The Miami We Want To Live In
March 8, 2017
We know that Miami pride is a real thing, but we also know it has miles to go and mountains to climb before it’s anywhere near a well-oiled machine. So many things need work in order to truly be efficient and thoughtful for both those who travel and those who call the place home every day of the year. This evolutionary process of growth and development happens everywhere, not just in our city. But what kinds of conversations do we need to be having right now in order to affect change and what’s already happening to get us in the right direction?
As of right now, it may seem like Miami is an endless stream of congested intersections and highways perpetually under construction. That doesn’t come as a shock when the Miami metropolitan area is the 8th largest in the country. That’s a lot of ground to cover so of course it eventually became a city that favors cars over people. The Miami we want to live in would have more bike lanes, higher levels of pedestrian-friendly areas, a strict strengthening of its public transportation system, and an overall lower level of car dependency. Basically, we want to be able to walk or bike for miles to see this beautiful city without ever having to turn a car on.
Who’s working on it: If you haven’t heard of The Underline, get familiar. It’s going to be a 10-mile linear park and urban trail that follows the entire length of the Metrorail and it’s coming soon, too. Did you know that Miami-Dade Transit and Miami-Dade MPO have developed a plan that will institute multiple express transit lanes throughout the entire city, to set as “highest priority” the advancement of rapid transit corridors and transit supportive projects for the county? They did, and it’s called the SMART Plan.
For too long, Miami has perpetuated the VIP lifestyle and built our city’s nightlife upon a series of lists and velvet ropes. Over the years, this has created an unwelcoming identity entirely happy with ostracizing a majority of its residents. In turn, those same residents have been trained to think these were its only options, so two things increased: apathy and lack of connection to our roots. The Miami we want to live in would have more community-friendly opportunities, whether the events are free or not, they definitely should be affordable and welcoming.
Who’s working on it: As you might know by now, this is a very big thing for us at Prism; making culture accessible to the masses. Good music and vibes shouldn’t belong to a higher few. The team behind the Arts + Entertainment District, NR Investments, has provided a platform for Miami’s locals to engage with some of the best creative culture in the city for over two years now, and it’s spreading like wild fire…which is a great thing! And of course there’s The Wynwood Yard, one of the most open hangs in Wynwood with great food, drinks, and diverse programming every night of the week.
Another reason we’ve been trained to think Miami has so few choices in every realm is because the same people have been talking about the same things to the same audiences for quite some time. And until recently, very few voices spoke up about the alternative happenings, the underground creative circles, and the historical references. The Miami we want to live in would be filled with locals and travelers who know about the city’s past, present, and future as a second nature. We’re talking about the real Miami, btw. What we want is to be able to know things without having to know the right people to get there.
Who’s working on it: Working in the “scene” we’ve had the chance to interact with some pretty powerful voices that spend their days dedicated to changing the local narrative and informing residents about what’s happening in its very backyard. The New Tropic has been killing the informational game for a few years now and they are our favorite source on breaking down our city and how it works. Whenever we have a question, that’s our first place to look. On the cultural and historical standpoint, Beyond South Beach knows how to engage Miami’s locals by spotlighting monuments, hidden spots, landmarks, and everything that makes the real Miami as vibrant as we know it is, but many people don’t.
Whatever happened to the art of conversation? As storytellers and natural connectors, we feel like the most authentic form of connection comes from being able to sit down and talk whether it’s over a cup of coffee or out drinking wine. An entire city’s personality is built on its ability to connect with people from all over the world, from every intellectual level. The Miami we want to live in would have more opportunities for connection, both human to human and local to the city itself. It would have less loud music and more of those interesting talks you can only get when places are made with people in mind.
Who’s working on it: Have you noticed that many “cultures” are booming in Miami right now? Markets are everywhere, the food scene is on its way to epic status, and even film is expanding to creative proportions. But we’re most excited that the coffeehouse culture and cocktail bar scenes are booming, even if at a slow pace. Brothers & Brawlers in Wynwood is the kind of spot where no one will be bothered, but everyone is someone you should get to know for some human inspiration. We can’t not mention The Corner which has become a local favorite for alcohol-infused conversations nearly every hour of the day.
Here’s the thing. We’re not DJ-haters over here, we’ve indulged in an epic night at Bardot like the next person, but we’ve been raised in a world where live music will always have a special place in our hearts. Call it old-fashioned but live music will always be a catalyst for connection that’s well, live. And as Miami grew into a mini Ibiza, which was a big win in order to put us on the map as a cultural destination, unfortunately the bands and musicians that call the city home were eventually forgotten. Much of Miami’s live music roots were phased out. The Miami we want to live in would have a seemingly endless array of live music venues and opportunities for us to witness the sounds that define our city, whether out of a computer or through a guitar.
Who’s working on it: We can’t talk about successful live music without mentioning Lagniappe. With the continuous stream of closed music venues (both electronic or live), many have been disillusioned to have live music as a key component for an upcoming concept. But the New Orleans-inspired winery is constantly spilling with people interested in having a taste of local music, and some of the best around too. Many of Miami’s bands now have a consistent gig again and that’s a huge win. Same goes for Ball & Chain, recently re-opened and although more heavy on the quintessential Latin sound, still houses some of the city’s most singular sounds on the regular…keeping the tradition alive.
All in all, we want more places to go to, diverse outlets to tell us how to find them, and better ways of getting there. After all of this, it’s important to note that we’re not there yet but we’re certainly on our way.