In fall of 2019, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the coast of Scotland Cay, a private island located just 160 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. With 75 percent of its homes destroyed and $3.4 billion in damage, residents had to choose whether to rebuild or leave the island.

Shortly after the disaster made its mark, The University of Florida assembled a team to create and develop a strategic plan to design long-lasting multigenerational spaces and foster the recovery process for the island. This team included RVi’s, Blake Linquist, a landscape architecture graduate student at the time. Linquist worked with Chip Reid, a former UF alumnus, and a current Scotland Cay resident, along with Bob Edmunds, Scotland Cay’s homeowner association president.

To Reid and Edmunds, Scotland Cay was a home and a place of importance for their livelihoods, businesses, and families. Many generations have enjoyed the island and would continue to do so for years to come, making community engagement important to the project’s success.

Linquist surveyed Scotland Cay residents to discover their goals for how to transform and restore this devastated space into a “place” once again. The survey results overwhelmingly proved how captivated residents were with the natural beauty of their island and its ability to create and shape experiences. Plans were ultimately created and implemented with community and family being the top priorities, bringing great joy and approval from residents.

Linquist continues to foster relationships with Reid, Edmunds, and some of his clients from the island. Edmunds and Reid served as not only mentors but also friends who have heavily influenced his career. This experience has given Blake the ability to see the real-time application and impact of design within a community and he draws upon it daily at RVi. Much of his work includes master-planned communities with a focus on space-making. He looks for the potential of a “space to become a place” and knows that having the right information, team, and vision allows it to become great.

Link to the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning’s article: