Submitted by: Sarah Iannarone
Assistant Director, First Stop Portland
Last week, I traveled to Miami to discuss with urban scholars from around the world the dynamics of placemaking in the global city. This included a presentation on lessons from First Stop Portland about how cities learn. The audience feedback was resoundingly positive!
|View of downtown from Sunset Harbor, Miami Beach|
|Esperito Santo Plaza, CBD|
There was the mirrored glass and steel high-rises of the powerhouse Financial District, “Gateway to the Americas,” where the typical American central business district ethos (and street population) reigns, including the mass exodus of automobiles from parking garages, followed by an eerily quiet street life after 5pm.
In Little Havana, once home to the largest concentration of Cuban exiles in the world, cars hurl down the Calle Ocho (SW 8th St) toward downtown but pedestrians take time to meander: tourists and locals alike drink cafecito (Cuban coffee) and coco frio (coconut water) at open-air counters between stops at cigar, tamale, and pastry shops. Afternoons, elders play dominoes under shade in the park and Latin music pours from cafes at all hours of the day.
|Scenes from street life in Little Havana|
|Gay Pride Miami, the largest two-day event of the year in South Beach|
|Hipster hangout the "Wood Tavern" in Wynwood Arts District|
|The epicenter of street art in Wynwood: http://thewynwoodwalls.com/|
I wish I'd had a "First Stop Miami" expert to tour me through the city so I could learn more about the forces shaping this sprawling metropolis. It's apparent that rapid growth, speculative investment, high migration rates, and transient populations are all driving rapid neighborhood change throughout the city. While Miami certainly has its work cut out for it, the city potentially offers lessons for Portland, especially with regard to the changing dynamics of a multi-ethnic, global city.
Below, a brief sampling of the street art in Wynwood.
(Special thanks to Portland State's Institute of Sustainable Solutions and Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships for sponsoring this presentation.)