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Cities are always changing. What’s happening in Miami Beach?

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The Miami Herald has a recent article up asking: Has Miami Beach lost its mojo? While the beach will always be an immense draw, there’s concern that entertainment dollars could now be starting to favor mainland neighborhoods like Wynwood, Brickell, and the Design District. 

Here are some of the reasons why it is believed that may be happening:

– Structural changes to the retail landscape

– High rents have pushed out all of the interesting and distinctive tenants

– City is too lenient when it comes to the nighttime economy; South Beach has become a circus

– Investors and developers are worried about the Beach’s exposure to sea level rise

– Strips like Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road have simply completed their urban cycle and are no longer attractive and novel

– Overdevelopment of luxury housing (curiously, there’s a preservationist quoted in the article who appears to believe that restricting development to only mid-rise will result in less luxury housing)

Many of these points are certainly not unique to Miami Beach. We know the retail landscape is changing. But as I was reading through the article, I was once again reminded that cities are always changing – even when we try and stop them from doing that.

There are over 900 historic buildings in the Miami Art Deco District. Most are low-rise and mid-rise. This includes the iconic Ocean Drive. And yet the above article is all about the changes that the Beach has seen and experienced over the years.

Oftentimes we only associate change with new buildings. But architectural preservation does not guarantee any sort of urban stasis. Cities are far more complex than that.

Image: Photo by Ryan Spencer on Unsplash

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