Wynwood and the Mega Casino

Some local artists think not. When gambling comes to mind, it’s hard not to think of Vegas. Some might go so far as to ponder distant Macau. In both vastly different cities, one will find the mega casino–that now trite term all over the local media. We all know what it is: Caesar’s Palace, the Bellagio, Mirage, MGM Grand, etc. In Miami, it is Resorts World by Genting. While a resort casino concept is clear, its effect on the surrounding urban environment is seldom considered? So, admittedly disregarding the zoning context of these examples, let’s take a look:


Using the 3D Function on Google Earth, here’s Sin City

The Realm of the Mega Casino

As you can see for your self, this is a slice of (virtual) Vegas. If you’ve been there, you know that each one of these mega casinos is a world in and of themselves. They suck you in like (entertainment) black holes and intend on keeping you there as long as your wallet, or sadly, savings account, will permit. It’s destination retail activity at its finest; themed, lavishly designed, and fantastical. Amid it all are throes of people streaming into the next black hole, and in between these marvels, are super giant parking lots.

The Art Realm

Wynwood is mostly a jumble of warehouses, many of which are leased by artists for rather low rates. There is little in the way of architectural restorative potential. such endowments are reserved for its neighbor, the Design District. Wynwood has a grittiness to it and its galleries sit side by side with car repair shops and industrial yards. Countless colorful murals dot its streetscape and amid its mish mash of land-uses, it has a sporadic night life, climaxing on each Second Saturday, but is generally seedy under the moon. The underlying current and what gives it life, character, and urban potential, is art. One mega casino may not change that, but more than one can change it for good.

Now back to a mega-casino realm.


This former Portuguese colony in south China further demonstrates the ostentation of mega casino development but displays more compact layouts. Population and land constraints play more of a compressing role on casino layouts than in Las Vegas. But here, as with Sin City, there isn’t one or two mega casinos, but several.

The Domino Effect

Should mega-casinos be permitted, beginning with Resorts World, then in the short term, there may be development restrictions, but eventually, more will be built and Wynwood, as we know it, with the potential it currently represents, will be eclipsed, or more appropriately, wiped out–like the affordable quirky motels of Sunny Isles were by the onset of high-end large-scale development–in a sort of cultural gentrification.

The Wynwood art movement would have to find accommodations elsewhere, quite possibly, outside of Miami.

For now, the debate continues. 


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