Friday, December 18, 2015

James Dougherty Presented at the Marcel Breuer Doctoral School



James Dougherty, Dover-Kohl’s Director of Design, was honored at the invitation to present on “New Urbanism” at the Marcel Breuer  Doctoral School of the University of Pécs in Hungary.  

James’ presentation focused on the important work New Urbanists are doing to improve peoples’ quality of life by building and repairing cohesive settlements, reducing dependence on the automobile, and improving the environmental performance of our cities and towns. 

The well-received presentation also covered the origins of New Urbanism, key principles of the Movement, and discussion of a wide range of project types being implemented.

Click here to learn more about the Marcel Breuer  Doctoral School.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dover, Kohl & Partners Continues its Work in Albany, NY



In what is proving to be a rewarding collaboration between consultant, the City, and community, Dover, Kohl & Partners is once again at work with the community of Albany, New York. Back in May of this year, Dover-Kohl worked closely with Clarion and the City for ReZone Albany's Warehous District Design Workshop. Dover-Kohl and the City have now turned their attention to the South End community this week. As part of the workshop, members of the public got together in small groups to discuss the community's future and what that could look like. 

Albany’s “South End” is bounded by the City limits to the south, the Hudson River to the east, and following Frisbee Avenue to Empire State Plaza along the west. The South End includes a diverse community with a mix of residential neighborhoods, public and private investments, as well as commercial and industrial areas.  

As Christopher Spencer, Albany's planning director said to us of the overall Rezone Albany project: "We want to have the right rules in place to get what the community is looking for."

Click here to learn more about some of the ideas being discussed regarding the South End this week. 








Thursday, November 12, 2015


Watch three young professionals do a radical thing in this short film, "On Our Wheels," created for WHEELS week, a mega-event spotlighting quicker, cheaper, healthier, more environmentally-friendly ways of getting around. More info at www.wheelsflorida.org

This video was made possible by a grant from Green Mobility Network. www.greenmobilitynetwork.org

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

People on WHEELS



This short PSA shows how folks in greater Miami are using bikes, trails and transit-- and combinations of all three-- to move around without sitting in traffic jams. Created for WHEELS week, a five-day mega-event spotlighting quicker, cheaper, healthier, more environmentally friendly ways of getting around. More info at www.wheelsflorida.org

This video was made possible by a grant from Green Mobility Network. www.greenmobilitynetwork.org

Friday, October 30, 2015

Victor Dover Closes NACTO15 Conference with Great Streets, Great Cities




Dover, Kohl, & Partners is honored to have Victor Dover serve as the closing plenary speaker at this year's NACTO  conference.  The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) is a non-profit association that represents large cities on transportation issues of local, regional and national significance.

This year's Designing Cities conference, held in Austin, Texas from October 28-31, allows transportation leaders and practitioners from across the country to discuss key trends in urban street design and transportation policy. Also, local leaders  can exchange best practices with major city transportation, and private-sector, stakeholders  committed to a common vision toward more vibrant, sustainable cities of tomorrow.

Victor will present "Great Streets, Great City," asking the question 'How can we elevate our cities by creating streets that are not just transportation corridors, but also beautiful and memorable places?' Through his closing remarks, Victor will be share inspiring images and examples from the great cities and boulevards of history. Showcasing the specific design elements that add up to great, inviting streets and cities, he’ll challenge city transportation engineers to expand their role toward moving beyond signage, striping and bollards to thoughtfully create handsome streets that generate civic pride.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dover, Kohl & Partners Participates in Environmental Leadership Summit




The Environmental Leadership Summit is being hosted on the Miami-Dade College Wolfson campus, from October 1 through Saturday October 3. Developed by Tropical Audubon and Earth Ethics Institute, the series of lectures and workshops aim to educate, inspire and empower individuals toward a more sustainable way of life.

Jason King—Vice President and Principal of Dover, Kohl & Partners—was one of the invited panelists for “Live Like You Live Here,” a presentation  within the series that discussed topics such as living between two national parks, green urban design, and smart growth.

Tropical Audubon Society  has been one of South Florida's voice of conservation for over 100 years.  Their mission is to conserve and restore South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats.

