Miami – The Creative City
Historically, the engine that drove Miami’s economy was its geography – its incredible natural endowments of ocean, coastline, and natural ports and harbors, and its location at the southern tip of the eastern seaboard oriented toward Latin America and the Caribbean. Its warm climate, abundant sunshine, and open and tolerant social climate welcomed vacationing families and singles, and even more importantly, a steady flow of foreign immigrants, domestic migrants, and snowbirds. More than two decades ago, back in 1994, FIU President Mark Rosenberg noted that Miami’s “geography” was its “destiny.”
As the region has grown, its economy has diversified, adding strengths in media, finance, fashion, design, medicine, logistics, aeronautics, bio-medical science, and even software development – high-growth creative fields that depend on high levels of talent and human capital. The region’s architecture and skyline – from Art Deco and MiMo classics to dozens of new contemporary towers – are now almost as recognizable as those of New York, Chicago, and Paris.
Miami’s airport, which services more international travelers than any other in the .S. except New York’s JFK, and its substantial port provide real global connectivity. Both of these assets have received continuous capital investment for over two decades. As a hub of the larger South Florida megaregion, which extends to Orlando and Tampa, it has a size and scale that is equivalent to one of the 20 largest economies in the world.
MIAMI AT A GLANCE
More than two decades ago, Alejandro Portes, now at the University of Miami, and Alex Stepick of FIU dubbed Miami as a “city on the edge,” with many assets and many challenges. The region’s transformation, they added, was a story of “change without a blueprint.” Miami has seen one of its greatest growth waves since that time, benefiting from the strategic action of visionary stakeholders, groups, universities and colleges, and mayors since. It is now time to renew the region’s commitment to a regional strategy and to engage a broad region-wide conversation about a more inclusive prosperity that takes into account the mounting realities and challenges that face the region today. The time to act is now: if it misses this opportunity, the region risks losing the economic advantages it has achieved.
To this end, FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and Creative Class Group (CCG) created the FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative, an ongoing collaboration to better understand the forces that are shaping the future of Miami. Our aim is to build upon the strong foundation created by the region’s political, business, academic, and civic leadership and organizations over the past several decades to help identify the key things Miami can do to position itself as a more innovative, creative, inclusive, and prosperous global city and region.