Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Miami Dade's Struggles for Economic Development

1. “People follow jobs” and workforce housing Crisis in South Florida

Whereas FIU Metropolitan Center studies for Palm Beach and Broward Counties demonstrated a clear correlation between hosing demand and the economy of South Florida, their most recent study of Monroe County, the summer vacations place of Key West, shows ever further dismay. Startling statistics describe an aging population growing, as the working class is migrating out. For example, in 2006 the influx of newcomers continued (eight percent since 2005), but the overall Monroe County population decreased by six percent from 2000 to 2006.[1]
The ratio of paid workers is low relative to the national average. Monroe County’s per capita income only increased from $26,102 to $36,564, or six percent from 2000-2006, whereas the rest of the country saw a great booming economy. And interesting, household earning social security income increased 16 percent in the same time period. It can be said that more Americans are retiring and moving to Key West, while the working population of the community is leaving. But why would they leave the sun and fun of South Florida?
The Metropolitan Center suggests it’s not affordable. With raising housing costs and low paid salaries for services jobs, workers are not inclined to stay. The community’s schoolteachers, registered nurses, police and sheriff's patrol officers are making a median income of $52,000 per year. Yet, at these salaries people are unable to afford homes to live in.
Using normal baking standards, at that income rate, the average consumer is able to pay, with a five percent down payment, on a single median income home approximately $150,000, but in Monroe County that same house costs $550,000 leaving nearly $400,000 as an affordability gap. For multi-family homes it’s about the same. And rental properties leave the situation even bleaker: whereas at the same rate, monthly affordable rent (set at approximately 30 percent of monthly income after taxes) is approximately $1,300 and spaces available are approximately $2,500 leaving another gap of $1200.
            The irony becomes vindictive when you see the increase in the housing supply. From 1990-2000 Monroe County’s housing inventory increased from 46,215 to 51,617 units or 12 percent growth. Both new single-family (6,235 units) and multi-family (4,408 units) homes were constructed. In addition to condos and other vacation living spaces. Of course the problem becomes clear, as the workforce is forced out of the expensive homes in Monroe County, and the aging population is increasing to live their later years, there is no one there to take care of them. Also the vibrant young community is becoming old and rancid. Therefore, the county government needs to act. It should look at this series of recommendations including the interrelationship amount economic development, housing, transportation and land use in order to change the cycle and create a young vibrant society again.
            First essential recommendation is looking at the housing prices. What will go up must come down and the US is currently on the verge of a recession dictated by the housing prices nation wide. But regardless if the single median income home costs $550,000 were reduced to $400,000, it still would be unattainable to the average working class sales manager. So the county needs to develop local subsidies for regional housing. It can do this in several ways including:  capping rental property to make it more affordable, taxing the landlords of the new condo buildings to pay for workforce housing; and legislating an affordable housing law. If developers and real estate owners are unwilling to pay the tax, the city could enforce that each new building built have X number of units to the workforce population or for people who make below a certain income. The taxed funds could go into a land trust for the city to bid contractors to build its own rental properties, but this should be done at last resort, because there is an increased surplus at this moment of homes.
            The land trust could also be used to improve the local infrastructure. For example it could build better roads for areas outside of the main cities. That way, workers could purchase or live outside the area and drive in. But this doesn’t create a very high quality of life for them, as they will have to be living in their cars instead of enjoying the SOFL sun.
            Future issuance of building permits on the land should also be analyzed. The city government should be more vigilant to where the developers want to build. With a housing supply boom, it is up to the government to decide cites locations for the new constructions through issuing building permits in the appropriate locations. Now that the islands are productive, it is up to the state to manage its resources better.
Another possibility is vouchers offered to workers in particular fields to live in newly constructed buildings. Similarly to school vouchers, the housing voucher offered either by the State of Florida or the Federal government though the offices of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), could assist to off set the costs. A new formula would need to be developed and regulated for who would receive the housing voucher, ensuring the public good of housing meet the workforce demand.
If these housing vouchers were located in local areas where the city centers are located, new mix-use urban spaces could be developed in Key West. The city could create a new vibrant feel—eliminating the need for cars and recreating the true retirement community. This economic development model, creating the retirement community for the future, could spur further growth for the area. In so much that after the first housing crisis is addressed, the model for development, focusing on retirement homes, nurses, doctors and other workers would be attached to move to the area for work as will the retries will want to move to the ideal community to spend their latter days, could produce higher levels of growth.
Working with developers, maybe the best avenue for growth. New mix-use, smart growth concepts will also draw new business into the community. Where as the current housing shortage could turn into an asset if the community creates short term measures for long-term development ideas.
The city government and advantageous engaged people can build the foundation for changing policy. They need to create collaborations, partnerships and alliances between the developers, city government, NGOs, CBCs and organize a lending consortium for the working class to attain affordable mortgages. They can also help by creating an employer assisted housing program and use public education with these sad statistics do generate support.
Additionally, the Metropolitan Center has suggested creating employer-assisted housing (EAH), which engages the employer to pay with a collaborative model for their workers to live in the area. Furthermore, the county can legislate to build rental housing in targeted locations with aggressive land acquisition, regulatory incentives and provide positive economic befits to do so. Finally, the city maybe establish an affordable housing preservation programs whereby they target neighborhoods to rehabilitate existing old homes, by providing purchasing/rehabilitation incentives like tax relief.
If the old adage of “people follow jobs,” is added to the economic development model of catering to the elderly with an attainable quality of life, Monroe County has little to fear. The people, including the government, must make sure they are in control of its own development. It can off set the short-term housing crisis with legislating housing taxes for the working class. Also a land trust can be set up to create housing vouchers. The government can later develop permits for mixed use and smart growth development. Additional resources can aid to build infrastructure; fixing roadways can help attached more people to travel to the area as well as transport the working class. But of course, a consolidated and coordinated working plan is necessary as well as patients, because development takes time. If action is not taken, the housing gap could develop into an employment gap. Currently this is not the case. A pro-active population can control the situation with the various measures listed above to not only have a prosperous society but also one that can afford to live where they work.
2. Build and Retain a Creative Class in Miami