Earth Ethics Institute provides resources, workshops, and programs for the Miami-Dade College community that encourage the integration of the knowledge, values and skills needed for a sustainable way of life into all practices and disciplines. The institute fosters an awareness of global interdependence, ecological integrity through biological diversity, and the natural processes that sustain life.

To find out more about the summit, visit the Earth Ethics Institute website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Park(ing)'s on Us--Vehicle not Required!




Come PARK with us this Friday--just you, not your vehicle! Dover, Kohl & Partners is hosting its first parking space, joining thousands of organizations across the country, and throughout the world, Friday, September 18.

PARK(ing) Day calls attention to the need for more urban open space, and helps generate critical dialogue on how public space is utilized and its impact on urban human habitat--at least for the day!

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop on by. We'll be set up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in front of our office, located at 1571 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33143.

For more information about Park(ing) Day, visit parkingday.org.




Friday, August 21, 2015

Float to Work Day in San Marcos, Texas: Promoting Alternative Forms of Transportation


Planners in San Marcos, Texas and Jason King of DKP, took the San Marcos River in to the office today as part of San Marcos’ first annual Float to Work Day: no traffic, free flow conditions, right into the Downtown. DKP is in town to unveil CodeSMTX, a Unified Development Ordinance for the city that will help make San Marcos pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, and more multimodal (in the broadest possible sense).


Learn more about Float to Work Day around the country.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Zoning for Character" Workshops Being Held this Week




Dover, Kohl & Partners’ principal, Jason King, has been leading a series of workshops this week in San Marcos, Texas. These “Zoning for Character” workshops are allowing property owners and residents to learn additional details about the new “character”-based zoning districts and regulating plans being proposed in each of the six Vision San Marcos Intensity Zones.

Beginning in October 2014, the City of San Marcos, Texas and Dover, Kohl & Partners joined by The Street Plans Collaborative, helped re-envision downtown utilizing tactical urbanism—yielding low cost/high gain, long-term change. The Dover-Kohl team effectively engaged the city, the public, and transportation engineers and, in the end, the City of San Marcos presented a recommendation of changes in full detail that were publicized in the SMTX project, ready for permanent implementation.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation—for cities with a population of over 50,000 people—Long Range Planning Efforts, including the Code SMTX process to update the Land Development Code, are necessary steps in helping the City ensure positive growth within its community.

The remaining two workshops will be held today as follows: 


San Marcos Activity Center - Room 2
Thursday August 20, 2 - 4pm
Thursday August 20, 6 - 8pm


To learn more about CodeSMTX and the City's Long Range Planning Road Map , visit their website.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CNU 23 Art-Room Sessions Now Online



Art-Room session videos from this past April’s CNU 23 event are now available online. An engaging and instructive part of each yearly CNU, the Art-Room sessions aim to inform and educate participants in a wide range of topics including techniques, tools, and interdisciplinary themes from illustration to urban design.

Dover, Kohl & Partners’s James Dougherty—a leader in new urbanist design & illustration—has served as both organizer and a presenter of these sessions for the past three years.

The session topics include: “Modeling New Urbanist Building Types in SketchUp,” “Presentation Rendering Techniques for SketchUp,” and “The Art of Courtyard Design.”

You can view the videos here.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Walton Family Foundation Announces Design Excellence Program





A new initiative, the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, was recently announced by the Walton Family Foundation. The foundation aims to promote the highest level of design excellence for public buildings and spaces. 

Victor Dover, principal of Dover, Kohl & Partners, is among the distinguished panel of professionals who form the program’s selection committee. The panel will review the submissions of local, national, and international designers to be considered for future work within the program.

Designers interested in the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program will be able to apply through Sept. 16. The program expects to support up to three projects per year. 

You may read the foundation’s complete release, and also visit http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/design to learn more.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dover-Kohl to Attend the Fly-in Event "Destination Denver"



Dover, Kohl & Partners is excited to be among the invited delegates to attend the Transportation Fly-in event, “Destination Denver.” Jason King, a principal of Dover-Kohl, will represent the firm at this event, collaboratively hosted by The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami-Dade County, and the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust.  As an outgrowth of the recently held 2015 Transportation Summit, the Fly-in seeks to find solutions and study financing options for Miami-Dade’s pressing transit and transportation issues.

During the Fly-in, delegates will meet with political, business and community leaders from Denver and learn first-hand how the area has successfully implemented their transportation vision—the Denver FastTracks program.  FastTracks includes 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, and 18 miles of bus rapid transit implemented through innovative joint development and public private partnerships.

