Elements of Urbanism: Boca Raton

May 25, 2009 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A brief photo tour of downtown core of Palm Beach County's second largest city: Boca Raton

Tale of the Tape:

Boca Raton Population 2007 city/ 2008 MSA: 85,407 (City); 5,414,772 (Miami Metro) - (incorporated in 1925)
Jacksonville Pop. 2007 city/ 2008 MSA: 805,605 (City); 1,313,228 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1940: Jacksonville (173,065); Boca Raton (723)

Metropolitan Area Growth rate (2000-2007)
Boca Raton (Miami): +8.09%
Jacksonville: +15.86%

Urban Area Population (2000 census); 2007 estimate

Boca Raton (Miami): 4,919,036 (ranked 5 nationwide) - 5,423,311
Jacksonville: 882,295 (ranked 43 nationwide) - 1,042,079

Urban Area Population Density (2000 census)
Boca Raton (Miami): 4,407.4
Jacksonville: 2,149.2

City Population Growth from 2000 to 2007
Boca Raton: +10,643
Jacksonville: +69,988

Convention Center Exhibition Space:

Boca Raton: There is no convention center in Downtown Boca Raton
Jacksonville: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center (1986) - 78,500 square feet

Tallest Building:

Boca Raton: Boca Raton Club Tower - 300 feet (not located downtown)
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 617 feet

To view images of Boca Raton Club Tower:

Urban infill & Connectivity obstacles:

Boca Raton: The nearest Tri-Rail commuter rail station is four miles Southeast of Downtown Boca Raton.
Jacksonville: State & Union Streets cut off Downtown Jacksonville from Springfield.

Boca Raton: Mizner Park.
Jacksonville: East Bay Street, located between Main Street and Liberty Street.  This four block stretch is home to four bars and clubs.

Common Albatross:
Both communities are located in a State that favors suburban sprawl over sustainable development.

Unique Boca Raton

  • Listed on early maps as "Boca Ratones", many people assume the name is simply translated to "Rat's Mouth."
  • The City was the southern home of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) from 1965 to 1996.
  • Due to a strict development code, no car dealerships or billboards are allowed within city limits.
  • According to Forbes, Boca Raton has three of the ten most expensive gated communities in the U.S.
  • According to MessageLabs, Boca Raton is the "spam capital of the world."
  • Once called "the only coastal city in Florida where there are more sharks on land than in the water" and described as the "Capone-Chicago of cyber fraud."
  • Notable residents, past and present include Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Capriati, Cris Carter, Chris Evert, Jeff Gordon, Marilyn Manson, Vince McMahon, Greg Norman, Mark Richt and Pete Rose.



Mizner Park

Completed in 1991, Mizner Park is a 398,000 square foot suburban lifestyle center located just north of the downtown core. Besides upscale shops, Mizner is comprised of rental apartments and offices. The Centre for the Arts is a cultural center on the north end of the development, with an amphitheatre and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The art museum, Robb & Stucky Interiors (formerly Jacobson's), and a Sunrise Cinema are the anchor stores. Cooper Carry designed the architecture of Mizner as a Mediterranean revival town center.

Previously, the site of Mizner Park was home to a conventional enclosed mall called Boca Mall, which opened in 1974. Originally anchored by Britt's and Jefferson Ward, the shopping center was hurt by competition of Town Center at Boca Raton.

The Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency, formed in 1980, played a significant role in conveying redevelopment on the site, in addition to other major sections of downtown.  Mizner Park has significantly aided downtown revitalization.



Photos by Ennis Davis

Elements of Urbanism from around Florida:
West Palm Beach
Fort Lauderdale & The Beach
St. Petersburg
South Beach