DPZ was founded in 1980 by Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk as an architectural practice. Identifying the deficiencies of the suburban context for their early buildings led to a rediscovery of neighborhood structure and influenced the design of Seaside, acclaimed for its traditional town plan, streetscapes and buildings.
Recognizing the need for an alternative to suburban zoning, the firm proposed a re-integration of urban components with the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) in 1990. The TND became a model regulation for compact mixed-use neighborhood design, informing hundreds of municipal ordinances throughout the country.
With several new communities well underway, Duany and Plater-Zyberk joined contemporaries to found the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) in 1993. CNU’s charter, annual meetings and numerous policy initiatives, are guiding an international movement of sustainable urban growth and community design. The firm’s subsequent initiatives have generated documents that reflect DPZ’s commitment to ‘open source’ – the Lexicon, SmartCode, Transect, Lean Urbanism, Sprawl Repair, Light Imprint, among them.
Today the firm counts over 300 projects built, ranging from individual buildings and small urban infill projects to new communities, regional plans and zoning codes. Over 150 alumni of the firm continue to impact the built environment advancing lessons learned at DPZ.