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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

COCHON


NEW ORLEANS

At Cochon, chef Link has reconnected with his culinary roots, serving the traditional cajun southern dishes he grew up with.

Chef Link and chef/co-owner Stephen Stryjewski are working with locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood, focusing on traditional methods, creating authentic flavors of cajun country.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

BARRIO SANTA ANA


PANAMA CITY, PANAMA

Proud shopkeeper.

She saw my photographing the architecture and street life.

And paused from a customer, and ran to front of her store.

Then insisted I take her picture.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Senator René García urges FDOT to move forward

WITH TOP-RANKED 395 TEAM


A direct quote from the Honorable State of Florida Senator René García:

"The residents of Overtown and the visitors to Miami-Dade County cannot wait any longer for the SR-836/I-395 Signature Bridge project to be completed. 

See my letter of support to FL Dept. of Transportation Secretary Cone below:"



Friday, May 26, 2017

PLUSURBIA DESIGN'S JUAN MULLERAT QUOTED ON HERITAGE TRAIL:

ONE OF THE REASONS THE ARCHER WESTERN-THE DEMOYA GROUP
SIGNATURE BRIDGE AND OVERTOWN-UNIFYING URBAN DESIGN 
IS THE CLEAR WINNING CHOICE FOR 395


From the Miami Herald, by Andres Viglucci:


After a decade of planning and debate, the competition to build a bridge that would define downtown Miami came down to two starkly different designs: One, declared the winner by a mere half point, is a six-arched suspension structure meant to recall a spouting fountain over Biscayne Boulevard.

The other, the clear favorite of a committee of four community representatives charged with scoring plans on aesthetic grounds, is a pair of support pylons resembling dancers in a pas de deux at the door to the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

But the so-called signature bridge — the focus of a still-roiling dispute over state transportation officials’ handling of the selection of a contractor to rebuild Interstate 395 — is only the most salient element in an unusually ambitious $800 million expressway project that aims no less than to radically remake a critical stretch of downtown Miami.

As it takes down and replaces the obsolescent, mile-and-a-half-long I-395, the Florida Department of Transportation, responding to years of pushing and litigation by local residents and elected officials, will also attempt to remedy the damage done to the historic black community of Overtown and Miami’s urban fabric when the expressway cut its destructive path through the area in the 1960s.
A key piece of the project — extensive improvements at ground level — would transform what’s now a blighted, disconnected no-man’s land of oppressively low overpasses and closely spaced columns beneath I-395 into a series of sunsplashed parks, gardens and public spaces linked by a mile-long pathway between Overtown and Biscayne Bay. All of that would be made possible by raising the new expressway farther off the ground and drastically reducing the number of support piers, allowing sunlight to shine through for the first time in 50 years.

At about 55 acres, the stretch of land under and around the new I-395 would be the largest urban park in the city of Miami, notes Juan Mullerat, a Miami planner and architect on the team selected by FDOT for the expressway project, a joint venture led by contractors Archer Western of Chicago and Miami’s The de Moya Group.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

JUAN MULLERAT PRESENTS COMPLETE DISTRICTS CONCEPT

 at West Palm Beach Complete Streets Conference


PlusUrbia’s Juan Mullerat presented the Complete Districts concept at the West Palm Beach Complete Streets Conference.

Complete Districts focuses on a network of clean, safe, but unique streets that together create a complete district.


For more information on Complete Districts, please visit: http://plusurbia.com/project/complete-districts/

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CONNECTING MIAMI

We Want Progress Over Politics



Sign our petition and don't let dirty politics get in the way of progress. 

With a growing population in Miami, we can't afford to let a losing bidder stall a project that will relieve the traffic woes of 836 and I-395, while delivering a signature bridge that will connect Overtown with surrounding communities.

Start the I-395 Signature Bridge Project NOW!

Link to petition

Connecting Miami Facebook Page


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING WITH COMMUNITY INPUT FOR THE I-395 PROJECT

PETER SCHORSCH OF FLORIDA POLITICS CLARIFIES 
WITH CLEAR, FAIR REPORTING


Bridges are about connections, hence the word “bridge.”

But a Miami-Dade plan to design a “signature bridge” — an $800 million proposal for rebuilding the I-395 overpass — is doing more to divide than connect.

Adding to the confusion is the Miami Herald, where some argue has been slanting coverage to favor one bidder over another on the Florida Department of Transportation project.


While the Herald has given significant coverage to the I-395 Signature Bridge Project — over 25 years in the making — many facts have not been reported correctly.

