Little Haiti Ecodistrict

Miami, Florida, United States

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Neighborhood Type: Mixed-Use

Size: 3.5 Square Miles

Lead Stakeholder: Serge Rodriguez

The culturally vibrant Little Haiti neighborhood is approximately 3.5 square miles in size, and is ideally located within the City of Miami, Florida. Less than five miles north of the bustling downtown Miami development scene and nestled adjacent to world renowned Miami Design District, trendy mixed-use Wynwood, Midtown, and Upper Eastside neighborhoods, Little Haiti stands out as an authentic reflection of the diversity of Miami’s cultural heritage. According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5 Year Estimates (2009-2013), Little Haiti is home to approximately 30, 000 inhabitants, the majority of which are of Afro Caribbean and Haitian descent. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Haitian immigrants migrated from Haiti and settled into the area, creating a vibrant neighborhood as envisioned by Viter Juste, the founding father of Little Haiti.

Today, the rising cost of real estate in adjacent neighborhoods has attracted a new array of art galleries, restaurants, and a handful of other creative industries that are expanding the cultural fabric of Little Haiti. At the same time, a possible passenger rail station and other larger scaled mixed- use projects unveiled by developers will soon change the face of Little Haiti. In May 2016 there was a show of solidarity by Haitian Americans and other community stakeholders to preserve the identity of the neighborhood after investors attempted to re-brand the area as Lemon City in lieu of Little Haiti. As a result, the City of Miami voted to officially recognized and designate the area roughly between 54th Street and 79th Street, and Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue, as Little Haiti. This milestone has prompted the activation of community-wide stakeholders to explore neighborhood development practices that are more equitable, sustainable, and beneficial to the community at large.

Following this historic milestone, the Little Haiti Ecodistrict is established to further galvanize Little Haiti’s community stakeholders to collaborate on implementing comprehensive neighborhood development processes that will usher in a timely revitalization of Little Haiti and prioritize its sustainability amidst the effects of gentrification. The imperatives for stakeholder collaboration will be rooted in Equity, Resilience, and Climate Protection, together with the initial priority indicators focused on: 1) Place: (Culture+ Identity, Affordable Housing, Inclusive civic engagement), 2) Prosperity: (Access to Opportunity, Economic development, Innovation, and 3) Health & Wellbeing: (Active Living, Health, Safety, Food systems).

This historic revitalization initiative will identify and prioritize key aspects of the re-emerging Little Haiti neighborhood that can collectively serve as a portfolio of assets that will help cultivate the community’s long-term socioeconomic and cultural vitality. As the first of its kind in Miami and in the broader South Florida region, the Little Haiti Ecodistrict can become a model for legacy protocols that will facilitate responsible neighborhood development in other underserved communities. The Little Haiti Ecodistrict is hereby the rise of Little Haiti’s revitalization.

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