Thursday September 6, 2007

Miami Beach 'CANDO' arts neighborhood

Borders: lincoln road, dade blvd, meridian ave, and the beach

The CANDO arts neighborhood got a preliminary vote of approval by the Miami Beach city commission yesterday. It establishes a neighborhood (see map, above) in the northern part of South Beach where the city intends to help the arts flourish by . . . well, allowing developers to build condos with smaller units. Specifically: buildings on the Beach normally must have units that are 400 sq. feet minimum and 550 average. In the district, the latter requirement would be waived, allowing buildings of all-400 sq. foot units, for developments where 25% of the units are set aside for artists and those who work for non-profit arts organizations. Qualifying residents would have to make 50% to 80% of the county’s median income (which is $39,100 for one person, $44,700 for a household of two, and $55,900 for a family of four).

The linked article above, and the longer piece in the Sunday Herald, report that it’s 80% to 120% of median income. My information comes from the city’s planning board documents [pdf], which I take to be correcter. Much of the complaining seems to revolve around the fact that the 80-120% is too high, so I wonder where this’ll go.

It’s a common refrain that artists increase land values with their presence and price themselves out over time. And while the specifics of this plan open it to criticism, I think it will actually have a positive effect over time. The map shows that their is a substantial arts presence in the neighborhood already, and indeed rental rates on the beach are sometimes pretty reasonable.

Anyone making 50 to 80% of median income deserves some help with their housing. The argument for giving this help to those in the arts is that they specifically and tangibly enrich a neighborhood. But what will be more interesting to me is whether this really becomes a cohesive neighborhood as a result of this program; that would be a true measure of its success. (thanks to a commenter for suggesting this)

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  1. Duran    Thu Sep 6, 02:16 PM #  

    I take this as another attempt by Miami Beach to keep itself as the sole hegemony in Miami’s tourism market. Not that there anything wrong with that, but can’t anyone have the spotlight even if just for a little while Miami Beach? There goes Wynwood.

  2. alesh    Thu Sep 6, 10:36 PM #  


    You didn’t know, but I really put some thought into this piece, and I don’t think I really figured it out.

    Look; the galleries are in Wynwood, as are some artist studios. But not many people, artists or otherwise, actually live there.

    Where do they live?

    I don’t know. But if they’re like me, they looked for apartments closer, but ended up living back on the beach. For whatever reason, it’s easier to find a reasonably priced place here. Wynwood is great, but it’s a lot easier to convert warehouse space into a gallery or a studio then a livable space.

    The point is that MB isn’t going to attract the galleries from Wynwood anytime soon, but it might get more of the residential action concentrated in this spot. And concentration is good, regardless of where it is.

  3. mae    Fri Sep 7, 02:53 PM #  

    Miami Beach isn’t taking anything from Wynwood. The City of Miami and County should step up to the challenge and create a similar zone for artists. However, I believe that it shouldn’t just be artists that get subsidized housing! From a report by RISEP (Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy) 45% of Miami-Dade’s single-family households make less than 65% of the median income and it’s worse in the City of Miami. It isn’t just artist that are struggling, but people who are working more regular “normal” jobs, too.

    RISEP report:

  4. CB    Fri Sep 7, 04:13 PM #  

    What happened to calling that area ‘Museum Walk’?

  5. David Arthur Walters    Sat Sep 8, 08:06 PM #  

    For better info on the details – including the original MINIMUM income qualification of 51% of HUD, and the Art Politics of Miami that exclude many talented low- or no-income artists, see: