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Sunday, April 30, 2017

PLUSURBIA DESIGN HONORED WITH

NATIONAL PLANNING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD


MIAMI – PlusUrbia Design, a boutique urban design and land use planning studio, has been honored with a national award presented by the American Planning Association (APA). PlusUrbia’s Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD) won the prestigious National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning.


“A small, independent film out of Miami won the Academy Award this year and now a boutique design studio in Miami has won the Oscars of Urban Planning” quipped Juan Mullerat, Director of Coconut Grove-based PlusUrbia.


The City of Miami partnered with PlusUrbia and Akerman law firm to develop a plan to transform Wynwood into a progressive arts community with walkable streets, transit corridors and green space. The Wynwood Business Improvement District hired PlusUrbia to create guidelines, incentives and zoning changes that became the NRD.


The plan spurred more residential development, particularly small, affordable apartments and live-work units that appeal to millennials.


“We’re proud to have engaged PlusUrbia to help create the Wynwood NRD, and congratulate them on this honor,” said Wynwood BID Planning & Zoning Chair David Polinsky. “The results of our collaboration are already shaping Wynwood’s continued evolution for the better.”


The 2017 National Planning Award recipients will be honored during APA's National Planning Conference in New York on May 8. The recipients of the profession’s highest honor will also be featured in the May 2017 issue of Planning magazine.


The Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District is one of 12 APA Achievement Award recipients this year. The award recognizes the economic development program to transform the previously blighted Wynwood into a diverse, 24-hour mixed-use arts and innovation neighborhood. Visit the Wynwood NRD project at:     

Each year, APA recognizes outstanding efforts in planning and planning leadership through its National Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards. The two-tier awards are selected through a juried process. Excellence recipients are the highest honor and Achievement Awards recognize areas of specialization with the planning profession.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 6



NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

Final, final thought.

If you are allergic to cats -- do not book this place. 

Hat's off to JonGunnar's advertisement that makes it clear he has a cat and that his cat is clingy. 

If this bugs you, look elsewhere.

If you are a cat person like me, this will be the best thing -- other than location and price point -- about the house. 

Mooch is a beautiful black cat who lives indoors and out.

He does not meow.

Mooch has a kind of cackling growl for a voice. 

At first, I thought it meant he was going to claw me. 

But he's really just crying for attention in his unique way. 

Mooch also will cry to let you know he needs to go out to go to the bathroom. 

I adored Mooch.

He napped with me and I woke up with him sleeping on my back! 

He cuddled and slept next me. 

I fell in love with Mooch.

He's so affectionate and full of personality, I wanted to take him home.

So if you like quirky and cat-filled Airbnb experiences, you have found a home in New Orleans.

I'd go back in a heartbeat.




Friday, April 28, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 5


NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

If you like funky, if you can look past clutter, this is a dream spot. 

Two final thoughts. (one will be about the beautiful male cat pictured above)

The biggest negative is the lack of lock on the door. 

There is a lock to the main door, but once you get in, there is no outside lock on your room door. 

That means when you leave, anybody can get in. 

Maybe JonGunnar only gets great guests and this is no issue. 

But even though I don't need chain hotel orderliness, I do want to be able to lock my room from the outside, when I'm gone for the day. 

Even from the inside, the "lock" is a little lever on the ground and I could never get it to line up with the metal piece.

I tossed and turned that first night, feeling like anyone could check in and open my door and walk in on me. 

Turned out I had to place to myself, so the main door lock kept all out -- but still, JonGunnar -- go to a hardware store and invest 50 bucks in a nice door handle lock.

That way, your guest can secure from the inside when sleeping and on the outside when leaving the room for the day and having the peace of mind that all is locked up safe.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 4



NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

As all other reviewers have noted, this is a house with a lot of character. 

The downstairs is as cluttered as I've ever seen.

Not dirty, but cluttered. 

It's like an artist's warehouse imposed on an old family house's common area. 

JonGunnar is a photographer-artist and must travel a lot. 

I'm also guessing the artist's life does not provide a ton of extra money -- thus some tape fixing cracked windows and a lot of peeling paint and other flaws.

If you demand Marriott cookie cutter, this is not the place for you. 