Monday, May 22, 2017

THECAPITOLIST.COM TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT 395

Miami Herald Coverage Demonstrates Lack of Objectivity 
Over Signature Bridge Contract


Nobody ever wants to be on the losing end of an $800 million competitive construction bid. 

Nobody, that is, except the Miami Herald In this new era of “fake news,” the Herald has made a grand entrance with a series of slanted and error-filled news stories used to underpin a sanctimonious opinion piece written by the newspaper’s editorial board. 

The coverage exposes the Herald’s clear editorial slant against the winning bidder on a”signature bridge” project slated to begin construction in downtown Miami.

Nevermind that the winning bidder scored the highest overall among all competitors based on aesthetics, price, technical proposal and time to build. The Miami Herald would have you believe the company proposed the lowest-scoring bid.

Nevermind that the Florida Department of Transportation has made every single document about the project publicly available online. The Miami Herald would have you believe the process was secretive.

Nevermind that there were nine different public hearings just to discuss the aesthetics of the project and the meeting minutes from every meeting are available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The Miami Herald would have you believe there is lack of local input.

Nevermind all of that, and so much more. Because the Miami Herald Editorial Board has decided to stick its collective nose in the middle of what is now a disputed contract award. Oh, sure, the Herald’s editors go out of their way to allege this was a “back room deal” but that they are unconcerned about that, only about the selection process, which they argue was “far from transparent or inclusive.” 

How the Herald’s editors reach that conclusion can be better understood once some light is shed on the Herald’s previous coverage of the bridge project.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

A SIGNATURE BRIDGE AND DYNAMITE URBAN DESIGN AT GROUND LEVEL -- BORN OF UNPRECEDENTED COMMUNITY INPUT

THE WINNING 395 BRIDGE AND URBAN DESIGN WINNING TEAM PROMISES GREATEST HOPE OF RESTITCHING HISTORIC OVERTOWN'S FABRIC IN DECADES




Honored to have played even the smallest part on a big team that based its design -- of bridge and 50+ acres of urban space below -- on the community.

Countless meetings with the real leaders and impacted people in Overtown, Omni and beyond.

A trio of architect-designers reflective of the community and rooted in Overtown for decades.

Urban Designers I worked with day and night, losing sleep worry about addressing the every want and need of the community while progressively sewing the fabric of Overtown back together. 

This design triples the amount of space for urban activity by far exceeding FDOT's minimum standard. 

It nearly doubles the amount of sunlight and fresh air that will shine on a reconnected Overtown, compared to the runner-up team. 

I have been involved in public affairs journalism-public service-and working with consultants that serve as an extension of public sector staff for nearly 40 years. 

Never have I covered as a reporter, worked on as an elected official's staffer or contributed to as a consultant....a project built so much on community input. 

Unprecedented public involvement on a grass roots, almost door-to-door level.

View the community-based Aesthetic Master Plan

Review context-sensitive design in the Aesthetics Manual

Saturday, May 20, 2017

FDOT Selects Archer Western-de Moya for I-395 Revitalization

THANKS COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS FOR THE FAIR REPORTING
TO CLARIFY, PLUSURBIA DESIGN WAS THE LEAD DESIGNER FOR THE
55 ACRE HERITAGE TRAIL. WE WORKED WITH DESIGNERS
REFLECTIVE OF AND ROOTED IN THE OVERTOWN COMMUNITY


By Julie Caputo, Community Newspapers

After a lengthy and extensive 3-year RFP process, today FDOT selected the Archer Western- de Moya Joint Venture team to rebuild I-395 and construct an iconic “Bridge for the Ages” that will redefine Downtown Miami and its connection to Miami Beach.

“We are very thankful and humbled that we were selected by FDOT today on this once-in-a lifetime project.   For many years, I-395 has served as a symbol of divisiveness in our community.   It is time I-395 is replaced with an iconic project that brings our neighborhoods together rather than set them apart from one another,” said AJ de Moya, Vice President of The de Moya Group.

When designing this bridge, Archer Western – de Moya Team had three primary goals in mind: 1) Alleviate the extreme traffic problems on I-395; 2) Connect the Overtown community with the Biscayne Boulevard and Downtown neighborhoods, and 3) Provide an iconic bridge that will be a signature for Miami. To accomplish these goals Archer Western – de Moya went above and beyond in their planning process.

For starters, their traffic engineers worked tirelessly to address the significant traffic congestion issues on I-395.  Some of the unique congestion relieving design features include the double decking of SR 836 (“The Viaduct), the addition of a lane on I-95 northbound, and an additional lane on the 836 eastbound ramp to I-95.   As a result, the Archer Western – de Moya design was voted #1 unanimously over other competitors in the area of traffic benefits by FDOT.