Destination Denver will take place August 5-7, 2015. For more information about the event, and a list of participants, visit:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

In Production: Video Courses on Form-Based Codes




Victor Dover and colleagues were in Los Angeles last week, filming an upcoming series of educational videos for the Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) and Planetizen.  

Victor and Joseph Kohl were co-founders of the non-profit FBCI, which started operations in 2004 and has become a leading think tank and an effective educator on reforming land-development regulations. Form-based codes are an alternative to conventional zoning; they help communities build more of the places people want (and less of what they don’t).

For more information regarding FBCI’s upcoming courses and webinars, visit http://formbasedcodes.org/courses-webinars.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Warehouse District Design Workshop is in Full Swing!




ReZone Albany’s Warehouse District Design Workshop is in full swing. Beginning Tuesday, the workshop opened with a presentation and guided questions to foster community ideas on what the area can become, drawing from examples of renaissance occurring in similar industrial-type areas.

Working closely with Clarion, Dover-Kohl is helping lead this event, and the team is making substantial progress. Throughout the Open Design Studio, held yesterday and continuing today, the community has been stopping by and holding discussions with the planners, and seeing how the potential for change is being materialized through engaging illustrations that capture and further advance this new vision.

“This is the first major public event of the ReZone Albany initiative to redraw Albany’s outdated zoning map,” said City of Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “The public, the planning department staff, and the design consultant [are] working together to draft a vision that will responsibly build upon what already is a fast-growing neighborhood. For a positive vision to be created, and for the Warehouse District to reach its full potential, we need the community to participate.”

The workshop will conclude Friday May 29, where the Work-in-Progress presentation will describe the work that has been accomplished throughout the week by this collaborative effort between the public and design team. This is the first of likely several more future events planned that will focus on 3-5 more areas of the city as part of this initiative.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Warehouse District Design Workshop Begins Today!



Beginning today May 26, Dover-Kohl is leading the Warehouse District Design Workshop, a four-day visioning, zoning, and form-based coding discussion that will inform the City’s ReZone Albany initiative. This workshop will focus on the Warehouse District, gathering input from members of the public in order to arrive at a collaborative solution, with future workshops focusing on other areas within the City of Albany. 

The rezoning and visioning effort is being led by the City of Albany’s Department of Planning, with participation by various other department, boards and commissions, and professionals comprised of responsible, well-known leaders in the community to ensure alignment with existing community and economic-development plans. 

The workshop will be held at  981 Broadway Albany, NY, 12207; and the schedule is as follows:




For more information regarding the City of Albany's rezoning and visioning efforts, visit: www.ReZoneAlbany.com


Monday, May 18, 2015

Victor Dover to Serve as Moderator for the Streetsmarts: 2015 Transportation Summit


Victor Dover will be this year's moderator for the StreetSmarts 2015 Transportation Summit.

The summit is a regional event focused on creating safe, livable, connected, sustainable streets for people of all ages and abilities. The event allows participants to collaborate with elected officials, regional experts, and industry leaders to exchange best practices, share innovative ideas.

Hosted by the City of Fort Lauderdale, the summit will showcase a variety of transportation influencers from multiple disciplines who will host important discussions on topics such as improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, aligning policy, stimulating behavior change, and sharing tri-county successes.

The Streetsmarts summit will take place on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be held at:

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts | Huizenga Pavilion
201 SW 5th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

For more information about the event, visit:
StreetSmarts Summit

Friday, May 15, 2015

Enjoy the Weekend—Mobilizing begins Monday!



Map for Mobile is the first comprehensive planning process for the City of Mobile, AL to be conducted in over 20 years. It is an intense eight-month process to develop a long-range plan that will build off other recent planning endeavors for the city and the region. Map for Mobile will serve as a guide for long-term preservation, revitalization, and growth so that the city can achieve the goals and aspirations of its citizens. 

Dover-Kohl will be leading the Designing the Future Workshop from May 18-21. The interactive, hands-on workshop will focus on design, character, and livability that builds on the ideas communicated by the public during the Focus on the Future Workshop (held on March 30). Throughout the process, the public can drop-in and talk to the team of urban designers as they work in a studio open to the public to translate Mobile’s ideas into plans for better streets, public spaces, and new, walkable centers of community life. 