If you want to live among art and feel like an edgy artist -- this is heaven. 

And the entire bill, booking fee, cleaning fee and nightly rent -- came to just over $200 for 5 days and 4 nights. 

Think about that. 

A noisy, cramped, 150 SF room in the quarter would cost way more than that for one night...with parking and taxes added on. 



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 3


NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

The kitchen has a washer dryer and tons of washing machine soap -- so you can pack super light and wash clothes while using the tub-shower. 

The house is no wheelchair-accessible, but with the homes raised above the flood plain, very few NOLA houses are. 

It's a typical double shotgun with anti-room, living room and kitchen on the ground floor and bathroom and 3 bed rooms on the top floor. 

JonGunnar was traveling when I arrived and his other room was not booked, so I had the entire place to myself. 

Knowing how haunted New Orleans is, that made things a little creepy the first night, but it also meant now hearing others walking up the creaky old wooden stairs plus zero waits for the one bathroom. 

The bed was surprisingly comfortable for a house with mismatched, old furnishings. 

Sam, the person who helps out JonGunnar with making beds etc. when he's on the road -- followed my neurotic requests for extra sheet and towel, layered a certain way.

Both Sam and JonGunnar were available by text to answer all questions -- practical and fun -- before and during my stay.

The response was light speed.

Very impressive. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 2


NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

The Banks Street Bar, which sometimes has food and often has music, also is super close. 

But somehow, amazingly, you don't hear the noise of the popular bar, even though it's open well past midnight. 

I'm a noise phobic person. I slept well at JonGunnar's place. 

The fact that each guest room has a wall-mounted air conditioner right over the bed probably helps, as it provides instant white noise to muffle the random dog bark or siren that one would hear in any urban location. 

There is a small off street parking space and always a free on street spot for your rental car within a block of the house at the corner of South Alexander and Palmyra.

Check in is easy.

He texts you the code to the lock box out front. 

There also are bikes that you can use, but I walked to close stuff and used the rental for other distances. 

Note: you do not need an expensive rental car. 

Transit and Uber will serve you well. I only had a car because I was photographing far flung places that were not served by Uber. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

COZY BEDROOM IN OLD MIDCITY HOUSE -- PART 1


NEW ORLEANS AIR BNB

Mid-City is where you want to be. 

Trust us.

It has great restaurants, neighborhood joints nestled in among real people, real houses, real culture.

It is not loud and drunk and overpriced like the French Quarter.

It is close to everything you'd ever want to see in New Orleans. 

JonGunnar's place is an Air BnB rental in the heart of everything.

It literally is within crawling distance of the Canal Street Streetcar, which will take you to the French Quarter, CBD, City Park, and some of the best cemeteries for touring in town. 

The old house also is super close to a cluster of great neighborhood food places -- the breakfast and lunch joints Wakin' Bakin' and Biscuits and Buns on Banks are a block away. 

Clesi's, which does crawfish boils and has a great jambalaya, is at this same junction as is Mid-City Pizza and its great outdoor space. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

AIA CONFERENCE ON ARCHITECTURE 2017: APRIL 27-29 IN ORLANDO

MICHELLE OBAMA: LAWYER, WRITER, & FORMER FIRST LADY


Over the last eight years while in the White House, former First Lady Michelle Obama has worked tirelessly to champion a number of important initiatives designed to make our world a better place.

She will be speaking on the opening day of the AIA's national conference: April 27, 2017.

The next day, author and expert Heidi Johnson-Wright will be speaking.


Heidi Johnson-Wright
ADA Coordinator, Miami-Dade County, FL

Presentation: 4/28/2017   2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Awesome Flexible Design Strategies and the Future of Inclusive Accessibility

Heidi Johnson-Wright began her career as an attorney for the State of Ohio, doing regulatory compliance functions.

She was the City of Miami Beach, Florida's first full-time dedicated ADA Coordinator. 

She has been an ADA compliance professional for 15 years.

She is adjunct faculty at the University of Miami's School of Architecture. 

