Urban Planning in Ocoee—Working Together & Winning

Guest blogger Pete Sechler, PLA, AICP, GAI Community Solutions Group Senior Director, introduces a video that reveals the process behind an urban planning and design project for revitalizing the City of Ocoee, FL.

Urban Planning in Ocoee—Working Together & Winning

GAI’s work on the Downtown Ocoee Master Plan won the City of Ocoee the 2017 OUTSTANDING PLAN AWARD from the Florida Planning and Zoning Association, and the AWARD OF EXCELLENCE from the American Planning Association, Florida Chapter.
GAI accepts award for Ocoee, FL Urban Planning
With the American Planning Association, Florida Chapter AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, l-r, Andrew McCown, AICP, GAI CSG Planning Manager; Blake Drury, AICP, GAI CSG Director, Planning & Urban Design; Pete Sechler, PLA, AICP, GAI CSG Senior Director

Successful urban planning, in our view, begins with questions. When the City of Ocoee, Florida came to GAI’s Community Solutions Group (CSG) to collaborate on a master plan to revitalize their downtown, we started by engaging with the community itself.

This is a process we follow again and again in our urban planning and design work. We spend a lot of time speaking with residents, city officials, business leaders, and others. What we discover is that people are looking to create authentic, community-specific experiences that capture their community’s unique flavor, celebrate the best of the community’s history, and optimize community services and accessibility.

We take this feedback and craft a total package that reinforces a distinctive sense of place and improves quality of life for the vast majority of community residents. For the City of Ocoee, a historic rail stop community in Central Florida’s growing West Orange County region, that package includes plans for transportation, streetscape, infrastructure, landscape, public space, residential, and commercial design and development.

The defining goal in projects like the City of Ocoee master plan is to successfully serve the wants and needs of the community. And the breadth of GAI CSG’s expertise means we can help achieve that goal by supporting the urban planning process through the origin, planning, permitting, economic strategy, and construction phases. And while our expertise can guide the community toward making its vision a reality, we’re aware that the definition of a vital, livable, and successful community rises from within the community itself.

The Ocoee downtown master plan has earned awards from the American Planning Association, Florida Chapter and the Florida Planning and Zoning Association. The following video produced by the City of Ocoee beautifully illustrates how our inclusive approach to urban planning yields outstanding results. The video speaks for itself—and while GAI is proud to take part in this and other urban planning projects, our greatest gratification comes from how our work helps communities like Ocoee become more livable, vibrant places.

Contact Pete Sechler, PLA, AICP, 321.319.3126, for more information about the GAI Community Solutions Group’s range of urban planning, landscape architecture and design, and economics and strategy services.

Pete SechlerPeter Sechler, PLA, AICP, specializes in urban design, campus planning, and landscape design projects. His inclusive approach cultivates local involvement in projects, and has helped enhance and improve quality of life in communities including Maitland, Ocoee, and St. Cloud Florida.

Learn More.