Recommended by the American Architectural Foundation:
Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz’s New Book, Miami Transformed

Former Miami Mayor and 2009 AAF Keystone Laureate Manny Diaz has written a new book detailing his experiences in Miami as a city leader who used community engagement (coupled with innovative design) to help transform his city. He is an alumnus of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, served as a delegate to the National Mayors Summit on City Design, and has participated in several AAF design leadership forums. 


Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time

“Manny Diaz was a great mayor, and he will go down in history as one of our country’s most innovative urban leaders because he put progress before partisanship—and because he never stopped asking, ‘Why not?’ His legacy will be defined not only by a soaring skyline but also by cutting-edge policies that made Miami a national leader on urban issues.”     —From the Foreword, by Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Six-year-old Manuel Diaz and his mother first arrived at Miami’s airport in 1961 with little more than a dime for a phone call to their relatives in the Little Havana neighborhood. Forty years after his flight from Castro’s Cuba, attorney Manny Diaz became mayor of the City of Miami. Toward the end of the twentieth century, the one-time citrus and tourism hub was more closely associated with vice than sunshine. When Diaz took office in 2001, the city was paralyzed by a notoriously corrupt police department, unresponsive government, a dying business district, and heated ethnic and racial divisions. During Diaz’s two terms as mayor, Miami was transformed into a vibrant, progressive, and economically resurgent world-class metropolis.

In Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time, award-winning former Mayor Manny Diaz shares lessons learned from governing one of the most diverse and dynamic urban communities in the United States. This firsthand account begins with Diaz’s memories as an immigrant child in a foreign land, his education, and his political development as part of a new generation of Cuban Americans. Diaz also discusses his role in the controversial Elián González case. Later he details how he managed two successful mayoral campaigns, navigated the maze of municipal politics, oversaw the revitalization of downtown Miami, and rooted out police corruption to regain the trust of businesses and Miami citizens.

Part memoir, part political primer, Miami Transformed offers a straightforward look at Diaz’s brand of holistic, pragmatic urban leadership that combines public investment in education and infrastructure with private sector partnerships. The story of Manny Diaz’s efforts to renew Miami will interest anyone seeking to foster safer, greener, and more prosperous cities.


Manny Diaz served as mayor of Miami from 2001 to 2009. He was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is currently a senior partner at Lydecker Diaz, a real estate law practice in Miami, Florida.

Michael Bloomberg is currently serving his third term as mayor of New York City.

Publication Date: Nov 1, 2012
ISBN 978-0-8122-4464-9 | Cloth | $29.95 | £19.50
World Rights | Public Policy

Saunders Robinson


Share | Print
Posted in: Civic Leaders + Government, Community Engagement, Design Leadership, Economic Development, Keystone Award, Print, Public Spaces, Sustainability, Sustainable Cities Design Academy

The American Architectural Foundation has been dedicated to advancing the role of architecture and design in American society since its founding in 1943 by the American Institute of Architects.

In its 75 years in existence the Foundation’s work has taken many forms — from educational programming and exhibitions in its early years to large-scale design initiatives and programs —all of which serve to create a rich legacy.

As the managing partner of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design for twenty years, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors, the Foundation helped move the needle on design and cities. And, through its other signature programs like Save America’s Treasures in partnership with National Parks Service, the Sustainable Cities Design Academy, and Design for Learning, the Foundation has provided critical design leadership training and technical assistance to hundreds of elected officials, education leaders, business leaders, and other key decision makers in the design process.

In recent years, cities and civic leaders have embraced design and design thinking in a way that could not have been imagined when the Foundation begin its work back in 1943 — and AAF’s role in this transformation is a source of great pride for the Foundation. With this increased interest in the role of design in shaping our cities came a proliferation of new organizations to support and facilitate this cultural shift. These advances in the role of design in American society and changes in the nonprofit design sector, coupled with the departure of the organization’s longest-serving CEO, prompted the Foundation’s Board to embark on an intensive and lengthy process to examine the ongoing role and work of the Foundation.

As the Board of Regents reflected on the positive changes of the cultural value of design, the accomplishments of the Foundation, and how the legacy of the Foundation’s work is being carried out by its former staff in new roles and organizations across the country, they reached the conclusion that the American Architectural Foundation had accomplished what it set out to do. As a result, the Foundation began to complete its remaining programs and wind down its operations in the Summer of 2018 and the organization’s endowments have been distributed to allied organizations. The Foundation’s research and reports will remain available on its website as a resource to the field.

The Foundation’s work would not have been possible without the incredible talents of its many staff over the decades, the generous support of its funders, and the tireless dedication of its civic & design partners across the country. The Board remains deeply proud of the significant contributions Foundation has made in its 75-year history and would like to acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the efforts, dedication, and support from so many of you.