Shape The PLANet in a Tropical Metropolis

Jerry Bell is the Assistant Director of Planning for Miami-Dade County, Florida

Jerry Bell, Assistant Director of Planning, Miami-Dade County

October 12, 2021

Jerry Bell is the Assistant Director of Planning for Miami-Dade County, FL. Jerry lived in many different cities growing up in a military family, which fostered an interest in learning about the options different cities had in planning their communities. He received an undergraduate degree in geography from UF and was influenced by a professor to pursue a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. 

Brickell, Miami, FL by Pilar Gonzalez Prieto via

One major obstacle that Miami-Dade County faces is the Urban Development Boundary and the influx of people moving to South Florida. “We understand that growth is not going to stop, but we do not have the luxury of land here, so we have to accommodate them in a responsible way.” This creates a battle of competing interests within the county and its communities, as well as the government itself. Jerry’s career has spanned both the private and public sectors of the planning profession and has helped him gain an understanding of the proper way to balance the many, and often opposing, viewpoints that offer solutions to planning problems. “We balance competing interests – whether its economic or environmental or housing needs – we have to provide people with the options that they need in their lives.” 

The planning profession for Jerry is special because of the direct impact it can have on an area. “The ability to identify an issue, analyze the issue and then be able to prescribe policy solutions and then to actually see them in place, I think it’s very fulfilling that we’re able to do that.”

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