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Miami MAPPING - An American Caribbean City: A Film Set of the Future

Miami MAPPING - An American Caribbean City: A Film Set of the Future
By Andrea Boschetti -

The CityPlan goes to Miami. This extraordinary city on America’s West Coast, capital of Miami-Dade County has a population of over 5 million, making it the most densely populated metropolitan area in the State of Florida. Its relatively small inner city has a population of around 400 thousand, making Miami one of the most densely populated cities of the United States along with New York, San Francisco and Chicago. As usual our five GIS-based maps help draw a picture of the urban features of this exceptional city built partly on “terra firma” and partly on water.

The population map - as always the blueprint against which to read the others - shows clearly how Miami is contained in the area between Little River to the north and Miami River to the south. The city extends south-west into the Everglades. As with most American cities, Miami’s urban grid is homogeneous and regular, broken only by the natural course of the rivers and the sculpted irregular edges of the Bay of Biscayne to the east - the world-famous bay in front of Downtown Miami enclosed by Miami Beach, a long, narrow strip of land lying across the bay like a protective coral reef and which, if travelled from north to south, leads to SOBE (South Beach) with its famous Ocean Drive and Art Deco district. Albeit on a smaller scale, Miami Beach is also laid out on a regular grid matrix and linked to the mainland city by a series of bridges. 

As can be seen from the contour map, the city is built on flat land, much of it former swamps. Once the area was a huge lagoon, and still today much of the surface area is still underwater (about one third of the total of 150,000 sq km). Water is everywhere and you don’t have to dig very far to find it. Which is why practically no buildings have below-grade levels.

Miami’s population is mainly concentrated in its central hub, i.e. Downtown Miami and in the neighbourhoods of Little Havana and...

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