ETERNITY IS OVERRATED, THE USES OF TIME IN ARCHITECTURE
Date: Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Architecture critic, writer, and curator, ROWAN MOORE addresses how buildings are not fixed objects but exist in time, connecting the thoughts and actions of the people who make them to those of the people who inhabit them. All architects, said Philip Johnson, want to be immortal. Look through standard architectural histories, and you’ll see pyramids, temples, tombs and churches -–buildings dedicated to eternity. Yet architecture is always in a state of change. It weathers, ages, decays, and is renewed. It is adapted and extended; how it is perceived is altered, such that the monstrosities of one generation become the cherished heritage of the next. Rowan Moore describes works that are smart in their use of time, from the High Line in New York to the work of the great Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. We talk of “buildings”, he says, because they are part of a continuous process – we don’t call them “builts”. Rowan Moore is architecture critic for the Observer (London), and author of Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (2013). Free.
Do you live on the high-water line? You know, those blocks in your neighborhood that’ll soon be underwater.
That’s right, don’t be shy. . . . You know its happening. . . . You’ve known its happening. We’ve all known its happening — forget your politics and denial (and forget your politics of denial).
If it hasn’t already, sea-level rise is coming to a South Florida neighborhood near you, and faster than most of us realize.
Our community is the most at-risk city for sea-level rise in the entire United States, and we’re going to have to start making some serious decisions about the fate of our beloved Miami. We’ll have to embark on some collective South Florida soul-searching as we all face down and come to terms with our coming Water World.
The first three questions that probably come to mind are:
- How much water is rising?
- Where is the water rising?
- When is the water rising?
While the answers to some of these questions are less unclear than for others, uncertainty, confusion, and denial persist.
But just because the bulk of those among our citizenry elected to represent us in office remain for the most part muted on the subject, we, the people on the ground, need not follow their non-existent lead.
Rather, we can embrace head-on the fourth and most important question we’ve got to ask:
- What are we going to do about it?
A good place to start is by coming out to make history at the unprecedented High Water Line (HWL) | Miami’s Bicycle Ride for Resiliency!
Put on the very bluest outfit you’ve got, saddle-up, and head-out
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Magic City Bike Collective
1100 N Miami Avenue
729 SW 1st Street
Riders will be physically demarcating the high water lines of mainland Miami so that we can take a good look at ourselves and start asking the big question and all it carries with: How will we adapt to this fundamental shift in our relations at the human-water-land nexus as seas continue to rise?
Go out, ride your bike, and make a statement:
SEA LEVEL RISE IS HAPPENING. WE SEEK A RESILIENT MIAMI. WE ARE A RESILIENT MIAMI
A 10-Year Vision
The Transit Development Plan represents a 10-year strategic vision for Miami-Dade Transit to promote the operation of an efficient, responsive and financially sustainable transit system. Major components of the Transit Development Plan include:
- Annual Performance
- Service Operations
- Capital Program
Transit Development Plan Facts at a Glance
The Transit Development Plan process provides an opportunity for Miami-Dade County citizens to identify mobility needs and transportation issues. Your input is valuable and needed to facilitate public concensus and provide direction for the development of the Transit Development Plan.
You can participate by attending one of the many outreach forums throughout the community. Ideas, suggestions and comments related to the Transit Development Plan can also be submitted to Miami-Dade Transit at email@example.com
Ideas, suggestions and comments will be accepted through August 17, 2013.
It’s no secret that TransitMiami is opposed to the expansion of highways in our community.
Still, we like to understand how they work, and the applied engineering science that goes into measuring their structural performance.
Florida International University produced a fascinating video describing the work of some of its faculty and students from the Lehman Center for Transportation Research.
FIU professors and graduate students talk about their efforts to monitor MDX’s under-construction 836 (Dolphin) / 826 (Palmetto) highway interchange with specially-designed sensors measuring the shrinkage and strain on the concrete over time.
