In Florida, Mike Martirena lives in Miami-Dade County’s Mediterranean-themed Coral Gables, built during the land rush prior to the Depression and one of the US’s first planned communities. Its founder, George Merrick, studied the City Beautiful movement, a late 19th-century approach to urban planning that championed ornamental grandeur. He felt storybook architectural styles inspired by Spanish castles would promote civic virtue and improve quality of life.
Rubbish bins are to be kept out of sight from the street; tree-trimming requires a trip to the town hall due to vigilance around conserving historic banyans and oaks, and advertisements on cars are banned.
“There’s someone who actually goes around on a golf cart to ensure nothing has changed; they fined my mother-in-law for changing a side door,” says Martirena. “It may get frustrating, but it’s what you sign up for in a historic community. It’s beautiful and orderly; there’s something peaceful about that.”