Outlined in the Metropolitan Center’s Target Industry Study, which provided an assessment of growth and competitive of existing industries in Miami, identified the motion picture, furniture and plastics as places for potential industrial development. All of these industries could be categorized as the Creative Class. In order for the city of Miami to take advantage of these findings, it should to take into account Richard Florida’s creative class argument regarding the new economy, clustering and new social capital and network energy. In addition, economic development specialist should review Jane Jacobs’ argument of economic growth for cities as the shift from specialization to diversification. Michael Porters’ argument of competitive advantage of the city is also relevant. Finally, the city of Miami should also engage the comprehensive plan to create a strategic plan for growth, development and revisualization.
What Florida is so successful at doing is quantifying the qualitative information most hipsters, designers and artist already knew. Richard Florida, a professor at George Mason University, pulls data from various sources including census data to form the emerging “creative class” of professionals.[2] This includes “people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content.” Then in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, he argues they share a class, like the working class of the 1950s or the service class of the 1990s. He adds that both geography and non-traditional forms of social capital are important elements for this group to grow.
Basically he describes a new way to dissect today’s economy and provides evidence of how its effects social and cultural modalities of American life. Of prominent importance is the venture capital, which stimulates this class to create new ideas. Also relevant is the social capital, people talking to one another in a specific geographical area helps spur economic growth and development.
One great criticism to his work is this amalgamation of various professionals into one group.[3] He addresses this in The Next American City journal article by saying “The Rise of the Creative Class has little to do with making cities yuppie-friendly, though leftist critics have tried to frame it (and belittle its message) in that way.”[4] No, Florida insists, as Karrie Jacobs’ point out: “My core message is that human creativity is the ultimate source of economic growth. Every single person is creative in some way. And to fully tap and harness that creativity we must be tolerant, diverse, inclusive.”[5]
In that same vein, it can be argued that, Florida's book appeals to the narcissist in all of us, suggesting that we are all creative and want to apart of what is beautiful and individualistic, as art is. Yet the massification of the book has brought the developers into the intercity by droves leaving little for the individuality that originally lead the movement by artist, hipsters and the like. But Florida’s argument of creating an enabling environment in a cities location is good for economic development as well as diversification and rebuilding of a city’s center.
Richard Florida’s book is heavily influenced by Jane Jacobs who was the unknown social activist that rewrote history with her book “The Death and the Life of American Cities.”[6] With foundations starting the “New Urbanism” movement, Jacobs’ books provided prolific non-academic attempts to change the way cities where designed and managed. Renowned for her idea of public spaces she pressured hard for cities to be open and friendly community places. She also focused her attention on the economic development of cities. Defying neo-classical economics belief that economies where developed by macro economies, she argued in Cities and the Wealth of Nations that cities could promote growth. This argument as pushed further when she added biology of into defining the difference of development and growth—terms often intertwined in economic literature.[7] She also promoted diversification instead of the specialization. She may have been the first to describe spin-offs. Suggesting that the dynamics of development are not static but their effects generate not just specialization but additional parent-child generations of new knowledge.
Furthermore, Michael Porters’ argument of competitive advantage of a city and his push towards creating development clusters is also relevant. The guru of clusters, Porter uses local economic development (LED) theory to describe how to revitalize inter-cities of America.[8]  He describes developing inter-cities because of their extreme forms of inequalities, high barriers to entry for new businesses with deep bureaucracy that are protected by tribal like interest groups. Porter’s last policy recommendation for inter-cities is to promote the community development activities like enterprise zone initiative.
The objective of cluster analysis is not only to determine the interrelated industries, but also the emerging firms which do not have a high quantitative analysis under the location quotients or shift/share analysis. Arguable, the Metropolitan Center identify Miami’s market strengths and found the following clusters were emerging, i.e. motion picture, furniture and plastics industries.
Therefore what strategies should the city of Miami use to develop its industrial policy? First off, the study has evoked economic development theory and Jane Jacobs “to create from within” argument. In addition, Richard Florida suggests cities should advertise quality of place and attract new talent to migrate to these areas. For example, the city of Miami should not need to attract new business, but looking within its community to see where its competitive advantage lies. Furthermore, Michael Porter’s model includes the accessibility of human resources and where the creative class of artist and designers do not necessarily have to have high levels of college education—but rather creativity, the motion picture, furniture and plastics can fit this niche. Of course one needs to view this definition very liberally to what the creative class is and how it can truly “develop” the city of Miami. But several steps can be made to strengthen this area.
Therefore policy recommendations could be: 1) start developing the FEC corridor as mix used space; 2) create workers guilds in the identified geographic areas of motion picture, furniture and plastics industries; 3) set up an incubators, industrial parks and tax-free areas for locals to meet and interact; 4) design user-friendly open spaces for artist to display their work and create community support; 5) promote products by hosting trade shows and fairs. Finally as the study suggests the city should develop a Business Development Office within the City’s Department of Economic Development to provide economic assistance for small business in the FEC Corridor and develop a Mayor’s Invention Award to advertise the Mayor’s progressive work in this area.
The notion of place based development and attraction for where you live is important to attached new entrepreneurs in the creative class to the area. Whereas the city cannot directly encourage people to migrate to Miami, it can do produce beautification policies which enhance the local environment for artists in the media industry, iron crafters, plastics modeling developers, or the like to do business in Miami.
Finally if prosperous, according the Florida, individuals will naturally migrate to where their industry hub is located.