She was a conference speaker at the Kentucky Congress on Spinal Cord Injury and Miami-Dade Cultural Arts conference. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

LEVEE BAKING COMPANY


A COTTAGE BAKERY IN NEW ORLEANS

In Christina Balzebre's own words, from her website:

Offering homage to the tradition of bread baking and pastry making (and preserving, pickling, cooking savory things, etc…), we strive to achieve the balance that is the technique of the old world and modern ways.

Naturally leavened bread, completely homemade pastries, and locally foraged ingredients are only the beginning of the process: to be a part of the environment and civilization that surrounds. 

Being in New Orleans, even where a culture of food abounds, a renaissance of wholesome food is still an ongoing process. We’d like to contribute.

Also, we like it when things taste good.

Come see us at the bakehouse every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. It’s always a lovely Saturday morning where you can sit at communal tables, drink locally roasted Congregation coffee, have a pastry and bring home some fresh bread.


You can find our goods at Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Congregation Coffee, Mammoth Espresso and the Stacks Bookstore at the CAC. All of these cafes offer the best quality coffee and we are very proud to be a part of their experience.

http://www.leveebakingco.com/

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/gambit/3-course-interview-christina-balzebre-of-levee-baking-company/Content?oid=3534594

http://countryroadsmagazine.com/cuisine/Louisiana-foodways/levee-baking-co-new-orleans/

https://thefeedfeed.com/leveebaker


Friday, April 21, 2017

LEVEE BAKING COMPANY


A COTTAGE BAKERY IN NEW ORLEANS

New Orleans is a food city.

Certainly, a trip to Spain, New York, Italy, even Los Angeles comes with thoughts of getting a prized table at a fabled landmark restaurant or a spot at a new whiz kid chef''s counter in those eating places.

But what city, other than New Orleans, do you build an entire itinerary around food?

Nothing against the amazing jazz and live music, the local artists, the beautiful architecture, the mighty river, the endless diverse neighborhoods, the walkable blocks, the famous cemeteries and so much more -- but food, food is why we go to NOLA.

In a city where people fret over even the provenance of the bread for a Po Boy or the source of the coffee in the morning mug o' mudd, it's not always easy for a newcomer to make the grade.

That's why we're so impressed with Christina Balzebre and her Levee Baking Company. The young master of breads, pastries and more has them lined up out the door at her pop up cottage bakery at 3824 Dryades Street.

People come for breads, cookies, pastries, pies, coffee and more -- served Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The location is just 3 blocks west of the St. Charles streetcar, just south of jumping Freret Street and a bit north of Central City's up and coming culinary enclaves.

We found out about Levee because we've known Christina's family for more than a decade and her proud papa in our hometown of Miami has shared the many rave review news clipping's about his daughter's magical baked goods.

We were first through the door on Saturday April 15 and we're glad we were. We bought her out of mini chocolate pies. They don't need refrigeration, so they were perfect for the plane trip home hours later.

We also indulged in savory tarts and muffins for the plane. If only airplane food were 1/100th as good as Levee Baking Company.

Christina, thanks for chatting with us and serving us delightful coffee to go with the cookie we ate while selecting our sweet and savory baked goods.

We're glad we got there early, because your loyal followers were lined up out the door by the time we headed for the rental car.

http://www.leveebakingco.com/

https://www.facebook.com/leveebakingco/

http://leveebakingcompany.tumblr.com/

https://www.instagram.com/leveebaker/

https://twitter.com/leveebakingco?lang=en


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS

In 1973, four victims of the UpStairs Lounge arson attack, Ferris LeBlanc and three unidentified males, were buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.

Monday, April 17, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS

It is located next to Delgado community College behind right field fence of the school's baseball facility, Kirsch-Rooney Stadium. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS

The cemetery was established in 1879 to inter the bodies of poorer residents, and was frequently used due to allowing funerals to proceed around, rather than through, the city; it was expanded in 1909.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS

The Cemetery is named after Dr. Joseph Holt, an official of the City Board of Health (famously involved with city health issues concerning Storyville, the Red Light District of New Orleans) who officially established the cemetery in the 19th century.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS


Historically this cemetery is unique in that the burials happen below-ground and the ownership will stay with the family so long as it is well-kept.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY


NEW ORLEANS

The original 400′ by 600′ plot was increased in 1909 with an additional plot on St. Louis Street.

