Vision, Courage + Urgency=Success

Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin's viral video disrupted an entrenched industry.

Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin’s viral video disrupted an entrenched industry.



A sense of urgency.

If you want to succeed as a city or a business, you need all three.

Two out of three, just won’t cut it. All three traits are non-negotiable.

Unless of course, you don’t really want to succeed; if you want to pay lip service you can skip one or more of the aforementioned and you’ll fool a few people but you won’t get anything done.

Vision is a big word, but it can be as simple as an idea or as complicated as a breakthrough innovation. I think it also requires a particular mindset: you have to be aspirational and you have to know where you want to take things.

Examples of vision, courage and urgency abound.

Dollar Shave Club sold this month to Unilever for $1 billion.

Fueled by a clever viral video, Dollar Shave Club took a simple idea—make it easy to buy cheap razors and solved a painful problem. Razors are expensive and they are often kept under lock and key in the pharmacy. Blades are inconvenient to buy and ridiculously priced. But Dollar Shave Club made it easy, they had the courage to go up against industry giants and they had a sense of urgency to make it happen. To learn more visit:

A small (but growing fast) hot sauce company I’m involved with also has a simple idea. We think the market leader is old, tired, vinegary, watery and doesn’t taste good. So we created Tabanero, using premium ingredients and a complex recipe that we believe tastes great. We are a long way from a billion dollar exit, but we just gained placement at Publix, Sprouts, Lucky’s and all the big food distributors. We are on our way. We have a vision, we are fearless and we are peddling as fast as we can.

Same with another company we are heavily involved with; Celsius which seeks to disrupt the beverage industry which is filled with iconic giants such as Coke and Pepsi. But Celsius is a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks and seeks to capture a market that doesn’t want aspartame, sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives. The Celsius team has courage, belief and a tremendous desire to seize the day. Working with people who exhibit these traits is an energizing experience; pun intended.

That mindset translates to cities as well.

Delray’s vision was simple: revitalize a town that had good “bones” and make it a desirable to place to live, work and play.

Now mind you, ‘live, work and play’ is not a revolutionary idea. Thousands of communities have adopted that mantra—but if you look closely only a few had the courage and the sense of urgency to make it happen.

Why? Who knows?

But you can bank on resistance to progress, long lines of protesters, lawsuits and election challenges if you try and make change.

Delray had the courage to do it anyway. And leadership also had a sense of urgency and a desire to take advantage of good economic cycles. Some may call it making hay while the sun shines.

Boca had a vision too. Consider Mizner Park for example. They were challenged, but they persevered and got it done.

Pittsburgh saw its steel mills close but had a vision to reinvent their economy around medicine, education and robotics. Their sense of urgency in doing so was important because without a wholesale reinvention, the Burgh would have sunk into the ooze.

Last week, I got a call, (I won’t say from who) other than he was a property owner who is concerned that Delray has lost its vision and sense of urgency. The guy is not a household name per se in Delray, but he’s owned some strategic pieces over the years. His identity is really not important.

It’s not the first call of this nature that I have received. Mostly, the calls are laments that complacency has set in, political divisiveness too and that the economic cycle may be closer to the end than the beginning and that we didn’t make hay, in fact we chased the hay away.

Yeah, I know development is controversial. And for good reason a lot of times. Some of it, maybe even most of it, can be generic, lacking in imagination, poorly designed and more of the same old, same old.

But that can be fixed. Architects, developers and designers can be and should be challenged to do better.

It’s possible to make places people friendly and to design spaces that complement or improve their surroundings.

Some cities have created design studios to help ensure that projects are the very best they can be.

When famed new urbanist architect Andres Duany came to Delray for a town hall lecture, one of the first things he said was that cities should never make developers and architects guess—they should engage with projects early in the process and shape them so that they enhance the built environment.

Legendary former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley felt that mayors were the primary architects for their cities and had a responsibility to make sure that each project was as good as they could possibly be. Now, truth be told, there are limits. After all, most mayors, including Riley, are not architects or designers, but if they take the time they can learn enough to help make projects look and feel good.

FAU’s Abacoa campus used to have what they called a Florida Public Officials Design Institute, which sadly became a victim of budget cuts. It was a great program; it helped me a lot on the original vision for the Congress Avenue corridor and ideas for the four corners of Military Trail and Atlantic Avenue.

Nationally, there is a Mayor’s Institute for Civic Design which has a stellar reputation.

But there are limits too, I admit. There are property rights and if a developer, with his or her own risk capital wants to build a certain building they have a right to do so—as long as they follow the rules.