Another standout feature of the Archer Western – de Moya proposal is a design that not only reconnects the community by roadway, but also revitalizes the connectivity of Overtown through a 55-acre “Heritage Trail” beneath the new I-395 stretching from I-95 to Biscayne Boulevard.



Thursday, May 18, 2017

PLUSURBIA HONORED WITH VISIT AND RECOGNITION

FROM MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSIONER XAVIER L. SUAREZ


PlusUrbia was gratified to welcome Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez to its studio this morning. 

Commissioner Suarez presented a Proclamation recognizing PlusUrbia Design and its partners for being honored with the American Planning Association's National Award for Economic Development Planning, the highest achievement in our profession.

Thank you Commissioner Suarez for taking the time to visit our office and sharing your vision of a prosperous, transit-rich, well-planned Miami.




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CURBED MIAMI PUBLISHES BEAUTIFUL IMAGES OF HERITAGE TRAIL AT 395 SIGNATURE BRIDGE

KUDOS TO THE EDITOR FOR PRINTING UPDATE WITH ARCHER WESTERN-DE MOYA GROUP STATEMENT ON VAST PUBLIC INPUT + FDOT RULES BEING FOLLOWED TO THE "T"



“The idea that there was no public input is inaccurate. The Aesthetics Review Committee (ARC) in the RFP was put together as a result of the Settlement Agreement and actually gave the local public an unprecedented role in FDOT’s procurement (never done before), actually giving the ARC the exclusive role of shortlisting the bridge designs and also scoring the final round of proposals.

The settlement agreement did not give the ARC the authority to score proposals and only gave them the ability to "advise" FDOT on the scoring criteria, which they did, and the bridge designs. Audrey Edmonson of the County Commission actually chaired that ARC and is a local elected official who saw and, along with three other Committee members, scored all the proposed designs.


The idea that FDOT manipulated the scoring is absurd. They actually gave the ARC more authority than was ever afforded under the RFP and followed the RFP to the "T". One has to only read page 15 of the RFP to see that the ‘manipulation’ argument is on its face absurd and the process followed correctly.”




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

55 ACRE HERITAGE TRAIL PLANNED UNDER ELEVATED SIGNATURE BRIDGE

PLUSURBIA DESIGN'S WORK FEATURED IN THE NEXT MIAMI


Downtown Miami could soon be getting a 1.2-mile long community space called Heritage Trail underneath I-395.

According to the winning proposal for the Signature Bridge selected by FDOT last week, a 55-acre space will be created. The new trail will “stitch” together the surrounding communities that were once divided by the construction of I-395 and I-95.

The bridge will be elevated up to 44 feet higher than the minimum requested by FDOT in order to create an open area underneath.

Some of the features along the 1.2-mile trail will include:

Several multi-purpose plazas, with sculptures and artwork and amphitheater
Interactive fountains and water features
An urban Tropical Rockwood Hammock forest
Market plaza with food and craft spaces and music performances
Pedestrian Bridge to connect across railroad tracks
Dog park, playground, multi-use courts, and outdoor training equipment
Construction is expected to begin in late 2017, barring any delay caused by a bid protest.


PlusUrbia Design created the plans for Heritage Trail.


http://www.thenextmiami.com/1-2-mile-heritage-trail-55-acre-park-planned-elevated-signature-bridge/


Monday, May 15, 2017

URBAN DESIGN AT GROUND LEVEL OF 395 SIGNATURE BRIDGE IS KEY TO RE-LINKING OVERTOWN

URBAN DESIGN TEAM WORKED WITH ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS REFLECTIVE OF AND ROOTED IN OVERTOWN WHILE GATHERING AN UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT OF COMMUNITY INPUT


If you want to see urban design born of unprecedented community input, visit the 395 bridge site at FDOT and click on the links of the selected team's Aesthetics Master Plan and Aesthetics Manual. 

I played a small role in this, editing some text, focusing some context and serving as a sounding board to brilliant, conscientious designers who worked all night and through weekends to capture the essence of the Overtown and Miami community. 

They worked with designers reflective of and rooted in the community.

They agonized over designs, to ensure they reconnected the fabric of a community torn apart by highway designs of more than a half century ago. 

This was an almost spiritual undertaking, to involve the true leaders and impacted people of Overtown and its surroundings. 

The community created the winning signature bridge and urban design.


View the community-based Aesthetic Master Plan

Review context-sensitive design in the Aesthetics Manual

Sunday, May 14, 2017

THE DAY I BARED MY DISABILITY


Wearing Nothing but Eyeliner and Pearls



By Heidi Johnson-Wright

Disrobing in a dusty, boarded-up hotel for a complete stranger didn’t bother me. But when the cops showed up, I have to admit it got a little weird.
But before we get to that, let me tell you a little about myself. I was born non-disabled. 

