Design Districts in Land Planning: Innovative Miami Design District Becoming New Trend in Land Use - Doral Design District Moves Forward

by Rosa Eckstein Schechter

Miami's Design District is well-known to almost everyone: tourists seek it out, investors appreciate its success, heck - television shows use it for backdrop.  It's a beautiful part of the city and one of the jewels of South Florida.  Set among some of Miami's great neighborhoods -- Wynwood, Buena Vista, and the Upper East Side communities -- the Miami Design District has sprung its art galleries, retail stores, cafes, restaurants, antique shops, and the like from a place that long ago was primarily a bunch of warehouses. 

However, from a land use perspective, the Miami Design District has also provided an example both to South Florida and other parts of the country on how to plan and develop a mixed-use community that benefits not only its commercial and residential residents but the area economy as well.

First on all, Miami's Commissioners okayed land development group DACRA's $312 million plan to revamp the current Design District into much more: there will be new plazas, cafes, stores, and both hotels and residential housing in the new District.  Second, Miami's use of land in its Design District has already been an example to a number of municipalities over the country as a way to boost their local urban areas.

Design Districts aren't a new concept. For example, Waikiki, Hawaii, has had its own Design District since the mid-1970s.  However, for places like Hartford, Connecticut, the design district of Miami has been something to consider as its own North Park Design District mixed use land plan was recently created.

2012 - Amending the Design District in Doral, Florida

South Florida is seriously considering the mixed-use land plan seen in Miami as a way to ignite economic growth in urban locales.  This month, the City Council of Doral made national news when it voted on the "Doral Design District Core" and its application to 185 acres of land inside the city's design district. Doral already created a Design District back in 2010 (you can read the Master Plan online): now, an Ordinance has been passed to amend that 2010 concept.

The Doral vision is to create a Design District from a place that currently houses lots of offices, warehouses, and showrooms into a pretty place that will be easily accessed by foot traffic and particularly inviting to the design industry.  The City leadership envisions a place that is " ... the mecca for designers, artist(s), architects, boutique retail stories, galleries and restaurants."  There will be places to live within the Doral Design District, too. 

For more, check out the website here. 


Written by:

Rosa Eckstein Schechter

Eckstein Schechter Law on:

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