The complete schedule is as follows:



The event will take place at The Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds - 1035 Cody Rd. North Mobile, AL 36608. Attend one or both programs at 6:30 p.m. on May 18 and 21. You can also stop by during drop-in hours on May 19 and 20. 

For more information, visit MapForMobile.org, or for further questions, please contact Shayla Beaco at 251.208.5894 or MapForMobile@cityofmobile.org


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Folly Road Charrette Begins Tomorrow!


From May 7-13, Dover-Kohl will be leading a team and working with the community to develop a plan for the future of Charleston, South Carolina’s Folly Road Corridor, from Center Street on Folly Beach to the Wappoo Cut Bridge. 

The charrette will kick off with an interactive, public hands-on design workshop, where participants will discuss and draw ideas. The design team will then set up a studio in the corridor where they will work rapidly to synthesize input, draw ideas and create a draft vision and plan. The studio will be open to the public throughout the week for drop-in discussions. Another public session will occur at the close of the charrette where participants will review the draft ideas to give feedback.

The charrette schedule is as follows:




Periodic updates can be found at: BCDCOG.com. In addition to the charrette meetings, interested community members can also participate and continue the conversation online at FollyRoad.MindMixer.com

Monday, May 4, 2015

Dover-Kohl Projects Receive CNU Charter Awards


Two projects that Dover-Kohl participated in received Charter Awards from the Congress for the New Urbanism this week.

Plan El Paso was recognized, as Michael Kelly—director of programs for Paso Del Norte Health Foundation—states, for laying “the groundwork for how to create…a healthier city and region.” Unanimously approved by the City Council in March of 2012, the Plan lead by Dover-Kohl identified new capital projects, new land development policies, a focus on Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a new Thoroughfare plan for the entire City and County, and a form-based SmartCode coding for large sections of the City. Within the first three years of the Plan’s adoption, the city built a new baseball stadium downtown, created parks and renovated public spaces, completed future land-use plans based on the SmartCode, and streamlined permitting for developers using the code. 

Code SMTX in San Marcos, Texas may be one of the very least expensive winners of the CNU Charter awards. For one day in June 2014, the City of San Marcos and Dover, Kohl & Partners, joined by The Street Plans Collaborative, helped re-envision downtown utilizing tactical urbanism—yielding low cost/high gain, long-term change. Among several creative elements employed included converting two blocks of street from one-way to two-way traffic using temporary paint; installation of a temporary two-way cycle track; an adjacent block was closed to create a farmer’s market, and creating “pop-up” parks built onto parking areas. This event kicked-off a week-long charrette by Dover, Kohl & Partners to develop a proposed form-based code. The team effectively engaged the city, the public, and transportation engineers. In the end, the City of San Marcos presented a recommendation of changes in full detail, with correct widths for sidewalks, travel lanes, and on-street parking-everything demonstrated, proven, and publicized in the SMTX project, ready for permanent implementation.

To learn more about the 2015 CNU Charter Awards and complete list of winners, visit:

http://bettercities.net/news-opinion/blogs/robert-steuteville/21569/charter-winners-build-healthier-communities-and-economie

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Urban Design Institute Teaching in Birmingham, Alabama


New Urbanism Design Institute is bringing their on-site training to the City of Birmingham, AL. Based in South Florida, the Institute’s “We Come to You” program provides the opportunity to share its knowledge with diverse communities through on-site training that is adaptive to each municipality's needs, and in every instance the Institute’s members work to build the participants’ urban design capacity.

The New Urbanism Design Institute will be in Birmingham May 4 -8, 2015. For more information, contact the Institute at: designers@newurbandesigninstitute.org







Thursday, April 23, 2015

Victor Dover's Essay "Seven Dials" in New Book by Jared Green



The following is an excerpt of "Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World" by Jared Green, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2015. Save 30% (plus free shipping in the U.S.) when you purchase Designed for the Future from papress.com. Enter promo code GREEN at checkout.


Seven Dials 

VICTOR DOVER

Show how cool it can be to live in the city.

Revitalized historical places are emblematic of a sustainable future. It’s been said that “the greenest building is the one that has already been built,” when considering the embodied energy in the materials that we’d otherwise have to ship, throw away, or reuse in the structure.

The preservation movement began around the idea of protecting places because they are rich in character. We develop attachments to places because of their architecture and feeling, not from their machinery. Historical buildings tend to be low-tech but often feature a smart use
of resources. For example, those old thick walls have thermal mass, which helps 
the building stay cooler on summer days and warmer on winter nights.

Old buildings often have a great building-to-street relationship, too. Their fronts—doors, windows, storefronts, balconies—face the street and the public.

Seven Dials in London is a curious intersection not far from Covent Garden. In the 1600s the developer built it with diagonal streets, which, in plan, vaguely resemble the Union Jack. At the center, the diagonal roads converge, intersecting in a square with a column in the middle.

There are no signature works of architecture around it, and the column is very simple, but there’s a bench at its base, where people gather. There’s something about the size, proportion, and pace of the space; people love being there. The scale feels comfortable, and the intersection slows everyone down. You can watch the human parade go by, on foot, on bikes, in cars.

Seven Dials is preserved as a national heritage site, and as is often the case, historic preservation points the way. If we had more places like it, people wouldn’t need to feel like they’re stuck in their cars. If people felt that good in every city, we’d have a stronger, smarter planet. Once you see the place, you know ideas fly back and forth there.

Seven Dials makes the city a place where you want to be. One no longer needs to retreat from the city to hide in backyards in the exurbs or little houses on the prairie. With this kind of urban living, there are fewer burdens on the planet because there’s no impulse to flee. With more places like Seven Dials, more forests and farmland would be saved.

As Parris Glendening, former governor
 of Maryland, once said, “People hate sprawl, but they hate density more.” But that’s exactly what we need if we are going to create a sustainable future. We need more places that show how cool it can be to live in the city.

Victor Dover is a planner and principal at Dover, Kohl & Partners.


Photo caption: Seven Dials, London; Photo credit: Aurellen Guichard, Creative Commons, Cropped, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/



A copy of the book can be purchased through the following:
   






Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Jason King Speaks on Congestion and Quality of Life


Jason King presented “Congestion and Quality Of Life: Cause and Effect of Poor Planning/Design,” yesterday as part of Miami Beach United’s April 2015 Speaker Series. MBU is a community-based, non-profit organization which aims to provide Miami Beach residents a voice for city-wide issues impacting their quality of life.

Visit miamibeachunited.org for more information about MBU, and its speaker series.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Li Yi to Present Seven50 at the 2015 ESRI User Conference



Li Yi, lecturer at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture, will be presenting at this year’s 2015 ESRI User Conference. Mr. Yi worked in collaboration with Dover-Kohl’s Jason King on the award-winning Seven50 Southeast Florida Prosperity Plan project. His presentation will address the research methodology, scenarios, and variables in producing much of the GIS data on that project, which included the first comprehensive walkability map for the region.

The Conference will take place July 20-24, 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center. For more information, go to: http://www.esri.com/events/user-conference/




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Twenty Questions for Victor Dover


This article was originally written by Lee Stephens and published in the April 14-27 edition of the Cutler Bay News

During the past 10 years or so, the so called “new  urbanist” planning movement has garnered a great deal of national and even international attention. In Florida, many new urbanist communities, such as Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, have become synonymous with sound urban planning.


Victor Dover was one of the early and most fervent proponents of the new urbanism design principles. Today, he remains quite active on the national and international stages.


Despite the best efforts of the county and several municipalities to promote and implement the new urbanist design principles in their land development regulations, local examples of new urban design communities are quite rare. We sat down with him recently to discuss his work and Dover-Kohl’s latest project, Old Cutler Village, 18551 Old Cutler Road in Cutler Bay.

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
Dover: I grew up in North Carolina, studied architecture at Virginia Tech, and then first started my career as an exhibition designer at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Soon, I moved to Miami with my schoolmate and future business partner, Joe Kohl, and we both ended up studying urban design at the University of Miami.

What attracted you to town planning and urban design? 
Dover: Going from living in walkable, comfortable Old Town Alexandria, VA to living near Dadeland, where in the 1980s it seemed you were expected to drive everywhere and it was all unsightly, was a blunt reminder of just how much difference the built environment makes in our everyday lives. We could tell right away South Floridians deserved something better, something more practical, more beautiful. Design matters.

How long has the firm been in business? 
Dover: Dover, Kohl and Partners Town Planning evolved from our first business venture in 1987, and we’re still at it. We were motivated to establish the practice by the idea that if people could better visualize change before it occurs — the essence of planning — they’d make better decisions and build better communities. For about 20 years we’ve also been lucky to work alongside James Dougherty, director of design at Dover-Kohl, and his touch is evident on the new micro-village proposed for Cutler Bay.

What is the typical project your firm works on? 
Dover: We get to work on a big range of assignments, from citywide and regional plans, to revitalization strategies for historic places, to retrofitting suburbia, to new towns, to close-up urban design on small infill developments. These assignments take us all over the country and abroad. Every week, the job’s different.

What are a couple of the projects you are currently working on? 
Dover: Right now we’re planning a big section of Oklahoma City, designing an eco-village for Antioch College in Ohio, writing rules for the reuse of a closed military base on Monterey Bay in California, and designing the Jupiter Inlet Village here in Florida.

What are the central tenets of “new urbanism?” 
Dover: That’s a big subject, but the gist of it is this: How and where we build and rebuild determines whether the resulting town is walkable and connected and inspiring and sustainable, or not. Urbanists advocate for compact, complete, connected communities where people can get to know their neighbors, places where people love to be. The emphasis starts on creating great addresses by design, and that ends up extending into subjects like street layouts, zoning, architecture, real estate, engineering, economics and ecology.

What are some of the benefits of a mixed use community? 
Dover: To start with, when a few more of life’s basic daily needs are close at hand, we don’t have to drive so much. Just a small amount of modest neighborhood-scaled commercial space and some workplaces among the residential development can dramatically shorten some car trips and even eliminate others, replacing them with walking or biking. That cuts traffic congestion, saves time, saves energy, reduces emissions, and makes life more fun.

What are you working on locally?
Dover: Over the last couple of years, we led the effort to create the “Seven50” plan for Southeast Florida. It’s both big-picture and long-term; it lays out prospects for our seven county region for the next 50 years. Lately we’ve been busy writing regulations to control the Mediterranean Village on behalf of the City of Coral Gables, and refining the Old Cutler Village plans.

Tell us about the Old Cutler Village. What is the vision for the project? 
Dover: It’s a micro-village, really, on a very special site well suited for that. It will add a small dose of variety to its surroundings, and it will become a favorite stop along the Old Cutler bike trail. It is designed to have a laidback bed-and-breakfast inn, a café, some townhouses and condominiums, and a little office building, all grouped around public green squares and a nice expansion of the bike trail into a proper linear park. The architecture is inspired by the nearby Deering Estate and it will have an Old Cutler vibe.


Who is the owner/builder?
Dover: The company is called Fortune International, founded by local investor Edgardo deFortuna. He and his partners are known for very prestigious, high-quality residential developments and careful design. This time they get to show their skills with lowrise, low-key, street-oriented development. 

How long have you been associated with Old Cutler Village? 
Dover: We’ve studied this site off and on for nearly a decade. It’s been a worthwhile journey, and I’m glad the owners have been patient, because this last small development could make a lot of difference to the surrounding neighborhood. It will add benefits for everybody through placemaking. 

Is it a good example of urban planning? 
Dover: It’s very site-specific; the design grew out of a really long look at the context and from studying the town’s Old Cutler Charrette documents. It is all about adding a handful of things that will really be good neighbors. The Town of Cutler Bay will get a proud architectural entrance, and the existing sewer pump station will finally be screened from view. The development will add a gentle kind of polish to that part of the Old Cutler Road corridor and boost the surrounding property value, but without undoing the tranquility we all love about the area. We think it will be very popular with cyclists and birdwatchers, too.



Isn’t the land too small for it to work as a mixed use community? 
Dover: Don’t think of it as a standalone community unto itself. It’s going to be a seamless part of the surrounding neighborhood, and will spatially tie the separated subdivisions and parks together. This part of the neighborhood will add some missing ingredients to the mix, give the existing neighbors a new place to walk. I think someday it will show up in the postcard pictures that tell what Cutler Bay is all about, not something isolated and separate.

Will the project be green certified?
 Dover: Yes. Thankfully, Cutler Bay and the developers share a strong greenbuilding ethic, and that is going to be very evident in the village layout and in the architecture.

