For more than a year, I have been proud to be part of the PlusUrbia Design team. The Coconut Grove-based studio truly is a team, both internally and externally.

Its founder, Juan Mullerat, makes sure 100% of the public relations, marketing and business development pieces that I publish are giving credit where credit is due. That extends to giving credit to our brilliant young urban designers on projects.

The spirit of collaboration and sharing credit also extends to our industry partners. PlusUrbia's work on the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization was a partnership with the City of Miami Planning and Zoning Department, Wynwood Business Improvement District, Akerman law firm, elected officials and hundreds of stakeholders.

Note in PlusUrbia's dictionary, there are not "clients," "regulatory agencies," "interest groups," etc.  No, it is one big, evolving team. The commitment is for the long haul and the planning is done with an eye on creating regulations that build a lasting legacy.

This morning, the Miami City Commission recognized our team for being honored as one of the American Planning Association's 2015 Great Neighborhoods. PlusUrbia's innovative WYNWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION DISTRICT was part of the team effort.

Wynwood was one of only four places in America recognized by the APA in 2015 as one of America’s Great Places: Neighborhoods. The Coconut Grove-based studio’s vision for the renowned arts district was honored during today’s Miami City Commission meeting.

PlusUrbia teamed with the City of Miami, Wynwood Business Improvement District and Akerman law firm to create the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD). The innovative plan supports Wynwood’s creative industries, with mixed-use development, walkable streets, transit corridors and open space.

The City Commission-approved NRD will add vitality to Wynwood by progressively addressing its greatest needs. The neighborhood has very little housing, so PlusUrbia’s zoning changes create more residential development while also allowing for smaller units to serve millenials and artists with affordable apartments and live-work units.

 To preserve the light industry among the hip galleries, PlusUrbia created a Transfer of Development Rights program that allows warehouse owners to sell the development rights to their buildings – so development pressures do not encroach on the legacy businesses.

To discourage surface parking lots, and buildings made unaffordable by required on-site parking, PlusUrbia’s plan creates a system for developers to pay into a fund that will build centralized parking garages and reduces the parking requirement significantly for future development. Other funds paid by investors to boost their development rights will go into a pool of money dedicated for parks, open space and improvements within Wynwood’s boundaries.

PlusUrbia’s plan balances the needs of: remaining light industry, the growing arts district, future development of residential, commercial, transportation and open space. Mixed-use, compact development is facilitated on vacant lots to create a more walkable, vibrant neighborhood that can support increased public transit. The NRD includes a concept that turns drab streets into multi-modal shared open spaces. Even Wynwood’s acclaimed street art is perpetuated in the plan through the creation of a local Development Review Board.

Without the teamwork of the City Of Miami, Wynwood BID, Akerman, elected officials and hundreds of members of the arts district community, we would not have shared in a national success story recognized by the APA.

To read the American Planning Association’s praise for Wynwood, visit: