South Dade Planning Charrette

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As a result of the devastation in South Florida caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Innovation Committee of We Will Rebuild sponsored a three-weekworkshop in November of 1992. Architects and engineers worked with government officials, members of civil organizations, local residentsand academicsfrom local universities tocreate plansfor rebuilding South Dade communities devastated by the storm. The resulting charrette was a join effort with the University of Miami Schoolof Architecture, Florida InternationalUniversity School of Design and Miami Chapters of the American Instituteof Architects, American Society of LandscapeArchitects, American Planning Association, and professionals who volunteered.

The goal of the New South Dade Planning Charrette was to project a vision of a new South Dade that would reflect its unique character, respond to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, and address pre-existing problems of the area while taking into account the recommendationsand opinions or professionalsand residents.

The charrette teams assessed two main components initially:

1. Major damage caused by Hurricane Andrew.

2. Identification of urban problemsexisting in South Dade prior to the storm.

Thorough analysisthrough multiple methods identified 33 distinct communities in South Dade, with only two being incorporated municipalities. The lack of central governingstructure in these subcommunities was acontributing factor to the slow relief efforts in the wake of the storm. Case studied proposed that each of these communities be provided its own community center. At a minimum, these community centers should consist of a public square and meeting hall. Apart from the community aspect, these centers could be hubs for information, shelter and supplies in the event of an emergency such as a hurricane. The concept of the providinga community focus is fundamental in recreation of sustainable neighborhoods and contributes to social identity. Case Studies repeatedly illustrate how successful community centers can transform a community for the better.

The South Miami Heights Neighborhoodboundaries are from South West 168thStreet to Black Creek Canal and the Florida Turnpike and route 1 to 127thAvenue. The initial Case study was led by Suzanne Martinson with the encouragement of Janet MacAililey, who was the Chair of the Board of Miami Dade Public Schools at the time. Hurricane Andrew destroyed an elementary public school in a stable, moderate income, single family neighborhood. Adjacent to the school were an abandoned HUD housing project, a destroyed apartment complex, undevelopedpark land, and undeveloped land zoned medium density totalingapproximately 58 acres. The need to rebuild Caribbean Elementary Schoolwas the catalyst for the rebuild of the 57.65 acres.

The charrette,inits quest to develop a new masterplan for the area focused on the following goals:

1. Rebuild the elementary school as a full service school and communitycenter.

2. Renovate the destroyed apartment complex of 102 units.

3. Develop housing on the vacant land adjacent (213 units).

4. Replace HUD housing withan intergenerational facility to house elderly and abused single mothers with children.

5. Design gateways to define the borders of the community and a town center in itscommercial center.

6. Redesign 117thAvenue as linear park with landscape improvementsand redevelop other parks in the area.