Then one day when I was 8 years old, I awoke and could barely raise my left arm. Pain – deep, sharp and gnawing — had settled into my shoulder. I found it baffling. My parents dismissed it as one-too-many handstands. They were sure it would go away. But days turned to weeks turned to more than a month, and my pain only grew worse. The tomboy who used to climb trees as well as any of the neighborhood boys was earthbound.

Rheumatoid arthritis hijacked my entire body, from my jaw down to my toes. Over the next five years, the arthritis roared like a freight train: catastrophic, unstoppable. I lived with severe pain every day. No drug or therapy had any effect. By high school, my shoulders, hips and knees were destroyed. The summer before I turned 16 – while my friends were getting their drivers’ licenses – I had both of my hips replaced.

During my adolescence, I had no one to talk to, no manual to consult about not only becoming a woman, but a disabled woman. The only time my body was discussed was in the context of medical treatment. Life as a patient meant a lot of disrobing and examinations. I felt like an inanimate object to be stared at, poked and prodded by docs, nurses, X-ray techs, PTs, etc. In fact, my arthritis clinic was used to teach medical students.

One time when a particularly cute male med student was observing, my doctor commanded me to walk down a hallway so he could observe my gimpy gait. While strutting along the “catwalk,” I felt a breeze behind me. I ignored it and made my turn, walking back toward the group of white lab coats. Then more breeze. The gown was coming untied, I was certain. I could feel it gaping open to reveal my granny panties. My face grew hot with embarrassment. Adolescent girls’ diaries should be inscribed with purple prose about secret unrequited crushes, not about the shame of being used as a visual aid while wearing a hospital gown.

And body shame was my constant companion for years. I used to think acceptance was an all-or-nothing thing: you either accepted something completely or not at all. I eventually learned that it’s much more layered and complex than that. Even after I thought I’d accepted my disability, I still felt pressured to pass as non-disabled. I forced myself to walk when I should have used a wheelchair. I tried to hide my scars. I was hesitant to let others know when I couldn’t physically do something. I felt ashamed simply for being different because different meant inferior.

Full story and fully nude photo at the Mighty -- follow link here



Saturday, May 13, 2017

PLUSURBIA HONORED WITH RECOGNITION FROM THE CITY OF MIAMI

COCONUT GROVE-BASED FIRM RECOGNIZED 
WITH THE "OSCARS" OF URBAN DESIGN



Thank you Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell for the proclamation at this morning's Commission meeting recognizing PlusUrbia Design and its partners for being honored with the American Planning Association's National Award for Economic Development Planning, the highest honor in our profession.




Friday, May 12, 2017

FRENCHMAN STREET


NEW ORLEANS

The oldest and best-known section of Frenchmen Street is in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, just downriver from the Vieux Carré.

This area was once the plantation of Bernard de Marigny a wealthy Creole and political leader of old New Orleans. He exemplified the Creoles of his day, with his joie de vivre — a keen enjoyment of living.

In 1806, he had his property subdivided and developed as a neighborhood.
Many of the houses in this area are over 100 years old; some are much older.

The Frenchmen Street entertainment district began developing in the 1980s.

As Bourbon Street became more tourist-focused, Frenchmen emerged as a spot for locals to party, as it was more geared toward authentic New Orleans musical and gastronomical tastes.

Residing on some of the highest ground in the city, Frenchmen Street survived Katrina relatively unscathed.


Following the catastrophe, the street was officially designated a city arts and entertainment district; its notoriety increased when it was patronized by people who went to New Orleans to help rebuild, and by visitors who sought authentic local music.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

MORE THAN 130,000 READERS

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO VISIT THIS SITE


The circulation of this blog has equaled that of the last daily newspaper I worked at.

Well, that's a bit of marketing, as my readership is a total of more than 130,00 unique visitors of the years.

The big city newspaper's readership is daily -- but it's the same readers each day.

So in terms of total exposure to different minds, we're equal.

And my blog is read worldwide.

The vast majority of the newspaper's subscribers and readers are only in Ohio.


Whenever the blog meets some amazing milestone -- we also have now posted more than 1,500 stories -- we like to give our followers a treat.

The total word count for all those posts, would fill more than 4 average-sized nonfiction books.

Nearly 1,000 original images, shot by yours truly around the globe, have also been posted.

The images here are of Barataria Preserve, west of New Orleans.

That's your treat for reading today's post.