Still, most developers I have met are open to being challenged and open to design ideas, if as Duany notes, you engage them early– before they spend big bucks on plans they will be reluctant to toss in the trash.

Mix is important too. I agree with the lament about endless condos, even though I am a firm believer in the need for– and wisdom of –downtown housing if we are to have safe and sustainable urban cores.

But charmless boxes are just that—city codes should encourage good design, varied styles and features that please the public.

But talking about design is a very different conversation than the ones we typically have, which is usually about chasing development away or pretending that we can prevent change. We shouldn’t do the former and we can’t do the latter, even if we wanted to.

We should be talking about design and the very real challenge of how to allow cities to evolve without losing their essence, uniqueness and charm. We should also be talking about mix—how can we encourage cool uses and what’s missing in our community—i.e. workforce housing, co-working, boutique theaters, studio space etc?

That would require vision.

In order to achieve the vision, you need courage.

And in order to drive change, you need a sense of urgency.

If nobody’s waking up every day with a burning passion to make a difference, it tends not to happen. And those communities, businesses and organizations that do have a burning desire will clean your clock before you even know what happened to you.

#Motivation Monday: Quotes That Make You Think


At, we love quotes. Here’s a few we hope you’ll enjoy with some limited commentary.

“People make cities, and it is to them, not buildings that we must fit our plans.” – Jane Jacobs

“Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how.” – Edward T. McMahon, the ULI Fellow not the Prize Patrol guy.

“I have affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighborhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who would have embraced community policing.

“What is the city but the people? “- William Shakespeare

“He who tells the truth must have one foot in the stirrup.” – Old Armenian proverb

“A leader is someone who cares enough to tell the people not merely what they want to hear, but what they need to know.”  – Reubin Askew. We met Gov. Askew once, he was so very impressive.

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra not, we repeat not, referring to Atlantic Avenue.

“How is a village a village? By including young & old, white & black, rich & poor, churches & shops.” – Anonymous.

“How many of you here think housing should be more affordable? (almost all hands rise) OK, now how many of those own your own home?’ (most of the same hands stay up) OK. How many of you want the value of your own home to go down? (lots of blank looks, and hands creeping down) You see the problem?” – Anonymous

“NIMBY reactionaries don’t stop change in the long run. They simply help to insure that it happens in the worst possible way.” – David Brain. Note his last name.

“The second shortest code in the world: Diverse, walkable and compact.”—Peter Calthorpe

“Anyplace worth its salt has a ‘parking problem’- James Castle. You’d rather have one, than not.

“Increasingly, we live in a world where cities compete for people, and businesses follow. This trend has largely been ignored by many cities, which are still focused on business climate and tax incentives. But I think the big question businesses will ask in the years to come is going to be ‘Can I hire talented people in this city?’ Cities need to be able to answer ‘yes’ to succeed.” -Carol Coletta. Carol worked on the Delray Cultural Plan. She’s amazing.

“Parking is a narcotic and ought to be a controlled substance. It is addictive, and one can never have enough.” –Victor Dover. Mr. Dover is a fan of Delray Beach. We are a fan of his work.

“The problem with planning is that it has been overtaken by mathematical models… traffic, density, impact assessment, public costs etc. discarding common sense and empirical observation.”—Andres Duany.

“I’ve always described Density in terms of dollars: The more you have of it, the more you can buy with it — referring to amenities, of course (cultural, entertainment, dining, etc.). When I get asked what’s the single most important thing that can be added to a city to help revitalize it (they are always waiting for the latest retail or entertainment thing…), I always say housing. “  Seth Harry.

“If buildings are beautiful, higher density compounds that beauty. Conversely, if buildings are ugly, then higher density compounds that ugliness.” – Vince Graham

“What kills a city are people who want only low taxes, only want a good deal and only want cities to be about . . . pipes, pavement and policing. “ Glenn Murray. It’s all about design, not numbers.

“You can measure the health of a city by the vitality and energy of its streets and public spaces.” – Holly Whyte.

“The opposite to bad development is good development, not no development.” – Padriac  Steinschneider.

“If you are an elected official lacking in courage and leadership, and you face even a peep of opposition to a project, fall back on perfectionism to find a flaws so that you can shoot down the project. Perfectionism leads to paralysis.” Dom Nozzi. It also leads to disinvestment, a bad reputation, loss of jobs and lawsuits.



Quotes for Urbanists

We have 52 of them.

We have 52 of them.

