Blog Posts

The EB-5 Paradox

[8/8/17]  EB-5 Visas have been an important post-recession tool in Miami for raising money, but have also fueled unaffordable housing in the City.
“In Miami, most of these investments land in luxury real estate projects. These are projects that are planned with EB-5 Visa investment and buyers in mind. In other words, developers create a building product that is a good candidate for easy investment that translates into the sale of a condo.”

Are Buses SMART?

[7/20/17] While trains may have been promised, suburban areas of the SMART Plan are looking to Rapid Bus Systems for savings and long term thinking.
“I am not saying that the SMART plan is a bad plan, in fact, the opposite. It correctly identifies corridors that are both possible and popular for these initiatives, and it takes into account density, future development, and existing public transit use. However, the mediums for these lines must be tailored to each’s environment, density, and use estimates. This is what good governing looks like. It’s not sexy or inspirational, but it is making the city an inch better at a time and doing it pragmatically and efficiently.”

 Miami, a Retail Paradise?

[7/10/17]  While retail jobs are falling across the Country, Miami has continued to add retail sqft across the city; But will that be enough for the new American Dream Mall?

“While brands like Macy’s and JC Penny are seeing shoppers move online, luxury shoppers still appear to go into the store to make purchases, and Miami is a robust market for luxury shopping. This is due to both tourism shoppers and international residents, who typically patronize these locations.”

The Beckham Deal is Good for Miami

[6/19/17] How Miami pushed a run of the mill bad stadium deal, into a new kind of agreement.

“This process began with a proposal for a curvaceous stadium located on Biscayne Bay, given for free, and ending with a better solution for a nuanced, simpler stadium design located in Overtown, fully paid for by its privately funded ownership (The Miami Beckham United Team).”

Miami Style: The Intra-Block

[6/6/17] New Projects claiming to be “Urban Wonders” just glorified Malls.

“All of these projects call themselves “multi-use urban projects,” while they appear to all be borrowing ideas from the simple suburban open-air mall.”

Why Miami Grid?

[5/23/17] A description of my obsession with the Miami Grid, and why I named this Blog after it.

“The advanced laying out of the Manhattan grid, up to 155th St., decades before there was any development north of Houston St., was a bold move. It created a system of development that would later engulf the island, and allowed for organized capitalistic chaos. The founders of Miami acted much the same way, when creating the grid system that we still use today.”

The Virtue of AirBnB

[5/6/17] Miami’s crusade against AirBnB does not understand the problem, and therefore, will not find a solution.

“In a society where work and life are blending, storage and retail are brought together online, and home and hotel are becoming one in the same, restrictive zoning uses are not moving as fast as society itself.”

The Midtown Migration

[4/22/17] “Midtown” is not only in your city, they are popping up across the United States, and follow a specific pattern.

“Cities across the country are in the maturing phase of a transformation, where proximity and entertainment are king. This shift is good for public transit, sustainability, and innovation, however, it will cause a number of unintended consequences. Reverse flight is pushing the urban poor into suburban communities, far from public transit, government resources, and supportive communities.”

Pedestrianizing Flagler and the Mile

[4/8/17] The Cities of Coral Gables and Miami face slowdowns and shifting public opinions on their twin pedestrianizing streetscape projects.

“Contractors however should be held responsible for bidding with unrealistic timelines and incomplete information. In most cases, they are not financially penalized for lateness and bear little responsibility for damages of any kind. The ones that bear the responsibility and damages are political officials who subsequently lose their seats, and business owners who lose money every day the project is delayed.”

A Story of Highways and Railways

[3/24/17] How the construction of various transportation corridors gave the city of Miami its topography.

“At this time, deep south segregation laws called for the city to map out a specific “Colored Town,” which they designated as North and West of the new railroad tracks. This simple story, while an emblem of our racist past, shows the importance of transit corridors in creating boundaries in the city, while also being an economic engine. The train tracks brought a population of working class individuals and tourists to Miami. The tracks also created the first boundaries in a city without any topography of its own.”

The FIU Factor

[3/10/17] FIU is an important part of Miami’s future, and can be leveraged as such.

“There is a history of great cities being tied to great universities that feed them creative young workers. Examples include: UT and Austin / The Research Triangle and Raleigh / Georgia Tech and Atlanta. These pairings, when recognized, can be leveraged to create new business, and foster a more resilient city. Miami has this unique opportunity with FIU.”

Moonlight on Miami

[2/26/17] What the powerful Best Picture winner gets right about Miami as a city and a place to live. 

“The use of the city in these opening scenes showed how Moonlight planned to use Miami: not as a sexy beach metropolis, or the background for flashy scenes from Miami Vice, but a city with real people who call it home.”

Regulating Luxury

[2/12/17] Regulations and conventional wisdom incentivize developers to build luxury, and it is hurting Miami’s future.

“the market as it stands is a complicated mess of banking conventions, zoning boards, state building regulations, comprehensive land use plans, and business risk analyses. No city exists in a vacuum…I believe that there are many ways to aim at lower income workers while also being profitable, and different incentive structures by the city can help to catalyze these.”

A City of Refugees

[1/31/17] Miami is a city built on the foundation of immigrants, refugees, and finding your home in a strange place.

“…each person or family was fleeing something when they came here. Whether that be political oppression, economic immobility, or religious persecution in Cuba, Jamaica, India, Venezuela, or Chile. Although it may be easy to forget, Miami would not be what it was if not for these migrations and to say “no more” now is simply hypocrisy.”

The Magic of Wet Foot, Dry Foot

[1/15/17] How US-Cuban Policy Helped Fuel the Magic City in the 2nd-half of the 20th Century

“The story of Miami can be told through the stories of immigrant families. Most of our families came here fleeing something in hope of something new. We created neighborhoods that learned from the quirks of the places we fled, and we all got mixed up into the great Miami melting pot.”

Vroom City

[1/1/17] Cars represent an important part of Miami’s History and Culture

“While a growing number of Miamians are looking to public transit options to replace their daily commute, it is important to recognize the intertwined history between Miami and the Automobile.”

The Top 10 Most Important Miami Stories of 2016

[12/30/16] My choices for the top stories in Miami in 2016

Miami’s Climate Change Conundrum

[12/18/16] The science is in agreement, the politicians are not, and the money has not stopped.

“Climate change is both a worldwide phenomena and incredibly local. Problems differ by city and by state. While Houston is flooding, California is in drought. While temperatures are hotter in Anchorage, they are colder in Chicago. We need both a comprehensive plan and localized ones.”

Miami & The Basel Effect

[12/6/16] Art Basel has helped Miami mature culturally and as a city.

“These conversations happening in Miami are not unlike the conversations in the salon in the Paris of art nouveau or Rome of the Renaissance. The connection between advancement of the arts, and the success of a city has been repeated throughout time. Miami has been blessed with this ever growing seed of the art world in its contemporary form.”

Inspiration and Transportation

[11/22/16] Why expensive comprehensive plans win public opinion, and small conservative ones do not.

 

Parks and Recreation in Miami

[10/12/16] Miami needs a commitment to parks.