Excellence in small city planning

Source: kidstoparks.org

Source: kidstoparks.org

I had the honor last week to vacation in Brevard County, Florida. Of all the communities of this dynamic county, the City of Cape Canaveral immediately stood out as exemplary in its community planning efforts, particularly in regards to land use planning, active/alternative transportation, as well as economic and environmental sustainability.

Nestled on a narrow peninsula, the City of Cape Canaveral occupies approximately 2.3 square miles and contained 9,912 residents in 2010. The instant you enter this charming community, you notice how much its citizen care about their 50-year-old community. It is also evident in their impressive 2009 Visioning Statement (see below):

Cape Canaveral Vision Statement

We envision: A bike-able and walk-able Cape Canaveral that retains and enhances its residential feel, characterized by low-rise buildings not more than 4 stories in height. This residential and business friendly atmosphere is one of a live-able, attractive, safe, secure, and sustainable coastal community that embraces the beach and riverside as the main amenities, and supports local culture and education.

We envision: AIA as a ‘complete street’ with a native-landscaped and tree-lined median with traffic calming elements and dark-sky street lighting. ‘Complete street’ amenities include bicycle facilities, covered transit stops, and safe pedestrian crossings that invite pedestrians and bicyclists to access the beach, river, local neighborhoods and adjacent communities. Our improved ‘complete streets’ will allow us to travel calmly to intimate waterfront destinations and a walk-able downtown core. Multi-use paths lined with shade trees should be wide enough for bikes and pedestrians and lighted so anyone can walk or bicycle safely anywhere in town, day or night.

We envision: Welcoming community entrance features that create a sense of arrival and unique community identity. The ‘downtown’ and other areas will contain an architecturally rich and unique mix of uses, with wide tree shaded sidewalks and umbrella covered café tables at restaurants and bistros where friends gather, interact, and enjoy drinks and dinner.

We envision: A community that; removes or transforms blighted and unfinished buildings into attractive structures, offers city-wide green spaces, provides a pet-friendly park with ample shade, and actively recruits and supports businesses that enhance economic viability and serve our residents and visitors.

We envision: Open shorelines and rivers accessible to the public including amenities that take advantage of the water, such as limited and quaint water-view establishments and intimate public gathering and entertainment places that may include pavilions, gazebos, or a performance stage.”

“Our Community, Our Future”

Source: google.maps.com

Source: google.maps.com

But, as they say, “the proof is in the pudding,” and the City of Cape Canaveral has succeeded in implementing many of the visioning goals in the past 3.5 years. Below are a series of photographs I took last week while visiting Brevard County that depict just a few of the efforts taking place to incorporate a sustainable vision for the lovely corner of Florida, including:

  • Paved multi-use trails/paths
  • Solar street lights
  • Public beach access
  • Parks and recreational opportunities
  • Wildlife protection
  • Public art
  • Complete streets
  • Streetscaping
  • Community branding and identity

Happy 50th Birthday, Cape Canaveral. Keep up the great work!








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2 Responses to Excellence in small city planning

  1. Rick;
    What an Honor, for our small beachside community to receive this fine article on the benefits
    our residents and visitors enjoy on a daily basis. And especially to be noticed by a Firm
    who is recognized for Striving for Excellence in Small City Planning. If your future schedule
    ever permits an opportunity to be in our area of Florida; please permit me to greet and ‘Thank
    You’ in person. Thank You for visiting our Community. Rocky, Mayor


    • Rick Brown says:

      Dear Mayor Randels,

      Thank you so much for your kind note. The City of Cape Canaveral should be very proud of its planning accomplishments. I greatly enjoyed my second visit to Brevard County and am looking forward to many future visits. When I next plan to be there, I will certainly let you know and look forward to meeting you in person.


      Rick Brown, AICP, CBSP


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