At Your Delray Boca, we like lists and we love quotes. Here are 50 quotes, plus two bonus quotes that fit into the local zeitgeist at the moment. Enjoy. Courtesy of Quotes for Urbanists, a fascinating collection.

  1. In a 20 mph collision, 4% of pedestrians die, 30 mph is 55%, and 40 mph is over 80%.”– AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. Handy for the next time somebody complains about making US 1 safer.
  2. “Factors that are driving the popularity of large houses: First, with less of a sense of community and public life in our culture, the home becomes a fortress which needs to contain everything we need, including multiple forms of entertainment, rather than basic shelter.” –John Abrams, battle cry for community building.
  3. “A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” Douglas Adams. A good reason why you don’t design public policy to guard against foolish elected officials.
  4. “How is a village a village? By including young & old, white & black, rich & poor, churches & shops.” Anonymous
  5. “How many of you here think housing should be more affordable? (almost all hands rise) OK, now how many of those own your own home?’ (most of the same hands stay up) OK. How many of you want the value of your own home to go down? (lots of blank looks, and hands creeping down) You see the problem?” – Anonymous
  6. “A teacher fills a bucket with big rocks and asks the students ‘Is this bucket full?’ They all answer yes. Then she takes gravel from a pile hidden behind her desk and fills in around the big rocks until the bucket is full again. Now, with the same question, some students aren’t quite so sure. She repeats the same with sand, and then with water. ‘What’s the lesson? ‘She asks… The smaller stuff can always fit around the larger stuff, but if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in.” Anonymous. And a good reason not to major in the minor.
  7. “The suburb fails to be a country side because it is too dense. It fails to be a city because it is not dense enough”. Anonymous
  8. “Suburbia is a collection of private benefits and public nuisances.” Anonymous
  9. “A specialist is someone from out of town.” Anonymous
  10. “A community has to have the capacity to envision a future they want, and not just the one they are likely to get.” Anonymous
  11. “Placing surface parking lots in your downtowns is like placing a toilet in your living room. “ Anonymous
  12. “The goal of the city is to make man happy and safe.” Aristotle
  13. “Downtown is the antidote for boredom.” Daniel Ashworth
  14. “A leader is someone who cares enough to tell the people not merely what they want to hear, but what they need to know.” –Reuben Askew. Met him once at a Leadership Florida event. He was wonderful.
  15. “Long before I was struck with cancer, I felt something stirring in American society. It was a sense among the people of the country—Republicans and Democrats alike—that something was missing from their lives, something crucial. I was trying to position the Republican Party to take advantage of it. But I wasn’t exactly sure what ‘it’ was. My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society was what was missing in me: a little heart, a lot of brotherhood…. Love each other a little more, care about each other, and get away from that [dirty, negative] kind of politics.”- Lee Atwater. Empathy, my friends. Empathy.
  16. “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. “ Sir Francis Bacon. In other words, don’t be so sure of yourself.
  17. “All of the old-timers knew that subprime mortgages were what we called neutron loans: they killed the people and left the houses. The deals made in 2005 and 2006 were going to run into trouble because the credit pendulum at the time was stuck at easy. “Louis Barnes. Wonder if some of these eye popping commercial deals will make sense in a year or two.
  18. “No urban area will prosper unless it attracts those who can choose to live wherever they wish.” Jonathan Barnett
  19. “If car ownership is mandatory, [the place is] not urban.” Donald Baxter. South Florida, we’ve got a long way to go.
  20. “In the desire to be collaborative, don’t forget leadership. Don’t be embarrassed to lead. There are too many efforts where it’s all about ‘getting everyone to the table.’ Everyone goes away feeling good, but no one’s doing anything. “– Frank Beal. At some point, you have to make a decision. Solicit input from a wide range of people and then do the right thing, as Spike Lee would say.
  21. “Neighborhood activism is a path to political power in American cities today, and city halls are filled with former activists more sympathetic to the social agenda than to the physical agenda. “Steve Belmont
  22. “The rigid, isolated object is of no use whatsoever. It must be inserted into the context of living social relations”—Walter Benjamin on codes. Flexibility and high standards build great towns!
  23. What gets us into trouble isn’t what we don’t know; it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” –Yogi Berra, who would have been a great city councilman.
  24. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra talking about Atlantic Avenue?
  25. “The most destructive force I continue to see is the grafting of suburban types… building-lot configurations, street types, landscaping, public works, open space… onto urban settings. This has fueled the destruction of the city as well as frustrated the construction of new urban places.”—Chuck Bohl, a brilliant placemaking thinker.
  26. “Bureaucracies to be effective must move slowly and deliberately, in the manner of planets and vegetables”— Jorge Luis Borges
  27. “Those who buy into the suburbs because they want to be close to nature are going to keep doing so. The point of parks in cities is not to satisfy that urge, but to make better urbanism for those who want real urbanism.”—David Brain
  28. “NIMBY reactionaries don’t stop change in the long run. They simply help to insure that it happens in the worst possible way.”—David Brain
  29. “It is the adaptable, not the well-adapted who survive.” Ken Boulding
  30. “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.”—Mel Brooks. As long the mistakes aren’t fatal or repeated and you learn something that’s Ok.
  31. “The most intrinsically green buildings are those that already exist. This is because constructing a new building consumes 15 to 30 times the building’s annual energy use. Reusing it after its original purpose is obsolete makes an old building even greener, because the new purpose does not require a new building.” David Brussat
  32. “Cars are happiest when there are no other cars around. People are happiest when there are other people around”—Dan Burden
  33. “We must not build housing, we must build communities.”—Mike Burton. Do we even talk about building community anymore?
  34. “The second shortest code in the world: Diverse, walkable and compact”-Peter Calthorpe who is so great.
  35. “Anyplace worth its salt has a ‘parking problem’.”—James Castle. Corollary: Want to solve your parking problem, build a place nobody wants to visit.
  36. “Planning of the automobile city focuses on saving time. Planning for the accessible city, on the other hand, focuses on time well spent.” Robert Cervero
  37. “Convivial towns can offer solace in disaster, solidarity in protest, and a quiet everyday delight in urban life…Creating and revitalizing places that foster conviviality is essential to the good life.”—Mark Childs
  38. “I’ll tell you what I want for Christmas. I want the Planning Commission and the mayor and the county Legislature and the county executive and all our decision makers to get on a plane and go to Charleston, S.C. I want them to walk around and see why that city works, and what can be done with wonderful planning, and how developers… if you do it right… won’t run away.”—Lonnie Chu. I’m heading there next week to talk at the Riley symposium, I won’t wait for Christmas.
  39. “Vancouver killed the freeway because they didn’t want the freeways to kill their neighborhoods. The city flourished because making it easier to drive does not reduce traffic; it increases it. That means if you don’t waste billions of dollars building freeways, you actually end up with less traffic.” Rick Cole
  40. “Increasingly, we live in a world where cities compete for people, and businesses follow. This trend has largely been ignored by many cities, which are still focused on business climate and tax incentives. But I think the big question businesses will ask in the years to come is going to be ‘Can I hire talented people in this city?’ Cities need to be able to answer ‘yes’ to succeed.”-Carol Coletta, author—along with our citizens–of Delray’s cultural plan, a good plan indeed.
  41. “We have too much legislation by clamor, by tumult, and by pressure.” Calvin Coolidge. Cal was really saying don’t give the squeaky wheels the grease every time, unless of course they are right.
  42. “Elected officials, community leaders and intellectuals must cease encouraging the untenable belief that there is an inherent American right not to be offended.”—John Coski. Sometimes the bridge goes up, construction happens, life goes on.
  43. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than knowledge.” –Charles Darwin.
  44. “Parking is a narcotic and ought to be a controlled substance. It is addictive, and one can never have enough. “Victor Dover, a fan of Delray Beach.
  45. “The problem with planning is that it has been overtaken by mathematical models… traffic, density, impact assessment, public costs etc. discarding common sense and empirical observation.” -Andres Duany…hmmm….weren’t we supposed to get a form based code?
  46. “We have legislators who think it their duty only to listen to the people instead of becoming expert on the subjects which they must decide upon.”—Andres Duany. Listen to all, but learn, so you know whose advice to take.
  47. “The loss of a forest or a farm is justified only if it is replaced by a village. To replace them with a subdivision or a shopping center is not an even trade.” –Andres Duany. Losing the Ag Reserve is tragic.
  48. “Higher density housing offers an inferior lifestyle only when it is without a community as its setting.” -Andres Duany
  49. “With infill, start by providing for those who are not risk-averse (singles, Bohemians, etc.). These people are the urban pioneers”—Andres Duany. Are we pricing our pioneers out in Delray and Boca?
  50. “The Department of Transportation, in its single-minded pursuit of traffic flow, has destroyed more American towns than General Sherman”—Andres Duany. DOT almost killed Atlantic Avenue in the 80s with a hurricane evacuation plan. Thank goodness, leadership at the time stopped the widening.
  51. “The Department of Transportation (DOT) typically keeps the public at bay by having only two phases for their projects: Too early to tell and too late to stop.” Ernest Fitzgerald. Isn’t this the truth?
  52. “Power corrupts, but so does weakness and absolute weakness corrupts absolutely.” Josef Joffe.