Just imagine if we invested the same kind of money and science into expanding and improving our public transportation rail network!
From our community’s superb historical museum, HistoryMiami, comes a new exhibit: Opa-Locka: Mirage City
June 28, 2013 – September 08, 2013
Opa-locka: Mirage City explores one of South Florida’s most unique architectural communities. Based on stories and names of characters from the Arabian Tales, Opa-locka presents itself as both eccentric dream; an exotic Middle-eastern urban oasis in a subtropical paradise, and tourist’s kitsch; an architectural conceit more akin to a Hollywood film set. Founded in the 1920s in an undeveloped area of northwest Miami-Dade, the city is a highly romanticized interpretation of an exotic cultural milieu popularized by Hollywood films and archeological discoveries of its time. The exhibition presents original drawings and architectural models that reintroduce the original fabled vision, aiming to rouse interest in the city’s iconic structural design and encourage efforts to preserve its endangered architectural heritage.
Curated by Jose R. Vazquez, Associate Professor of Architecture at Miami Dade College. Presented in conjunction with the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives at Miami Dade College and the University of Miami Libraries, Special Collections.
Sponsored by by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners.
The decisive role of the highways in determining the fate of Overtown a half century ago is not lost upon City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones.
The southern part of Ms. Spence-Jones’ District #5 (marked in pink the map below) covers Overtown, and she’s clearly had a history lesson or two on the role of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in her historic, predominantly black, socio-economically disadvantaged, yet eager-to-reemerge district.
As we’ve extensively noted over the past few days, Resolution #13-00581 (as originally written) would have transferred control of Brickell Avenue from FDOT to the City of Miami.
Referring to Brickell as the “Park Avenue of Miami”, Sarnoff made a compelling case for the resolution, further emphasizing the potential for better speed control and safety provisions on the financial business district’s most critical artery. He continued:
Now we have the opportunity to own Brickell. This is a very, very big piece for the City of Miami — to take ownership and control of its own Park Avenue. And I just don’t want this opportunity to slip.
On these points, TransitMiami couldn’t agree more with Sarnoff.
Critical to understand, though, is that (in its original form) Resolution #13-00581 would have required the City of Miami to give up control of a handful of important streets in the Historic Overtown / Downtown Miami District. In fact, FDOT was actually trying to take more roadway length than it was actually relinquishing.
Fortunately, FDOT’s desperate grab for Overtown’s historic streets met with a ferocious defense from Commissioner Spence-Jones, demonstrating her thorough understanding of the agency’s highway history in Overtown.
Read closely — this one’s a classic!
Unfortunately, FDOT gets an ‘F’ for our community in Overtown.
They have been responsible for not only destroying a very prevalent African-American community, but also displacing many of them, many of the people that live there. [...]
I am very uncomfortable with giving up any anything in Overtown — in any way — until they handle what they promised they’d handle. There’s things that FDOT has said that they’re going to do [...]. They say one thing, and then it’s a totally different thing.
They haven’t done anything that they committed to do. So, you know, for me to give up something or allow them to take one thing over the other and not have them live up to their responsibility to the residents of Overtown — I have an issue and a concern with it.
So all I asked was for [City of Miami Assistant Manager Alice Bravo] and [City of Miami Manager Johnny Martinez] to set-up a meeting with FDOT and let’s go through all these items that the residents of Overtown have asked for that they have not complied with. [...]
It’s amazing that in the midst of getting [Resolution #13-00581] negotiated, my district [District #5] was considered in it without even having a discussion with me . . . because I would have told you then, that anything that FDOT is doing in Overtown — we got issues! [...]
And then, not only that; beyond that: They promised that they would not take anybody’s property. The next thing I know, they’re taking people’s property!
Then I’m hearing again — without us even having a conversation — you know, the properties that we’re building in Overtown, or trying to create in Overtown . . . now they want to take that side of 14th Street and 3rd Avenue from the businesses that we just put money into . . . so — I got issues with FDOT!
