Miami’s Little Havana

 Originally a lower-middle-class Southern and thriving Jewish neighborhood in the 1930s, Little Havana emerged in the 1960s as the concentration of Cubans in the area grew sharply due to large numbers of immigrants fleeing Castro’s regime. Arriving residents expected their stay in Miami would be temporary, but this obviously was not the case and by 1970, the neighborhood was more than 85% Cuban.  While the pct of Hispanics here is still around 85%, it is much more diverse as Little Havana welcomes many newly arrived immigrants from Central and South America.

From an urban perspective East Little Havana does well as one of Miami’s most dense neighborhoods, has great access to Dwtn with quality public transit, lots of Hispanic cultural activity along with a decent night life, and some of the most affordable housing so close to Dwtn. It also has many well rated walkable schools and safety has improved significantly over the past couple of decades.

But there is still a lot of grit and underinvestment here and many auto centric/bland commercial stretches. Nice urban stretch along Calle 8 between 17th and 13th St and some good stretches along Flager St. Park and bike amenities are also limited along with economic and racial diversity. I anticipate with the real estate pressures in Miami that East Little Havana will continue to revitalize and create better urban in-fill. As long as the % of preserved affordable housing remains high and residents are given opportunities for home ownership, I welcome this change.

Click here to view my Little Havana album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great Density with 27K people per square mile.
* Generally very good ADA infrastructure and curb cuts throughout.
* Great access to downtown along with solid transit access.
* Excellent connectivity with a very consistant grid across the neighborhood.
* Good # of walkable schools and generally well rated.
* For sale housing is very affordable for Miami Standards. Lots of 1-beds selling  btwn 100K-300K, 2-beds sell anywhere btwn 100K-600K depending on size & condition, Nice 3 & 4 beds SF homes selling btwn 300K-500K generally.
* Rental prices are pretty expensive compared to for-sale prices in Little Havana but modest compared to most of Miami. Most 1-beds leasing in the 1Ks with some luxury product leasing in the 2Ks, 2-beds lease btwn 1.5K-3.4K depending on size and condition. Some 3-bed options lease btwn 2K-5K.
* Little Havana has thousands of dedicated afford. hsg units.
* Cultural amenities include a great array of Hispanic restaurants, a decent # of bars, several night clubs & art galleries, a handful of community theaters, an indie theater, and a couple of local museums. There are very concentrated along Calle Oche.
* Decent retail amenities including one supermarket and plenty of grocerias, several drug stores and banks, several boutiques & gift shops along Calle 8, lots of discount stores, several gyms, and tons of dessert places. There is also a local library, plenty of churches, and lots of medical centers (but no major hospital). 

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Bike infrastructure is so  with along one dedicated bike lane and a couple  of dedicated bike stations.
* Large majority Hispanic population of around 87%.
* Not great economic diversity as 28% of population is in poverty and the rest of the population is pretty working class.
* Little Havana is far less dangerous today than in its past but still higher crime than other parts of Miami.
* Tree canopy is decent but below average for Miami.
* Park amenities are limited to a handful of small and medium sized parks. Very lacking for this size of a neighborhood.
* Some nice art deco apartments sprinkled throughout (esp. along the easter edge) and nice historic commercial retail along Calle 8 but most historic and mid-century architecture is gritty and bland.
* Some newer multi-family developments have popped up throughout Little Havana and decent in-fill bldgs along Calle 8. But much of the newer structures are auto centric are pretty bland.
* Decent urban form along Calle 8 for 4 blocks and spots of Flagler but much of the biz district are autocentric.

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