Water Cooler Wednesday: Dear Mr. Duany We Like You…But


Andres Duany: Provocative and intriguing

Andres Duany: Provocative and intriguing


You know it’s a great lecture, when one minute you want to hug the speaker and the next minute you want to slug him.

If that sounds a little dramatic, well then we suggest you check out Andres Duany the next time he’s in town.

We caught him earlier this week, when he appeared as the kick off speaker at Mayor Cary Glickstein’s new Town Hall lecture series at the Crest Theatre.

A large crowd of locals and Duany disciples filled the seats to hear Duany opine about cities, urbanism, the perils of planning and the ills of suburbia. It was quite a show.

Duany delivered with a nearly two hour presentation that must have touched on 100 ideas ranging from parking rules (cities should chuck them) and density (stop worrying about it) to height (4-6 stories is not tragic) and aesthetics (we’ll never agree so stop fighting about it).

Duany provokes. Duany cajoles. Duany insults and Duany praises (Delray has done a pretty decent job so far, he says).

The takeaways:

  • We are no longer a village and we’ll never again be one. There are too many people, it’s too busy and it’s too expensive. We should get over it.
  • We are on our way to becoming a town.  But we’ll never be a city.
  • Urban centers should stop trying to be suburban because inner cities will never be able to out suburbanize suburbia, so stop trying. Antiquated parking regulations lead to bad projects and bad, even vulgar urbanism because the urban fabric gets eaten up with parking lots. As for garages, if you build them, locate them a block or two away from projects to force residents or office workers to walk to their cars and therefore discover that they are indeed in an urban environment.
  • The approval process for development is deeply flawed.  Residents can’t win. And neither can developers, because they are forced into an unpredictable and expensive process which forces them to spend money on the wrong things leaving no funds for spending on the right things like better materials and design.
  • Don’t force developers and architects to guess. Mayors and city officials should meet with them to discuss design early  in the process.
  • Traffic is bad, but slow moving cars are good.
  • On street parking is good, because parked cars protect pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Cities need to invest in bike/ped friendliness because Millennials aren’t into cars and healthy cities need to attract that demographic.
  • Small dwelling units can drain your tax base.
  • People don’t like change, because they don’t trust that change will benefit them. Too often, change hurts.
  • Height and density…tired arguments. Don’t worry about height, worry about width and frontages. Buildings shouldn’t be monolithic and their entrances should relate to the street. Note to Atlantic Avenue retailers: ditch the dark glass, nobody can tell if you’re open.

    I can go on and on…like I said Duany is a fire hose of ideas and beliefs.

    So why did I want to hug him? Because he’s smart and provocative and he’s not afraid to speak his mind.

    He’s also right about the development process, it’s a no-win situation often featuring a low-level of discourse, a point that Mayor Glickstein also emphasized in his remarks. We need to raise the level of discussion over the future of our cities (or towns) from the age-old “change is bad, traffic is bad, developers are greedy, not in my backyard” narrative to a discussion of how we want our communities to look and feel. That is not to say you ignore issues such as traffic, but it does mean that we should also consider what is needed to keep our communities competitive, vibrant and healthy. Unless you live in Colonial Williamsburg, change is going to come. It should be managed and desirable. Ideally, the process should respect private property rights and the public realm. Town planning should not be a zero-sum game with winners and losers, but rather an uplifting experience that creates win-win scenarios. In other words, developers should be able to make money and the public should expect quality projects that enhance the community.

    Our Downtown Master Plan was an attempt to do just that.

    And it worked.

    At least in my opinion.

    The plan attracted downtown housing, restaurants and other forms of investment and it also introduced the concept of design guidelines and an expanded downtown to run from I-95 to A1A.

    It also gave us a gateway feature, flexible parking regulations to encourage investment and ideas that encouraged economic development and better circulation (opening the one-way pairs to two-way traffic was one such idea). It led to the redevelopment of Northwest/Southwest Fifth Avenue and even attempted to improve race relations.  It also championed the narrowing of U.S 1 to slow traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and friendlier for local businesses. Business suffers when people are zooming past your downtown on the way to the mall or big box.

    Most of the plan has been implemented, but the job is not yet complete. There is much more to do.