It don’t have anything to do with Brickell [...]. [...]
So all I’m asking is that I would like to have a meeting with FDOT to make sure that our issues get resolved. [...]
If you’re talking about giving them something in OT — Yes! The District 5 Commissioner has a big issue and big problem with it. I’m not saying you can’t get [the transfer of Brickell to the City of Miami done ...]
But Overtown — when it comes to I-95, roadways, highways, anything that sounds like that — it’s a problem for us in Overtown.
It destroyed a community. [...]
TransitMiami has one word for Comissioner Spence-Jones: Righteous!
Resolution #13-00581 was ultimately passed (3 commissioners in favor; 0 opposed) at the most recent Commission meeting on June 13. Fortunately, though, the Resolution was amended to exclude at least parts of the streets in the Overtown / Historic Downtown Miami District. TransitMiami will follow-up with more details soon.
As for now, though, just try to bask in a bit of the glory of Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones’ passionate words in defense of her district and the people of Overtown, and our community at-large. Kudos to you, Commissioner Spence-Jones!
Our local public radio station, WLRN, published a fantastic, must-hear/must-see piece this morning on “How I-95 Shattered the World of Miami’s Early Overtown Residents”.
In it, reporter Nadege Green of WLRN / The Miami Herald makes some excellent inquiries into the glorious past that was once thriving Colored Town.
As narrated in the radio piece:
Overtown was known as the Harlem of the South. [Jazz legends] Cab Calloway, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday performed in Miami Beach. But because of segregation, they weren’t allowed to stay there. They’d stay in Overtown . . . at hotels like the Sir John and the Mary Elizabeth. And they jammed late into the night with locals.
As decried by 70 year-old, long-time Overtown resident, General White:
Well there’s nothing but a big overpass now!
He’s referring to Interstates 95 and 395, which Nadege Green explains were built in the 1960s. After that:
Overtown was never the same. [Mr. General White] and thousands of other people here were forced out to make room for the highway.
Be sure to listen and read that eye-opening WLRN piece on the tragic history of the once glorious heart of Miami called Overtown, and the role of the highway in tearing it out.
The City of Miami’s Office of Communications released yesterday a short video on the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust’s (CITT) 2013 Miami-Dade Transportation Summit.
The elevator music and 1980′s electric guitar riff can be a little hard to endure, but it’s nonetheless interesting to have a glimpse at the City’s perspective on the Summit.
Featured in the video are the City’s Assistant Manager, Alice Bravo, who describes the role and responsibility of the CITT. Also featured is the City’s Special Project Assistant, Thomas Rodrigues, who talks about the City’s Trolley(-bus) routes.
Take a gander!
The City of Miami will be voting today on Resolution #13-00581.
This resolution would formalize the transfer of Brickell Avenue — arguably the most economically important thoroughfare in Miami — from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to the City of Miami, from the State to the City.
Under whose jurisdiction do Miami’s downtown streets belong?
Your voice matters! Cast your vote!
At last week’s 2013 Transportation Summit, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 6 Secretary, Mr. Gus Pego, was in attendance.
This was my first encounter with Mr. Pego in person and, despite the criticism we tend to launch at his district, he seemed like a really nice guy.
He was extremely diplomatic during the Summit. He didn’t seem to get defensive when audience members highlighted the contradictory and misguided actions of his agency. Generally, it appeared as if he has developed rather thick skin to cope with the criticisms launched at his agency (many of which have admittedly come from TransitMiami).
Mr. Pego’s demeanor reminded me of a political figure: an approachable, laid-back kind of guy who would be entertaining to have a beer with, but probably not one with whom you’d want to get into anything even slightly resembling a discussion of philosophy.
Nonetheless, you have to give the man credit. His job cannot possibly be easy.
I was among the (surprisingly few) private citizens who questioned Mr. Pego on the role FDOT plays here in Miami.
I asked him specifically about the proposed swap between FDOT and the City of Miami for some downtown Miami streets.
The core of my question was simple: “Why does FDOT want our streets?”
His answer was deceptively reassuring to me; it went something along the lines of:
- Typically when there’s a transfer of road jurisdiction, the municipality [in this case the City of Miami] will try to offset the costs of taking over control and maintenance.
- To offset the costs of controlling and maintaining new streets, the municipality will typically forfeit control of other streets.
- The municipality will typically request that FDOT assume responsibility of these other streets to avoid the extra financial burden.
All right . . . so . . . the City can’t carry the supposedly heavy costs of running its own streets, so it goes to FDOT asking for help. FDOT generously helps them out by taking new streets off their hands. Hmm . . .
It seemed to make sense (for about 11 seconds). But something still didn’t sit right with me. FDOT seemed way too gung-ho about the whole thing.
The last part of Pego’s response was the real doozy:
- If the City of Miami determines that they wish to keep jurisdiction of those streets [as opposed to exchanging them for jurisdiction over Brickell Avenue], then FDOT would be fine with that.
At that point, I thought to myself: Man, this guy’s not the transportation megalomaniac those weirdos over at TransitMiami often try to make him out to be. He’s just a good, straight-talking guy. That’s all. . . .
Ah, but then I found FDOT’s official position on the proposed swap. Then I realized that us summit attendees had been duped. Those words were spoken just to appease those in the crowd who applauded the question.
The truth of the matter is that FDOT does indeed want our streets.
The [Florida Department of Transportation] has recently completed a countywide analysis of potential roadway transfers [...]. The proposed roadway transfers should prove to be beneficial for the City and the State. We look forward to working with the City of Miami in a mutually beneficial relationship to effect these transfers.
Or, here’s the formal City of Miami piece of legislation in the form of a resolution. It also demonstrates how FDOT isn’t the selfless hero Mr. Pego wanted to portray it as:
Whereas, the [Florida Department of Transportation] has determined that it would be beneficial to the State of Florida to assume jurisdictional responsibility for [all the roads listed in the table below].
So . . . FDOT is not, in fact, coming nobly to the City of Miami’s financial rescue as Mr. Pego would like to have us think. Quite the contrary, FDOT is in it for it’s own good, not the well-being of the community.
We can be sure that FDOT does indeed want our streets. The real question persists, though: Why?
They’ve studied our streets, and they’ve targeted the ones they want most. They have plans for them.
What those plans are, I do not know. Mr. Pego, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter . . .
This article was edited for content on 6/13/13 from it’s original format.
Tomorrow, on Thursday, June 13, the City of Miami City Commission will consider Resolution #13-00581.
This resolution would formalize the transfer of virtually all of downtown Miami’s Brickell Avenue from the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to the jurisdiction of the City of Miami.
Think about that: Brickell Avenue. It’s the core of our financial business district and a burgeoning residential and commercial area.
One wonders why FDOT ever had control of one of our city’s most important thoroughfares in the first place.
It’s great news. Our city’s streets belong in the hands of our own local municipalities. They don’t belong in the hands of techno-bureaucrats up in Tallahassee, nor in any other one of FDOT’s just-as-detached satellite offices.
While far from perfect, our local public officials and planners are more sensitive to the day-to-day realities on our streets; they are more aware of land-use dynamics and current and pending real estate developments; they are more conscious of existing long-range and master planning documents (including plans for special districts, public transit corridors, bicycles and greenways, waterfronts, ecologically-sensitive areas, etc.); they typically have deeper, more productive working relationships with other locally-based jurisdictions; they better understand the on-the-ground interplay of bicycle, pedestrian, and motor traffic; they are more sincerely invested in the well-being of the local community of which they themselves are a part; and, most importantly, our local planners and politicians are comparatively far more accessible and accountable to us, the people to whom the streets belong.
So all is well in the Magic City, right? FDOT is beginning to realize that its role in 21st century Miami is growing smaller and smaller and we’re more than capable of running our own streets.
