09 Jul Miami, the unknowncity
Miami is a world reference as a city in the United States characterized by good weather, beaches, leisure, partying, among other aspects aimed at entertainment and being able to spend some time disconnected in a vacation city.
Actually, it is so. Miami is everything you could imagine and more. The exorbitant luxury, paradisiacal landscapes, turquoise blue beaches, exotic marine and terrestrial life in addition to the characteristic meteorology of the Caribbean, two stations practically marked with six-month winters with 25 degrees and humidity between 45-65%, called the station dry and the six-month 32-degree summer season with humidities between 75-100%, called the wet season.
Therefore, with this panorama and with the image we have of celebrities living in Miami, everything seems idyllic.
What we all understand as “Miami” is only a very small part of the Miami-Dade metropolitan area. What we have all visualized in the first description, is really Miami Beach. A city such as Barcelona, Hospitalet, etc. … which is characterized by being an island that has beaches, the first buildings known to Art Deco in the 1920s with many second residences, hotels, promenades and commercial areas.
The rest of the metropolitan area are many other fully connected cities, which are not visually distinguishable since the street grid is consecutive and determines the cities by the number of streets and avenues. Apart from all this, the rest of the cities do not have the beaches since they are a part of the continent and form the city of Miami, totally independent from the part of the beach. To get an idea, from downtown Miami to the beach of Miami Beach there are about 15km and you have to cross various bridges across the Atlantic Ocean. In comparison, it would be leaving COAC Barcelona and going to the Gavá Mar beach.
This geographical difference in addition to making them different cities makes visitors and tourists surprised when they visit “Miami”. Most are unaware of the driving force of Miami, which is not only Miami Beach tourism, but Miami, an international American city made up of a financial district, international offices and the characteristic local life of the inhabitants.
Miami is the city that we could understand as Barcelona, with its neighborhoods, commercial areas, merchandise and cruise ports, offices, expansion, etc … Where life takes place as in a great city in the world, with a cultural diversity and very enriching ethnic. This natural diversity has caused the city to grow through totally isolated and often disconnected neighborhoods.
The unknown city of Miami is actually a city where the population is very varied, very diverse, and not very stable, and this means that there is no sense of local identity, that is, that you don’t hear much about “I’m from Miami.” We say that we are from Barcelona, and we identify ourselves (with Barcelona, Mataró, Hospitalet, Cornellà, etc … for example), we feel we belong to a city, society and lifestyle. Miami belongs to no one and this reality makes neighborhoods unrelated, they do not form an urban fabric, we do not think of moving around the city as we would in our city. In Miami you take the car and visit the neighborhoods, but when you leave the neighborhood there is nothing. Underdeveloped neighborhoods, poverty and even abandoned.
In conclusion of my first article as a correspondent for the COAC in Miami, I wanted to expose this lack of a city where urban planning is not intended as a generator of life, but as a simple real estate investment that creates “nice” neighborhoods where people will live, but not It has just been in Miami, but to a new neighborhood, with new services.
People say they like to go to Midtown because they can walk and go shopping. They say this because it has become a neighborhood like a European city, but you have to go by car, park and go for a walk and when you’re done, you take your car again to go home.
This is not Miami, it is a neighborhood in a metropolitan area and it is generating the city to grow uncontrollably without any connection to the neighborhoods as it would be done organically. In short, it is a growth by real estate investment. Miami, the unknown city ends up being my immediate environment, separated from the rest by the simple distance of my car. I’m from Miami, but which Miami?
Joaquín Fernández, architect. COAC correspondent in Miami, USA. July 2018