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Miami Attempts to Wall Off Crime, Screws Up City in the Process

Florida, to its detriment, has become the national capital of the gated community. Not only do fenced neighborhoods make it nearly impossible to walk anywhere, they also help perpetuate and institutionalize social divisions, which was brought home recently by the Trayvon Martin case.

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Sadly, however, public officials in the Miami region still enthusiastically embrace walls and fences in the name of crime prevention, Felipe Azenha writes today at Network blog Transit Miami:

We often hear that Miami is becoming a world-class city, but the sad truth is that Magic City is quickly becoming the country’s first gated city. What’s even worse is our elected officials are championing and using public funds to build walls and fences along the public right-of way, reducing mobility options for the general public and dividing communities in a futile attempt to reduce crime. This type of reactive urban planning is being used by elected officials to appease their constituents, but the truth is there is no evidence that gated communities are any safer than non-gated communities.

A few years ago, the city coughed up about $1,700,000 to build a wall for the Coral Gate community.  Here are the pictures of our elected officials celebrating their ugly tax-payer funded wall.  What’s even worse is that these pictures are posted on the city of Miami’s website as if this is something to be proud of; it’s not. Quite frankly, it is an embarrassment. A world-class city should not support gated communities, much less pay for them.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Review STL looks at the sad second incarnation of a big box store as a reminder that once these monster buildings are in place, they're likely to hang around for 30 years or more. The Green Lane project explains how Portland retailers came to embrace bike parking, even at the expense of car parking. And My Wheels are Turning compares the price of walking and biking with taking an airplane.

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