The state transportation juggernaut is starting to return our city streets to the local government authorities because it’s reached the undeniable conclusion that local municipalities and counties can run their own streets better than some gigantic, geographically-disconnected government bureaucracy . . . right?
In exchange for relinquishing Brickell Avenue to the City (where it belongs), FDOT wants something — quite a lot, actually — in return. Specifically, FDOT wants several streets running through the Downtown Miami Historic District (see the table below).
In total, FDOT is trying to take 2.4 center lane miles from the City of Miami in exchange for about 1.9 center lane miles.
(A “center lane mile” is the length of the actual road, from point A to point B. A standard “lane mile” takes into account the number of lanes on that same stretch from point A to point B.)
FDOT wants to take = 2.40 miles
FDOT wants to give = 1.92 miles
Thus, not only is FDOT pursuing streets it really has no right to and should have no interest in to begin with, but it’s actually trying to take more street length from the City than it is offering!
The City Commission will be voting on this around 2:00pm on Thursday, June 13.
Mr. Mayor and City Commissioners: Take what belongs to the people of the City of Miami. Bring Brickell Avenue under our local jurisdiction.
But do not, under any circumstances, forfeit those streets in the Historic Downtown District to the State.
FDOT should give = 1.92 miles
City of Miami should give = 0.00 miles
The real question is: Why does FDOT want control of our local streets to begin with?
We were fortunate to learn of this late last week, when The New Times published it’s Best of Miami preview, which just happened to highlight the winner of the best blog category only: TransitMiami!
Our fearless leader and slave-master, TransitMiami founder and editor-in-chief, Gabriel Lopez-Bernal, wrote a piece evoking in all of us lowly contributors a spurt of happiness and pride for what he claims to be “volunteer” work (before immediately whipping us back to our unpaid servitude!).
We’re also smitten with what The Miami New Times had to say about us too:
In most towns, a blog about transportation would be a snore, but this is Miami. Our shared frustration over the simple task of getting from point A to point B makes our blood boil and unites us all in common ire, for our inane transport system might be the single biggest hurdle preventing the Magic City from becoming a truly world-class town.
Surprisingly, it’s an issue that often finds itself on the back burner among Miami’s media. Thankfully there’s Transit Miami, which has been churning out posts on everything from crosswalks to major Department of Transportation projects since 2006. It’s transportation-activist talk made accessible to the average man, and its multiple contributors take into account the perspectives of everyone from drivers to pedestrians.
In a world where blogging is now dominated by the need for traffic (the profitable web variety), it’s nice to know there’s a blog out there more interested in vehicular traffic.
This sort of recognition reinvigorates our efforts and reminds us of our reason for existing in the first place.
With — and only with — your continued readership and support, we’ll strive to continue fighting the good fight and writing the good write! The future of our beloved community depends on it.
Truly, thanks again, Miami!
Miami is undergoing one of the most magnificent metamorphoses in its history.
One of the impetuses of this transformation is the Florida East Coast Industries’ (FECI) corridor project called All Aboard Florida. The project will link Miami and Southeast Florida to Orlando and Central Florida.
It’s a very big deal.
The fine folks at All Aboard Florida have been kind enough to share with TransitMiami a good aerial view of its 9-acre holdings in the west-central part of our downtown, that drab, de facto government-institutional land-use district in serious need of some transit-oriented development.
We’re hoping the development of the downtown train station — the tentatively named “Miami Grand Central Station” — might just do the trick for this lifeless, barren sea-of-asphalt section of downtown.
All Aboard Florida passed through its first evaluation gauntlet by receiving a formal “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)” from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). According to our contacts over at All Aboard, the project is “still in the environmental process for the entire corridor”.
Things are a-changin’!
On that note, a few weeks back, we here at TransitMiami encouraged you to support the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s effort to have a multi-use trail added to the planned railway. While the official window for public commentary has closed, we’d still like to hear your thoughts!
Cast your vote in the poll below!
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