Our Miami Public Space Challenge


The Miami Foundation and our partners created the Our Miami Public Space Challenge to discover the best ideas for improving, creating, and activating local public spaces.

Anyone can post ideas: individuals, groups, for-profit companies or nonprofit organizations.

Community experts and professional placemakers will select the best ideas, and then we’ll invest $100,000 to make them a reality.


- See more at: http://ourmiami.org/challenge/#sthash.Xo4Sag6b.dpuf

Seattle to build Food Forest

We are integrating a Food Forest into the current designs for the area adjacent to the west side of Jefferson Park. Located just 2.5 miles from downtown Seattle, Jefferson Park hosts a variety of recreational opportunities, one of which could be community gardening. In 2010, a $20,000 City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) grant was provided to hire a design team to come up with a design based on input from three public design workshops. The design team selected included Margarett Harrison, a landscape architect with Harrison Design, and Jenny Pell, a permaculture designer with Permaculture Now!. In December of 2011 the project received $100,000 from the Department of Neighborhoods to begin phase one of the food forest plan.

Charrette Work-in-Progress Presentation


A Design Charrette is an intensive week-long event that brings together members of the community with planning and design professionals, architects, developers, environmental experts, and the local government to air tensions, resolve differences, and generate consensus on a plan for the future. A final report is published with renderings, maps, and detailed descriptions of the proposed ideas.

At the request of residents of the Village of El Portal, the Village Council approved funding for the 2013 El Portal Community Design Charrette which was held May 5 – 12th, 2013, at El Portal Village Hall. The interactive workshop brought the community together with elected officials, the village staff, and planners and facilitators from the County’s Urban Design Center to create a new plan for a walkable, environmentally sustainable, attractive, and economically sound future for the Village of El Portal, with a focus on preserving the existing beauty, culture, and quality of life of this key area along the Biscayne Corridor. The Charrette addressed possible options for new revenue generation and job creation in the Village. The Charrette was open to all residents of the community, including those without formal training or previous experience with urban planning, and was well attended. Participants shared their visions for the community and the designers will draw them into a final report which can be used to create an updated Comprehensive Master Plan.

Public Workshop, May 4th, 2013

Public Workshop, May 4th, 2013

Download the slides from the Work in Progress Presentation here (7.3MB PDF).

The Smart Math of Mixed-Use Development

Planetizen Article
If you were a mayor or city councillor facing a budget crisis, this comparison should serve as an eye-opener, both in terms of your policies and your development priorities. The comparison should also get you thinking about not just how you could encourage more downtown development, but also what kind of development could increase the value of buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods.

It’s not just officials in Asheville who should be asking these questions. In the growing number of diverse cities where we have studied this same equation (such as Billings, MT, Petaluma, CA, and Sarasota, FL) we’ve found that the same principle applies: downtown pays. It’s simple math.

The more valuable downtown properties become, the more revenue the city can generate to address its budget gaps, while also serving the best interests of its citizens. Unfortunately, our public officials may not always make their decisions with full knowledge of the trade-offs.

property taxes per acre

Compact Communities

America in 2013: A ULI Survey of Views on Housing, Transportation and Community

America is a diverse nation and our story is ever evolving. How we feel and what we value about the communities we live in is changing too. The Urban Land Institute’s Infrastructure Initiative and Terwilliger Center for Housing set out to discover where America stands in 2013 when it comes to views on housing, transportation and community.

In partnership with Belden Russonello Strategists LLC, a nationally recognized survey and communications firm, ULI conducted a statistically representative survey of 1,202 adults living in the United States.

The results of the survey provide an important benchmark on American attitudes and expectations around community choices. While the survey finds that the American people are overwhelmingly satisfied with their community’s quality of life, the survey also highlights the diversity of views Americans hold about where and how they live and what they want.

Take A Closer Look

Hear more about America in 2013, ULI’s new survey about Americans’ views on housing transportation, and community preferences and how these findings can assist communities to shape future development.

View key survey takeaways highlighting what Americans are looking for in their communities.

Download Key Findings

Drywall Free Walls?

Drywall Free Walls

Think about the “drywall” term for a minute. Ever think what it really means? Yeah, that’s right – it works fairly well… so long as the wall is dry. But leave the window open while a summer shower blows in, or let the roof leak, and “dry-wall” turns into “wet-mush.” One dousing of water, and it’s a moldy, mildewy mess. You have to rip it all off, down to the studs, and rebuild the room. So the slogan should be “dry-wall or mush-wall”! And remember the Chinese Sheetrock Disaster recently… it doesn’t necessarily even need to get wet to breed mold and mildew.