Monday, May 8, 2017

WORDS OF WISDOM AND PAIN FROM THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS


PHOTOGRAPHED ON ST. CLAUDE AVENUE, JUST NORTH OF THE BASCULE BRIDGE


I am a white male, born into every opportunity this land affords.

And I take zero offense at those who call the presidency a white supremacy nation.

I don't know how else to evaluate the vast majority of the GOP -- in the White House, Senate, Congress.

These people were born in to far more wealth and privilege than I ever was. 

And instead of using that natural advantage to level the playing field for those not born with 10 silver spoons, they have ganged up against anyone considered a minority by any definition.

I am sick to my stomach, disgusted.

I sit here with a roof over head, car in the drive, food in my belly, work that challenges me to be creative.

But I feel like this must be what it was like before the Nazis took over Germany, the Fascists Italy and KKK the South and beyond.

As a person who voted for Obama twice, and if anything my only small criticism was he didn't use his superior brain and quick wit more to push a progressive agenda farther, I am truly shocked of the backlash at a black man in the White House.

I knew we still had problems...but when he won two terms...I quite foolishly thought maybe we were turning the corner on equality and fair play.

I was dead wrong.

It wasn't a couple people hiding in the boonies, seething with hate.

It was upwards of half of this nation.

It is heartbreaking.

It is, without resistance, enough to break the spirit.

But that's what Trump and his brotherhood of bastards want.

So we must channel our fears into hope.

We must challenge this regime -- or things will get worse then when a person of color could "pay" for a sideways glance with the loss of life via lynching.

And that, cannot be our America.


It cannot be anyone's America.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

ORLANDO CAT CAFÉ


CLERMONT, FLORIDA

By Heidi Johnson-Wright

This month, I had the joy of visiting the Orlando Cat Café.

It is a partnership between Axum Coffee and the Animal League.

Here, you can enjoy a delicious latte and macaroons while you visit and play with sweet kitties in search of forever homes.

The cost of $8 per hour per person helps cover the cost of spay/neuter, vaccinations and vet care so each kitty is healthy and ready for a new family.



They also sell cute jewelry and trinkets with proceeds going to the Animal League.

So if you’re passing through Orlando, check it out.

Who knows, you might take home a new fur angel!



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Thursday, May 4, 2017

HISTORIC VILLAGE SUPPORTS SMART GROWTH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

VIA MODERN FORM-BASED CODE CREATED BY PLUSURBIA DESIGN

The historic Village of El Portal adopted a visual and user-friendly zoning document known as a form-based code. Created by Miami’s PlusUrbia Design, the code will preserve El Portal’s picturesque residential enclave while creating room for economic development on land annexed to the Village. The development site, east of the FEC railroad tracks near Biscayne Boulevard, is slated for properly-scaled mixed-use development that will create jobs, services and tax base.

The Village Council voted unanimously to approve the form-based code. PlusUrbia, which also serves as the Village’s consultant planning and zoning department, translated the vision created by the Village during its 2013 Charrette into a predictable code. The new code takes a holistic and contextual approach toward zoning in the village of 2,300.

Major investors are considering development plans for the 12-acre site on the eastern edge of the Village that is a former trailer park. PlusUrbia’s code will ensure that the major development does not encroach on the single family residential portion of the village. That leafy enclave has long been sought after for its tranquility and small town character.

PlusUrbia will improve the Village by creating standards that will make the NE 2nd Avenue corridor more walkable with incremental mixed-use redevelopment. The top priority is to encourage moderate growth while protecting the peaceful residential neighborhoods on either side of the corridor.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

MICHELLE OBAMA TALKS ABOUT GOALS, AVOIDS TRUMP


DURING KEYNOTE CONVERSATION AT AIA 2017 ORLANDO

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel:

Former First Lady Michelle Obama made no mention of the man who replaced her husband as president during her first post-White House speaking engagement Thursday in Orlando and appeared to rule out seeking office in the future.

“It’s all well and good until you start running, and then the knives come out,” she said. “Politics is tough, and it’s hard on a family … I wouldn’t ask my children to do this again because, when you run for higher office, it’s not just you, it’s your whole family.”

“Plus,” she added, “there’s just so much more we can do outside of the office, because we won’t have the burden of political baggage.”


Obama participated in a 45-minute Q&A during the American Institute of Architects’ annual conference at the Orange County Convention Center on Thursday. She spoke about adjusting to life after the White House and discussed her goals for the future and causes she hopes to support.

“One issue that I am excited about continuing to work on is … to help young girls get an education around the world,” she said, citing the Let Girls Learn initiative she launched as first lady. Obama also stressed the need to combat violence against women and improve their access to healthcare.