Not all great streets are the same, said Coral Gables-based planner and Best Block juror Victor Dover.
Building heights dont necessarily matter, either. Great blocks can be found from Times Square on one extreme to the modest scale of New Orleans French Quarter or Key Wests Duval Street.
Many urban designers like Gonzalez believe a moderate to mid-rise scale is best. In his experience, he said, what works best are building lots from 50 feet to 150 feet wide, and buildings of two to 10 stories, with a variety of businesses on the ground floor like cafes and shops, and on the upper floors offices or residences, including hotels.
A great block would be one that all of us would like to live, work, play and learn on, Gonzalez said.
But its not inconceivable that a great block could be found in a skyscraper district, if built with an orientation to the street at the base, like in many sections of Manhattan. Some experts say pedestrians hardly notice anything beyond four or five stories above their heads.
Beyond that, there are the intangibles: A certain vitality. A feeling of intimacy. That the block be memorable in some way, Dover said.
And it must possess that elusive yet essential quality: a sense of place that is distinctive, that expresses something about where the street is and the culture that produced it.
In sum: The best block in South Florida ought to be a place you come to time and again, not just because you have to, but because you cant stay away.
To enter the contest, go to www.MiamiHerald.com/bestblock and tell us why your block is the best one in South Florida, along with a photo or short video of your neighborhood. There will be 3 photo cash prizes, and 3 video cash prizes totaling $3000. Judges will choose an overall winning block from all the submissions and hold a block party in its honor.