Wynwood Named One of America’s Great Places

Wynwood is an ever-evolving neighborhood that grows more and more popular among artists and Miami’s youths alike. Although the area is small on the map compared to its surrounding neighborhoods like Overtown and Allapattah, its impact is significant enough to catch the eye — and measuring stick — of the American Planning Association (APA).

Every year, the APA announces a list of 15 Great Places in America, which includes great neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces. This year, they named four Great Neighborhoods, five Great Streets, and six Great Public Spaces.

Our very own Wynwood Arts District has been named among the four Great Neighborhoods. Other great neighborhoods on the list include Downtown Plano in Texas, Crossroads Arts District in Missouri, and Roosevelt Row Arts District in Arizona. Arts districts must be all the rage right now.

The national program looks for places in the United States that demonstrate “exceptional character, quality, and planning.... Places are selected annually and represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.”

Here’s the reasoning behind Wynwood's selection:
Wynwood, once an economically thriving garment district, fell into neglect in the late 1970s and 1980s, forcing manufacturers out of the area. To address the decline, Miami worked to invite reinvestment into the area employing zoning incentives, marketing, and beautification strategies to make it easier for enterprises to operate and grow. By the late 1990s and 2000s, artists and collectors began purchasing some of Wynwood’s old factories and industrial buildings and converting them to studios and galleries, restaurants and bars, and creative office spaces… Recently, the district has also installed bike share stations throughout the neighborhood and added parks to improve the area’s walkability and bike access.

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Carolina del Busto is a freelance writer for Miami New Times. She nurtured her love of words at Boston College before moving back home to Miami and has been covering arts and culture in the Magic City since 2013.