Miami's urban core skyrocketed with glistening glass high-rises during the real estate boom, but little was done to turn the area's neighborhoods into truly integrated, livable communities. Will the next step in the Magic City's perpetual urban makeover include more neighborhoods where parks, retails shops, apartment buildings, and, uh, a casino are intermixed in harmony? The Town Square Neighborhood Development Corp. sure hopes so. Yesterday it unveiled a highly speculative plan for development in the area just west of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
It sure makes for a pretty picture.
For contrast, here's what most of the area looks like now:
"This aspirational master plan is the first step of a dream that will become a living document, and it is the Town Square Neighborhood Development's vision for a livable community, with a mix of education, cultural, housing, entertainment, recreation, civic, and retail centers with sufficient public transportation and parking," Town Square chair Armando Codina said in a statement. "In designing the plan, we were respectful of Miami 21 and worked closely with elected officials. We hope that Miami's elected officials, along with the area's neighbors and property owners, are inspired by our plan."
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The keyword here is aspirational. Though the group obtained the services of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and a traffic consulting firm, this project certainly won't be realized anytime soon. The group lacks the property and doesn't have the money to buy any. So, for example, clubgoers: Don't get worked up over the fact that there's some fictional midrise building where the Vagabond now sits (though it is a bit puzzling that the plan, aspirational as it may be, doesn't include the few existing places in the neighborhood west of the Arsht where people actually go at night, or anytime for that matter).
"This is an idea of what the area might look like 40 years from now," the plan's architect tells the Miami Herald.
So don't expect pocket parks to pop up overnight. It's basically a vision and the first part of a dialogue. Which is nice, considering Miami's last big urban boom centered around the vision of individual developers and not as a dialogue among politicians, existing property owners, residents, and developers. It's nice to know someone has a vision for the vacant lots and empty buildings in the area that doesn't include stuffing them with casinos, skyscrapers, and Walmarts.