Money Versus Public Space in Miami's Booming Brickell Neighborhood

The rapid development of Miami's Brickell neighborhood has left many residents without proper access to open space, a circumstance some are trying to remedy, despite astronomical land costs.
August 30, 2012, 10am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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The debate over density and open space has landed in Downtown Miami's Brickell neighborhood. As the neighborhood developed "practically overnight" into the sea of luxury condominium towers it is today, open space concerns went to the back burner. Now, in park-short Miami (which ranks 94 on a list of 100 cities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents), Brickell residents are asking for one of the area's last undeveloped parcel to be turned into a neighborhood park. "The spot would be large enough for soccer and baseball fields, a full-sized dog park and a view of the Miami River," reports NPR's Kenny Malone. "Currently, there's nothing like that in Brickell."

Despite the noble plea, land values and developers speak with a louder voice. "'Unfortunately, Miami's a frontier town where the dollars drive everything,' says Peter Zalewski, who analyzes the real estate picture in South Florida," reports Malone.

"This may be the reality for a place as expensive and densely developed as Brickell: There will be enough space when the two mothers' children are big enough to swing from this jungle gym and spin around this crash-landing merry-go-round. But when it's time for T-ball or peewee soccer, their boys will probably have to go in search of greener, bigger pastures."

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Published on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 in NPR
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