Monday, April 10, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY

NEW ORLEANS


Originally a cemetery for the city’s indigent population, Holt Cemetery passed through several rounds of ownership before being established by Dr. Joseph Holt, a city board of health official, in 1879. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

HOLT CEMETERY, NEW ORLEANS


The cemetery contains the remains of known and unknown early blues and jazz musicians, including Charles “Buddy” Bolden.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

DADE HERITAGE TRUST HONORS PLUSURBIA DESIGN’S SERVICE TO LITTLE HAVANA

MASTER PLAN PARTNERSHIP INCLUDES 
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

MIAMI – PlusUrbia Design has been selected as a Dade Heritage Trust (DHT) Annual Preservation Award winner for its stakeholder-driven master planning work in Little Havana. The Coconut Grove-based Urban Design firm will be honored at the Trust’s annual meeting this Thursday April 6. Founded in 1972, DHT is Miami-Dade County’s largest preservation organization.
PlusUrbia, in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Live Healthy Little Havana, Urban Health Partnerships and DHT, is leading a master planning effort to improve and enhance Little Havana as a healthy community.

The Little Havana master planning effort is a pioneering approach that integrates historic preservation with contextual urban infill to spark economic development, vibrancy and healthy living in authentic towns, neighborhoods and main streets.

"This is the largest master planning process ever focused on the National Treasure that is Little Havana. To protect and enhance the authenticity of the neighborhood, we are engaging hundreds of stakeholders. Their  ideas will inform a blueprint for a healthy, affordable and livable Little Havana," said Megan McLaughlin, PlusUrbia Planning Leader
Development pressures make this a crucial time for a masterplan that will shape the evolution of Little Havana and how it is served by walkability, transit, park/open space, affordable/attainable housing, local jobs and healthy design.

Little Havana is a culturally-rich neighborhood that is very important to both Miami and the nation. PlusUrbia’s partnership with key non-profits will gather an unprecedented amount of input from people who live and work in Little Havana. Diverse input will inspire design guidelines to protect and enhance the culture, health, affordability and authenticity of Little Havana for future generations.

PlusUrbia excels in placemaking, urban design, zoning, preservation and development. The practice designs contextual buildings and places that create sustainable lasting value. 








Sunday, April 2, 2017

THE CRUEL REALITY OF NEGLECT

AT THE MAJORITY OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES IN MIAMI


We live in a nearly 100-year-old house in the inner city Miami neighborhood known as Shenandoah.

Along with stately houses, cool low-rise apartments and a wonderfully diverse mix of affordable housing and people from many different backgrounds – we have tons of Assisted Living Facilities.

Most of these ALFs warehouse people with severe substance abuse or mental illness issues.  Others are felons who have served their time for sex offenses, arsons and other onerous crimes…doing their time in a halfway house.

Because Shenandoah, part of Little Havana, went through tough times when people fled to the suburbs – it became a dumping ground, with way too many ALFs. While ritzier areas host none, Shenandoah has 10 times its share of ALFs.

I feel obligated to state a few things. I embrace diversity and welcome one, maybe a max of two ALFs in my neighborhood. My mother suffered from severe mental illness for decades and perhaps could have benefited from a well-run ALF.

The sad statement in Shenandoah is it seems like the many ALFs are very poorly operated. When I worked for the City, I heard endless, verified tales of one young person serving as resident manager and people with great needs running amok with no professional supervision or care.

We must embrace and help all human beings, even those who find themselves in need of a halfway house while re-entering society or at an ALF to get group help for their substance, mental illness and other issues.

I fear that not only do we have an over concentration of these facilities, but we also have owners that are motivated only by profit. I fear that there are more residents than allowed in licensed homes, poor living conditions, possible illegal additions and worst of all, uncaring onsite "managers" interested only in free rent -- not in the well-being of the residents.

As I have not gone on inspections, I cannot prove these presumed accusations. But I'm pretty sure, driving by these ALFs and seeing the sad state of their inhabitants, my eyes tell me all I need to know.

We need our elected officials -- at city, county, state and federal levels -- to step in and demand better conditions for the poor souls who appear to be simply warehoused in barely supervised conditions -- for the staggering profit of heartless, inhumane ALF operators.