There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of the proposal on the wetlands restoration project to the east. How are you as the planner handling the interaction with the restoration project? Does the proposal affect any of the wetlands? 
Dover: The whole thing is designed to protect it. It will frame the beautiful views and make those views accessible to the public, to complement the adjacent restoration area and the national park beyond. The little “birding belvedere” tower is to be made open to the public, so people can go up and look at the restoration area at treetop level, without intruding on it. Meanwhile, the development itself is tucked away from the wetlands, and its footprint is kept small, to avoid impacts on the ecosystem restoration. The engineers are carefully controlling every drop of stormwater, too, to insure the restoration area remains healthy.

As part of the design and planning process, did you meet/consult with the area’s residents? Does the proposal reflect their input? 
Dover: Yes. Before we ever put pen to paper on the latest draft, we had really productive, interactive meetings with neighbors. A couple of us spent some weekends going door to door, too, interviewing neighbors one on one. We learned a lot and their ideas are in the drawings. They suggested the small restaurant, for example. Some neighbors seemed to sense immediately that one more gated enclave of cookie- cutter houses would be aiming too low, and they urged a very open, civic-minded design instead. They’re right.

What can be developed on the property today?
Dover: Current zoning would allow for about 30 or 40 single-family detached homes in a 1970s-style, suburban, cul-de-sac format, with backs of buildings up against Old Cutler Road, and no public spaces. That would be a colossal missed opportunity, in my opinion.

Why is the proposal superior to the plan that could be developed under the current zoning? 
Dover: The micro-village proposal will indeed allow for a few more dwellings — about 79 total — and add in things like the 12-room bed-and-breakfast inn. But in the process, the neighborhood also will get more housing variety, deep setbacks from Old Cutler Road, and with the fronts of buildings facing the public instead of the backs. But that’s just the start. The public also will gain open parkland, places to walk along the restoration area and view it, a much better bikeway, the screening of the pump station, some trip-capturing mixed use, and many other benefits.



Do you plan to have additional meetings with the community? 
Dover: Certainly, yes. The next one is Apr. 21 in the meeting room at Palmetto Bay Village Center (the former Burger King Headquarters) at 7 p.m. We’re looking forward to showing the latest drafts and answering questions.

What are the next steps in the approval process? 
Dover: The crucial steps are for the Town of Cutler Bay to confirm that this vision fits within the town’s goals, expressed in their official Comprehensive Plan, and make the necessary adjustments to policies and regulations that will make it possible within strict quality controls and limits. That all will be done with ample opportunity for public comment and input, and the town’s elected leaders will be the decision-makers. Call me wonky, but it’s exciting, and historic; this kind of local control was one reason Cutler Bay citizens incorporated the town to begin with, and this project will be a symbol of the good things that came from that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Victor Dover Speaks at TEDx Coral Gables

Victor Dover was a featured speaker of this year’s TEDx Coral Gables event, “Momentum.”
Victor Dover recently spoke at the TEDx Coral Gables at Fairchild Tropical Garden. To watch a recording of the sold-out event's live stream, go to TEDxCoralGables.org.   Victor's presentation begins at 2:18:30.

Friday, January 30, 2015

WXXI Interviews Victor Dover for NPR's Morning Edition


While in town for the Reshaping Rochester Lecture series, Victor Dover was interviewed by Beth Adams of public radio station WXXI, for broadcast during NPR's Morning Edition. The subject: Street smarts.

Reshaping Rochester, created by Rochester's Regional Community Design Center, focuses on the efforts, strategies and successes accomplished by cities that face similar challenges to Rochester: downtown revitalization, preserving the character of neighborhoods and communities, creating mixed-use centers and walkable commercial districts, and enlisting community involvement.

Listen to the interview below:

 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dover, Kohl & Partners will be in Monterey,CA from February 2-11 2015, working on Regional Urban Design Guidelines for the former Fort Ord. Dover-Kohl is preparing for an extensive public process, with a design consortium, hands-on sessions and four different mobile charrettes through the region. The project team includes a number of experts, including Jeff Speck, Peter Katz, Bill Lennertz from the National Charrette Institute, Alta Planning + Design, and Strategic Economics.

For more information about the project, including dates and locations of events, visit FORA.org/RUDG

Or watch our introductory video: