masters in Planning from Virginia Commonwealth and in Architecture/Urban Design from UM.  I sat down with him to talk to him about his experience working with the City Planning Department, and what the future had in store for Miami’s historic architectural fabric.

Transit Miami: During your time in the Urban Design Section of the Planning Department you reviewed most major developments that came out of the ground during the last five years, are there any projects that stick out from that time (built or unbuilt)?

I don’t have any specific building in mind,  rather I prefer to look at how complete neighborhoods were redeveloped in a short period of time. A few examples, for me, are the Brickell/Mary Brickell Village area that has continued to advance with the introduction of shopping, residences and several streetscape projects, both completed and in the works. I worked closely with the DDA and we cooperated in changes in Downtown, including several mini parks. Additionally The Biscayne Boulevard street improvements, Museum Park and the Marlins Stadium will all have enhanced public areas.

Transit Miami: As the new Historic Preservation Officer for the city you have big shoes to fill given the expertise of your predecessor Ellen Ugucioni.  A passion for Miami’s historic architecture is a must for this position.  Do you have any favorite historic buildings or neighborhoods in Miami? Any that you might want to see get historic designation?

The number of historic districts (and total protected land area) has more than doubled since I started working as a planner for the City of Miami, so I believe Miami has made big recent strides to protect our shared past. I will continue the progress Ellen and others built here over the past decade.  I was previously the Preservation Officer in the Florida Keys for Monroe County, and have a passion for architectural conservation. My personal favorite local building type is probably the classic Miami art’s and craft’s Bungalow  - its style, use of local materials, craftsmanship, and openness to the outdoors invoke of a sense of Miami-ness I enjoy.

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The Miami Herald is reporting that the former home of The Jackie Gleason Show could be torn down to make room for a new hotel and the expansion of the Miami Beach convention center.

This project sounds like a really bad idea. The last thing Miami Beach needs right now is another hotel. The Fillmore is a beautiful historic building and provides a much needed small/medium sized venue for music. Live Nation, which currently operates the Fillmore, invested millions of dollars three years ago to renovate the building. Miami Beach needs a collection of buildings that represents its history; this collection creates an architecturally diversified urban environment which contributes to good urbanism. The Fillmore is a building we should keep, its part of our history and should not be demolished.

Please send City Manager Jorge Gonzalez an email to let him know that you do not support the demolition of this building.

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Our local historic preservation hero and guru Ellen Uguccioni has this to say about Miami 21:

Dear friends of historic preservation (a vital part of our quality of life,) and a fundamental principal in the MIAMI 21 (ZONING) CODE:

After years of meetings, public input through hundreds of hours of public meetings, a dedicated staff of the Miami Planning Department and its consultant Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, will present a new, form-based code based on the best of urban design and respect for the environment ( both natural and built,) this Thursday, August 6th.

As we pass the 113th year of the City of Miami’s incorporation, this holistic approach to years of “band-aid” zoning will be the first major  overhaul of the city’s land use process.  I know how many hours you all have spent in “crusades” and I would greatly appreciate your support of Miami 21.

As it relates to historic preservation, Miami 21 will:

Create a viable process for Transfer of Development Rights only for historic buildings with the “Receiving “ areas in the denser urban zones where public benefits can increase a building’s height.

Provide a transition from residential to commercial areas,  eliminating the incompatibility of low rise residential  and mid to high-rise commercial use

Create a “view corridor” for Vizcaya, permanently removing the threat of looming high-rise adjacent new construction

Create an “Exemption” for  “bed and breakfasts” in certain residential areas.

The list of Miami 21’s insightful aspects is too long to discuss here, and I would urge you to go to the Miami 21 website at for more information. As a respected member of the community, your input ( by letter or personal appearance) will help the city make history—

Please address any correspondence to the Honorable Members of the Miami City Commission; c/o Ms.  Priscilla Thompson, CMC, City Clerk, City of Miami , City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami Florida 33130 or

Ellen Uguccioni

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On the bike ride to work this morning I stopped to snap a couple of photos. The first displays the Miami Arena on its way out. The second, the once beautiful and ‘coulda been saved if the political will was there, ala Coppertone Girl and Marine Stadium,’ East Coast Fisheries building on the Miami River.

As I bicycle around downtown it sometimes seems this city has had almost as many buildings knocked down as put up in recent years. Some had to go, but others… alas, another day, another demo.

The City of Miami City Commission is considering allowing the demolition of the East Coast Fisheries Building at Thursday’s meeting. The Historic and Environmental Preservation Review Board denied the application to demolish the derelict structure, but the Planning Department supports the appeal.  The structure was designated historic in 2003, but now is at risk of demolishion. What good are our preservation laws if they don’t save structures from being demolished. This is embarrassing for our city, and even more for the Planning Department.  Shame on you guys.

Here is a little more about the building from the Miami Histo-Presto website:

This Mediterranean Revival style building is one of the few remaining landmarks from the prosperous commercial fishing industry that was once centered along the Miami River. Advertisements described the building as the “South’s Most Beautiful Fish Market” when it opened as Miller’s Fish Market in 1926. East Coast Fisheries moved into the building in 1933 and continued its wholesale seafood operations and eatery until 2000.

Congratulations, Miami Beach. The American Planning Association (APA) recently recognized Ocean Drive on South Beach as one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets of 2007. This is quite an honor, as Ocean Drive is in the company of other nationally famous streets such as Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue, Richmond’s Monument Avenue, and 125th Street in NYC.

According to the APA,

Great Places in America
celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning. Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard of communities. The designated streets and neighborhoods are defined by several characteristics, including good design, functionality, sustainability, and community involvement.

Specifically, Ocean Drive was recognized for its unique architectural legacy, citizen-led historic protection and planning efforts, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented restoration and redevelopment, and ongoing public support.

Not really any surprises, there. I give credit where credit is due, and the planners and citizens of Miami Beach have done a heck of a job (excuse the Bushism) the last twenty years turning Ocean Drive and South Beach around by utilizing its natural resources (density, historic architecture) and engaging the public realm for people instead of cars. It’s really a great local case study that I wish more planners and citizens in neighboring municipalities would research.

Photo courtesy of CTPEKO3A’s Flickr photostream

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