Firm Profile

Fifth Avenue in Naples by DPZ
A street festival attracts a leisurely crowd to the DPZ-designed Fifth Avenue in Naples, FL.

DPZ Philosophy

We believe great places add to the sum of human happiness. DPZ designs economically and environmentally resilient communities that foster physical and social well-being.

DPZ creates benevolent urban places in the form of cities, towns and neighborhoods, which encourage walking, diversity and complexity. Our projects generate the physical framework for a fulfilling human existence. Safe, pedestrian-friendly streets encourage people to walk in and interact with their built and natural surroundings. A well-designed public realm, including “third places”, where people hang out beyond home and work, facilitates the creation of social networks and affiliations. Recent studies correlate the impact of the physical environment on human health and well-being. DPZ's built projects show that, given the choice, people enjoy living in sustainable communities. People seek out our neighborhoods instead of suburban enclaves because they are environmentally responsible, and because they promote fulfillment and well-being.

We love to share. Giving away our ideas allows others to create happiness and forces us to raise the bar. DPZ regularly appears in the news, delivers keynotes, spearheads movements, and earns awards because we share. We actively encourage all members of our firm to generously speak about and publish their ideas and experiences in the field.

DPZ founding partners, Andres Duany & Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.
DPZ founding partners, Andres Duany & Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.

DPZ's History and The New Urbanism

DPZ was founded in 1980 by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to replace suburban sprawl with neighborhood-based planning. At the time, Duany and Plater-Zyberk were founding partners of the still vital firm, Arquitectonica, renowned for its playful condominium towers on the Miami coast (yes, that condo with the big hole in the middle that appeared in Miami Vice was a design of that firm). However, a serious concern began to grow within both young architects, who struggled with how the individual buildings they designed did not relate in any meaningful way to the cities surrounding them. This concern soon evolved into the team finding ways to design environments in which the placement of individual buildings made sense in an urban context and held less importance than the spaces between them.

View of Seaside FL
View of Seaside, Florida. At the time of construction, it was the first traditionally designed town in the U.S. in over 50 years.

After establishing their new firm, they began developing what would become the guiding principles of smart, sustainable development with the landmark project of Seaside in the Florida Panhandle. This now famous resort “village by the sea” on Florida’s Gulf Coast won worldwide praise as the first traditionally organized new town designed in over 50 years.

Shortly thereafter, Duany and Plater-Zyberk co-founded the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), a non-profit organization established with the goal of transforming the built environment from ad-hoc suburban sprawl towards human-scale neighborhood development. The CNU has been recognized by the New York Times as “the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years”. The term New Urbanism was a conscious invention to bring attention to the crisis of ad hoc suburban development, and to propose a less wasteful alternative to sprawl.

The universal principles of the New Urbanism movement promote the creation of real communities with pedestrian-oriented, transit-ready neighborhoods. These neighborhoods encourage mixed uses, and allow the landscape to shape their streets. The movement, initially called “neo-traditional” planning, has grown to broad application and acceptance. Its principles project a sustainable quality of life that competes with the conventional suburban dream.

DPZ Experience

DPZ has designed the largest number of New Urbanist projects, and we have the record for the most built. When being considered for work we say: ‘Don't come see us until you have seen some of our built projects.’ As anyone can talk a fine game, we have examples of virtually every type and scale. We know why they succeed, and we are very conversant in what can go wrong in a project. We say our clients are not allowed to make anything but innovative mistakes.
DPZ Charlotte Streetcar Illustration
Illustration of a proposed streetcar system in downtown Charlotte, NC.

Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company is a leader in planning, urban design and architecture, with over 300 inner city and greenfield projects from architecture to regional plans. Our contributions to planning, design and regulations are widely recognized for their excellence and influence on making walkable urbanism, complete neighborhoods, and resilient regions all over the world.

Our master plans and design codes are currently being applied to sites ranging from 10 to 10,000 acres throughout the United States and abroad. DPZ has prepared master plans for developments in the Philippines, China, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, the UAE, Egypt, Scotland, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Russia, India and Turkey.

Galina Tachieva Reinvent Phoenix
DPZ Partner, Galina Tachieva, delivers a closing presentation, walking the public through a series of proposals created by the design team at a charrette earlier that week.

Our firm's partners are renowned for their rigorous study of design history and the contemporary application of traditional techniques in planning, urban design and architecture. Over the years, the original partners became six, after taking on Galina Tachieva, Marina Khoury, Senen Antonio and Matthew Lambert. The DPZ partners and staff play key roles in the CNU, and they are skilled in managing the public process of design, including the deployment of the charrette, a concentrated working session that assembles professionals and decision-makers to produce informed plans and practical solutions.

We work with an array of consultants, some of whom are the best at what they do. We also remain on good terms with a large number of former employees, so we can expand the office easily to meet impossible deadlines. We have always been efficient, and have become more so in the Lean Years since 2008. Coincidentally we are writing a book on Lean Urbanism.

DPZ Xavier Iglesias
Senior Project Manager, Xavier Iglesias, gives University of Miami architecture students a guided tour of the DPZ office and project drawings.

DPZ is a teaching office with graduates from the University of Miami School of Architecture. There has been a close relationship between DPZ and the School of Architecture, since Andres Duany began teaching in 1974, but particularly during the 18 years that Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk was the Dean (1995-2013).

The New Urban principles for planning and urban design underpinning DPZ's work align with many of the strategies advocated by the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. DPZ participated in the development of the LEED standards for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), the first national standard for environmentally sustainable neighborhood design and master planning. DPZ has also developed the Light Imprint Initiative, a comprehensive development approach for sustainable civil engineering practices calibrated across the Transect.

Call us

Miami, FL: 305-644-1023
Washington, DC: 301-948-6223
Portland, OR: 305-644-1023
Berlin, Germany: 49 30 2693293