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CityLab
Transportation

Downtown as a Template for Miami's Future

One of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods is leading the way, but also wrestling with challenges.
Miami's Metrorail train in downtown Miami, Florida.
Miami's Metrorail train in downtown Miami, Florida. Reuters/Joe Skipper

People in Miami love their cars, and for good reason: it’s not exactly one of the most walkable large cities in the U.S., ranking just 22nd in a George Washington University/Smart Growth America study of the 30 largest U.S. metros.

And yet there are signs Miami is trading in its decades of auto-centric urban design for a denser, more pedestrian-friendly model. Downtown Miami, where The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute, and Bloomberg Philanthropies are hosting the CityLab 2016 conference October 23-25, is leading the charge into that walkable future. In the process, the neighborhood is running straight into challenges likely to plague the rest of the metro area as it makes its move toward density.