January 24 2013

What Makes Midtown the Best Neighborhood in Miami, Florida?

Miami voted. Results were tallied. And Midtown took the “2012 Curbed Cup” contest for Miami’s Best Neighborhood. A former rail yard, now comprised of commercial and condo units, Midtown received more votes than popular destinations like Lincoln Road, Coconut Grove, and Sunset Harbour.

Bird's-eye view of Midtown street Sidewalk view of Midtown street

What might make Midtown the best Miami neighborhood? The district offers a variety of stores to lure a wide spectrum of visitors – catering to both small, independent businesses and large-scale retailers, and “chain restaurants.” The plan also has an active green space – shared by visitors and residents alike. Lastly, this modern design and new construction offers a clean and secure environment.

Midtown active green space Midtown store fronts act as liners for residential parking garage

As popular as Midtown became in the year 2012, there are many ways that this new area could improve:

  • Midtown modern corner balconiesNeighborhood Middle. Miami is full of condos and single-family houses – and yet provides nothing for the middle. This lack of medium-density housing is both detrimental to the city’s urbanism and a missed opportunity by developers. What about the rest? Providing a wider span of sustainable housing – townhouses, live/works, courtyard houses – expands the real-estate market to more individuals (this author included).
  • Stranded Urbanism. In the context of Miami, Midtown is an urban island (quite fitting for the tropical city, I suppose). With harsh dissecting highways to the west and directly north and existing railroad track to the east, this contemporary development lacks accessibility. A few bus lines, yes, but where is the MetroRail connection? Trolley? The best improvement would be the direct inclusion of adjacent neighborhoods.
  • Where’s the Authenticity? It’s challenging to make something new seem genuine, but perhaps a missed opportunity was to preserve a visual connection to the former Florida East Coast rail yard – adaptive reuse building, railroad cars, a simple commemorative plaque. Maybe years of urban layers will help – only time will tell.

Yes, Midtown is a great addition to Miami and especially to the neighboring areas. However, this district has room to grow and improve. In what ways do you think this and other new districts could improve your city’s quality of life?

Credits: Images by Jennifer Garcia. Data linked to sources.

Jennifer Garcia

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jennifer García now enjoys the energy and quality of life that Miami has to offer. Professionally, she uses traditional architecture and principles of the New Urbanism as a Town Planner at Dover, Kohl & Partners. Based on careful research, she designs each project within the context of the local architectural language, distinct culture, and regional settlement patterns. She proudly holds a Master of Architecture from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Traveling has taught her to immerse herself into each place’s history, culture, traditions, and how they contribute to the range of urbanism and local vernacular. She also enjoys blogging as a local transit advocate for Transit Miami. Her daily bicycle commutes reinforce her belief in nurturing a living urbanism with livable streets.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Housing, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “What Makes Midtown the Best Neighborhood in Miami, Florida?”

  1. Miami’s Missing Middle | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] Community. Overdevelopment and crowed condos have made “density” a bad word among many communities. However, density encompasses a wide [...]

  2. Unlocking Value in Miami, Florida | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] walkable development and non car-dependent lifestyles, brings new idea testing to places like Midtown Miami. As the economy recovers, this form-based zoning code creates redevelopment opportunities that [...]

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