Coral Gables, Florida

Enter the Neighborhood

Coral Gables is a city of approximately 42,000 residents, southwest of Miami. It was one of the first planned communities in America, and, according to Wikipedia, is "notorious for its aesthetic regulations." However, according to South Florida historian Arva Moore Parks, between the 1940s and 1993 many of the original regulations from the 1920s were dropped and the Spanish (Mediterranean) style became optional (albeit incentivized with height bonuses in the downtown area).

From the City History page of the Coral Gables city website:

"[Coral Gables founder] George Merrick drew from the Garden City and City Beautiful movements of the 19th and early 20th century to create in 1925 one of the nation's first fully-planned communities. Incorporating secluded residential enclaves and commercial areas inspired by the architectural style of the Mediterranean, Merrick envisioned a City that would offer every amenity to its residents and at the same time would become a center for international business. In every respect, Merrick's dream has come true.

"The same principles that made Coral Gables a success at its inception guide the City's current policies. The community's and the City's emphasis on protecting the residential sectors, preserving the natural environment and maintaining an international flavor are all long-standing traditions.

"In addition, in 1973 Coral Gables was one of the first cities in Florida to adopt a Historical Resources Ordinance, creating a Historical Resources Board and establishing a procedure for local landmark designations. Since then, the past has also been preserved in the form of buildings - significant either because of their architecture or because of the historic events or important figures associated with them."

Codes in Real Life will look here at a small part of the oldest residential section of "The Gables," as the city is often called.

More historical and planning information may be found in the University of Miami 2002 Coral Gables Charrette Report. Download the report here.

 

Alcazar Avenue in the "Spanish Architectural Type District" (1930 ordinance) just west of downtown

Miracle Mile in downtown Coral Gables