We can't import Europe's historical character and public spaces to Miami, but we can learn from their examples to make our fair city even better. Here's a compilation of what I've learned in my year long endeavor to curate the best parts of my travel for geeky urban enthusiasts like me!
Places de la Vosges, Paris, Le Marais District.
Here lies the most spectacular public square. I start with this image because it is quintessential Paris, but so simple, that any city adapt it for themselves. Here, a perfect square is visually reinforced by a perimeter of perfectly manicured trees, wrought iron fencing and a wall of charming buildings that frame the outer edges of this public space. The center focal point is a simple fountain around which the entire park is oriented. There is a balance of grass and pea rock which are neatly separated by metal edging. The formula is simple. The trick is the execution and maintenance.
Hotel de Ville, Paris.
Don't take your public spaces too seriously. This majestic public square, built in 1357 (according to Wikipedia) became a beach volleyball court in the summer. Even Parisians need a clever diversion in the summer-- a raison d'être. Why couldn't we have fun public interventions like this one in Miami?
CELEBRATE THE WATERFRONT
This waterfront promenade was built on an industrial river. With space for bicycles, pedestrians, cafes and retail, no one really cares that the river is brown, a byproduct of soil and sediment. In Miami we are surrounded by the most beautiful water with little to no public promenades like this one.