The Many Nodes of Downtown

At today’s ULI conference Dana Nottingham stated that the DDA recognized Downtown’s extent as being outside of the current DDA Districts. He also went on to recognize that there are many emerging districts and sub-districts that merit attention as well. He elaborated by saying that these each represented a unique experience. Dana clearly understands the significant changes underway and how they are evolving into individual urban segments and sub-segments (nodes). This is refreshing, since the current DDA boundaries are rather limited in comparison to the rapidly expanding activity on the ground. Dana, a former V.P. at Disney, made a significant emphasis on fostering the urban experience and alluded to Disney in their efforts to put on a show. Instead in Miami, the show is in the urban experience and the community, private and public sectors, are in a natural partnership to make it work.

This all points back to my aim at pinpointing the feeling or experience of each emerging neighborhood. This feeling is what makes one want to re-visit an area, invest in it, live in it, etc. Yet it is this same intangible factor that is the most challenging to understand. Each neighborhood’s demography, physical aspects and attributes, economic activity, type, and origin, existing under-utilized structures, vacant land, development patterns, transportation accessibility, parking availability, and pedestrian friendliness, must be analyzed and still there are factors missing. The good news is that the information is all there. It simply requires organization, systematic analysis, and clear and concise presentation in order for conclusions about urban character to be drawn.

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