    And here is where I disagree with Duany.

    Of course, I would never slug anyone but I was more than mildly offended when he (and my dear friend the mayor) suggested our codes were antiquated and deficient.

    I doubt that we would have enjoyed a downtown renaissance if our codes were terrible. In fact, I take a lot of pride in our codes, which encouraged investment and gave us a vibrant Atlantic Avenue.

    Can they be better? Sure.

    Do they need to be constantly looked at and monitored? Absolutely.

    Can they be replaced with something even better? Yes…. perhaps. But many people who worked on those plans and codes will need further convincing before we agree to major surgery. Which is why an attempt to scrap conditional use has been met with resistance from several city advisory boards. They know that conditional use has enabled the city to make some good projects happen while also giving policymakers the flexibility to turn down bad projects.

    There is no need to fix what isn’t broken, just a need to improve what could be better or what is no longer working.

    When we adopted the Downtown Master Plan in 2002, after an exhaustive and thoroughly satisfying and fun public process, we emphasized that plans were living and breathing documents that should be frequently reviewed, scrutinized, critiqued and amended to meet changing conditions, community desires and market conditions. In other words, the conversation should never end, we should always be talking about how we can improve our town.

    That’s what planning should be about, not just regulation or rigidly clinging to rules, but an ongoing discussion and an assessment of where your community is and where you want to see it go.

    Did we do that?

    For awhile yes and then it stopped and that’s why I applaud Mayor Glickstein for kick starting the conversation.

    But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some kick butt policies, codes and ideas that are worth saving from what has been nearly 30 years of planning and charettes in Delray starting with the Atlantic Avenue Task Force in the mid 80s all the way through the various Visioning exercises to the Downtown Master Plan in 2001-02 and the Parks Plan in 2005.

    Again, our success isn’t an accident.

    I do think we are a village, so sorry Andres. I think we are a bustling and vibrant village, but we are a village nonetheless, compact and charming with a strong sense of place and community.

    Duany and Mayor Glickstein are proponents of a form based code, something I looked at when I was mayor a few years back.

    There is a lot to recommend in a form based code and it certainly makes for a more orderly and faster approval process.

    But before we make wholesale changes, I would hope we would engage in a serious and broad community discussion—like we did for the Master Plan.

    Because while the codes need to be looked at (especially parking), there is a lot of good stuff in there.

    Duany earned a hug when he acknowledged some of the good work done since the 80s in Delray —at the tail end of his presentation. I loved his ideas on broadening public participation and his suggestions on how to do that. (More on those ideas in a future column).

    Regardless, kudos to Mayor Glickstein for an ambitious effort to raise the level of discourse on these important issues.

    It was a memorable evening and one educational too…and it sure beats watching “The Voice.”


New Urbanism Guru in Delray Tonight

Andres Duany is in Delray tonight for a free lecture at the Crest Theater.

Andres Duany is in Delray tonight for a free lecture at the Crest Theater.

Do you love cities?
We do.

If you love cities and are interested in hearing what the future holds, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein invites you to attend a free lecture, tonight, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Crest Theatre, 51 N. Swinton Ave.

Visionary architect Andres Duany, known world- wide as one of the fathers of “new urbanism” will offer a provocative talk entitled “A Century For Cities – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.

The talk is part of a new series of town hall meetings curated by Glickstein who recently held a session on the state of education in Delray. Last week, he announced an ambitious lecture series that will feature top thought leaders on a variety of subjects ranging from parking and smart growth to urban design and transportation.

All lectures are free.

Duany is a particularly compelling figure. Along with his wife, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Duany is a pioneer in the new urbanist movement which essentially calls for a return to some of the traditions of early American towns—town squares, compact development, walkability and yes the dreaded word, density.

New urbanism was developed as an answer to suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment.

One of Duany’s signature projects is Seaside, Florida in the Panhandle. The picturesque community has earned widespread acclaim for its architecture and pedestrian orientation. Critics say it wasn’t dense enough and therefore wasn’t sustainable economically. As a result, Seaside has become a popular vacation and second home destination, but the community doesn’t have the economies of scale to support a true, live, work, play lifestyle.

Regardless, it’s influence has been immense and several communities strive to mimic Seaside’s stunning design.

Duany is a founding principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company which has designed over 300 new towns while also working on regional plans and community revitalization projects. Their codes have been adopted throughout the world.

Duany has lectured internationally and is the co-author of three books including his most recent on smart growth. He is a founder of the Congress of New Urbanism and has won several prestigious awards for his architecture and planning work.