Miami’s Little Haiti: A Neighborhood in Transition

Our design proposal for the fall 2001 semester focuses on Little Haiti, an urban neighborhood located in Miami. Little Haiti is situated on the east-west corridor between Miami International Airport (MIA) and the popular tourist destination of South Beach, and some thirty blocks north of downtown Miami. This neighborhood has often been the first stopping point for newly arrived immigrants until they become more financially independent and established. As such, it can be seen as a neighborhood in transition, with an ethnically diverse population that reflects Miami\’s cultural diversity. Located within Little Haiti is the Miami Design District, a developing commercial district of furniture showrooms and designer boutiques. The growth and success of the Design District suggests the possibility that other parts of Little Haiti could achieve their own identity as a community. To achieve this, certain needs of the community have to be addressed. In addition to the need for more jobs, there are also issues of providing health care, childcare, recreational facilities and more affordable public housing to alleviate the chronic housing shortage. Six groups of two students each will study Little Haiti and make proposals in the form of a masterplan, which shall include the following:An Urban Park:A major green space that would give Little Haiti a more cohesive identity as well as provide an amenity associated with more established areas.Housing:The district is in need of affordable housing. New housing would have to be created at the rate of 1.5 units for each existing unit demolished for the park.A Community Center:To foster longer-term residency, a freestanding community center with various amenities will be constructed adjacent to the park.After the development of the masterplan, individuals will then choose either the housing or the community center component to develop architecturally in conjunction with the design of the park. We will visit Miami during the second week of the semester, at which time actual sites will be selected. The studio is open to landscape students as well as architecture students.Further information on 1305