Last month’s Start-Up City: Miami, an event we previewed in my interview with urbanist Richard Florida, brought together entrepreneurs and techies for a day-long discussion about Miami’s potential future as a global ideas and innovation capital. This video from The Atlantic, which co-hosted the event alongside the Knight Foundation and Florida’s Creative Class Group, features several of the speakers and attendees, including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, and someone who looks and sounds a lot like me.
The Design District is a sign that urban shopping districts are coming back, according to Richard Florida. -- photo by Flickr user wallyg
Richard Florida, author of The Rise of The Creative Class and a leading thinker on the modern city, spies in the evolution of Miami’s Design District a “tipping point back toward urban downtowns”, not just here but nationwide: “After years of neglect, decline, and abandonment, downtowns across the United States are poised to come back — and not just as redoubts for hipsters, artisanal food, indie music, and trendy boutiques, but as major shopping destinations.”
From design to setting, the Miami Marine Stadium is perhaps the most striking structure in the city, and, until recently, it was one of the most endangered historic places in the nation. Thanks to vigorous, ongoing activism by preservationists, including Hilario Candela (below), the architect who designed it as a 27-year-old Cuban immigrant, the stadium has a good chance of reopening to the public as a one-of-a-kind entertainment venue. To read more about the building and its architect, read my story in The Atlantic Cities, which features a collection of beautiful photographs by Robby Campbell.
This is the question I address in a piece I wrote for The Atlantic Cities, a very cool online section of The Atlantic that explores “innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods” and a must-read for people interested in how Miami can explode its own potential.
With the Florida legislature currently considering expanding gambling statewide and Genting hoping to build a mega casino called Resorts World Miami on Biscayne Bay, many Miamians are debating whether the expected jobs are worth the expected increase in crime, traffic, and other feared downsides. But how the expansion of gambling to include mega casinos — a whole different beast than anything in Miami’s existing gambling infrastructure — may affect Miami’s emerging arts community, in which so much hope and money have been invested over the last decade, is also a crucial question, and one without a clear-cut answer.
Art Basel Miami Beach has hinted that it may move elsewhere if Miami turns into — or appears to be turning into — Las Vegas East. At the same time, one gambling industry analyst I spoke to believes a mega casino could help Miami artists by employing them. With no existing research on the correlation between casinos and the vitality of the arts in their host cities’, it is hard to predict what will happen in Miami if Genting gets its way.
Nonetheless, that is exactly what I try to do in my story. To give it a read, head over to The Atlantic Cities. After, I’d like to know what you think. Will expanding gambling in Miami hobble its cultural development? Or is the expansion a gamble worth taking?