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Florida International University
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FIU Wins Half of APA Florida Gold Coast Planning Awards

On Wednesday, December 9th, FIU students and faculty received three out of the six awards given at the 2015 APA Florida Gold Coast Planning Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Miami Center for Architecture & Design (MCAD).

The Gold Coast Section of APA’s Florida Chapter supports quality development practices, which combine good design and sensitivity to the environment, and which facilitate an improved quality of life. The Gold Coast Section recognized those planners, developers, architects, landscape architects, project owners or other design professionals whose studies or projects exemplify outstanding quality in planning, urban design and development within the Gold Coast area. (Source)

The jurors for this year’s APA Florida Gold Coast Planning Awards were Jerry Bell, AICP and Principal of Bell David Planning Group; Hernan Guerrero, Associate AIA, LEED GA, Project Manager/Town Planner at Dover, Kohl & Partners; Anamarie Garces, MPH, Director of Projects and Community Relations at Urban Health Partnerships, Inc.; and Ephrat Yovel, AICP, Senior Principal Consultant at counterpoint cs. The 2015 Awards Program Chair is Silvia E. Vargas, AICP, LEED AP, Senior Associate at Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC.

Award of Excellence in Student Project Category

FIU LAEUD students Katherine Jarosz and Ashley Maine won the 2015 Award of Excellence in Student Project Category for their design project “Ludlam Trail Storm Water Management” which was developed as part of the Graduate Design 3 Studio course of Associate Professor Ebru Ozer, taught during the fall semester of 2015. This project focuses on solutions to flooding and contamination issues along the Ludlam Trail. The design process considered both subsurface and above-surface qualities at the micro-scale in designing mitigation techniques. By overlaying and finding connections between hydrology and geology, the identity of habitats and land composition became apparent. Different techniques were used to tell the story of each site and to tailor methodologies to manage and remediate problems.

Honorable Mention Award in Student Project Category

FIU LAEUD students Daniela Cifelli and Teresita Garcia, who were also part of Professor Ebru Ozer’s Fall 2015 Graduate Design 3 Studio, won the Honorable Mention Award in the Student Project Category for “Rethinking Miami Transport.” This FIU LAEUD project explores design scenarios to improve bicycle and pedestrian use, increase connectivity, provide recreational opportunities and catalyze positive and sustainable development in neighborhoods adjacent to the Ludlam Trail. The project calls for the development of a holistic platform that provides a better way of transportation along the trail and offers a sustainable approach to reconcile our infrastructure demands with the recovery of the natural environment. The project introduces a customized version of the Bike-monorail prototype known as “The Shweeb,” which was originally designed and implemented in Rotorua, New Zealand as a leisure attraction.

Award of Excellence in Grassroots Initiative Category

Along with her students, Associate Professor Ebru Ozer was also recognized during the APA Florida Gold Coast Section’s 2015 Award Ceremony. “The Friends of Ludlam Trail (FOLT),” of which Professor Ozer is a board member and with which her design collaborative firm LandscapeDE is a partner, was given an Award of Excellence for work on the Ludlam Trail project. The Ludlam Trail is a proposed 6.2-mile linear park that would transform Miami-Dade County. Occupying an abandoned section of the Florida East Coast railway, the park will contain community gardens and a trail that will provide a safe dedicated and direct route for cyclists and pedestrians to schools, parks, work, and shops. The trail will connect more than 34,000 people within a half-mile, walkable service area to five greenways, five schools, four parks, and two transit hubs. Ludlam Trail 2020: From Grassroots to Treetops is on exhibition now at the Coral Gables Museum until January 2016. The exhibit features Trail history, images, and designs for future use and is curated by Tony Garcia, Friends of The Ludlam Trail. (Source; CARTA News, October 2015)

The Gold Coast Section (GCS) is a nonprofit professional organization which serves the members of APA, APA FL, and the Section residing within Miami Dade and Monroe Counties. The goal of GCS is to promote high-quality professional growth opportunities, as well as fun networking events for planning professionals in the geographic area served by the Section and in South Florida in general. GCS strives to provide a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and experiences and a vehicle for Section members to develop and express positions on issues affecting the quality of life in our region. As an organization, one of its roles is to increase public awareness and understanding of the planning process and profession, as well as the benefits that both can bring to South Florida communities. GCS support planning throughout the State of Florida by participation in local, regional and State affairs, and work in concert with other organizations of like purpose to foster and achieve mutual goals and objectives, including the provision of CM-approved programs and opportunities. (Source)

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