Principles of Good Planning from the Miami 21 Zoning Code
Updated: Mar 27
Maybe you want to know why Miami 21, the zoning code for the City of Miami, is such a different code from all the other municipal codes in South Florida. Most codes are mathematical codes and are not much concerned with the physical aspects of the city at all. In the other zoning codes, if you have a large lot, you will get a large building. In the City of Miami Zoning Code, Miami 21, the lot size does not matter. You can have a small lot and build as many stories as your neighbors, assuming you can get the parking requirements for the building in the lot.
One of the items, the city code wants to avoid is the staleness of blank walls as shown on the left. They want a vibrant city as should on the right. No blank walls.
Miami 21 encourages beautiful streetscapes with wonderful trees, good indications for pedestrians, and the parking tucked away so that it is not visible from the street.Miami 21 encourages beautiful streetscapes with wonderful trees, good indications for pedestrians, and the parking tucked away so that it is not visible from the street.
Instead of the commonplace buildings which turn inward, Miami 21 wants to see activity on the street. Entrances should be throughout the length of the building and not just have one entrance to the building from the street. Since Miami 21 encourages multi-use buildings, all the shops should have their individual entrance from the street.
Transit is an important element in Miami 21. The zoning code allows the provision for less parking if the proposed building is near a Metrorail station. And beautiful, walkable streets with vegetation and interesting shop views are important, if someone is being encouraged to use transit. People do not like to walk in front of parking lots or blank walls.
Abandoned or industrial areas of the city which are no longer in use can be revitalized by making the streets more attractive by making the buildings mixed-use, the sidewalks wider and adding vegetation to the streets. New vibrant communities can be established just by incorporating these minor suggestions.
We can create walkable main streets by making the buildings mixed use. When buildings have functions which operate at different times of the day, let’s say retail during the day and residential apartments at night, the streets are much safer. Eyes are on the street at all times of the day and night. By mixing residential and commercial more economic opportunities are encouraged and new housing options provided.
By adding these small details we have discussed, such as trees and entrances for each shop from the street, as well as better sidewalk finishes, we create an inviting place for people and make it more attractive for the entire neighborhood.
Adding well-designed open spaces with vegetation and street furniture can be a place for meeting your neighbors and creating a community.
Adding canopies to the streets and plentiful street parking can make for a more attractive and walkable street.
By hiding the parking garage from the street, the street becomes more attractive and people are more likely to walk in front of the building.
These are some of the good principles for the zoning for Miami 21. Please note, all photos are by the City of Miami Planning Department.
If you want to discuss zoning for your next real estate project, please contact me at 305-439-7898 or email me at MLC@UnitedArchs.com