Sep '06 - Dec '09
Trying to escape the slings and arrows of the Cantabrigian winter my wife and I went to Miami for Spring Break. I guess I have not been there in a while, the immense scale of the car culture took me by surprise. We mainly stayed in Miami Lakes, city best known for its minimum security prisons (gated communities) for the burgeoning middle class. Things around there are beyond the human scale as it is, of course, built around the need for a car. Talking to people, specially the elderly who cannot drive and find the city pretty depressing, it becomes clear that this landscape is not sustainable ecologically or socially.
Downtown Miami is having a building renaissance. The developers hope to sell the (alleged) convenience and glamour of urban life to Miamians. We counted at least 10 towers under construction in downtown alone, and several more in the beach areas. I hope that this experiment with density works in Miami, the city really has nowhere else to go without increasing the pressures on the already fragile local ecologies. For those that are not familiar with South Florida the (sub)urbanization begins in Homestead and ends in West Palm Beach, that is over 100 miles long of concrete from the coast all the way to the edge of the everglades.