3. Apply the TOD model for Miami’s FEC corridor

Transit Oriented Development (TODs) is defined as “residential and commercial centers designed to maximize access by transit and non-motorized transportation, and with other features to encourage transit ridership.”[9] A TOD neighborhood has a center with a rail or bus station, surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density spreading outwards. It has been sited, along with smart growth and mix-use development, as answers to new problems of urban sprawl, pollution, and loss of farmlands and wetlands by the “New Urbanism” movement.[10]
The basic premise of the TOD model is to create a mixed-use neighborhood accessible to other areas in the city.[11] Mixed-use development has shops, schools and other public services integrated among homes that can include condos, townhouses, single-family or multi-family located in a concentrated area. The shops are typically below the condos or apartments in large building with overhangs. In these neighborhoods there is plenty of open public space, like parks and ball fields, accessible by walking. Shops include restaurants, small clothing stores, hardware or supermarkets, etc. The area is designed to create high quality of space/place in order to have a higher quality of life.
The integration with quality of life and transit-oriented development comes from urban sprawl. The time used in cars by many Americans have degreased time they are able to spend with their families. If services were located closer to home it would mean less trips in the car. In addition, living and working closer to home eliminate the time to travel to and from work allowing more personal time to spend with your family or otherwise. In addition TOD provides solutions to pollution, for example eliminating those car trips helps diminish emissions into the air. The idea is to stop the further audacious development of roadways, public infrastructure such as electric, water and gas, currently paid for by US taxpayers. The smart growth initiative urges to use the same money into developing higher quality urban centers instead of over extending and developing America’s hinterlands.
The ideas of TOD and smart growth come from 1960s prolific writer Jane Jacobs. The new urbanists have adopted many of her principles. She promoted the idea of rebuilding cities as a holistic approach. Her legendary book, The Death and Life of the Great American City, written in 1961 described Greenwich Village in late 1950s.[12]  Jacobs, not a planner, but knew the city was going through huge urban renewal, when the city government proposed to develop a highway through a poor areas of the city. Not only writing a book, she also fought back city hall to stop the development.
Jacobs developed four major tenets to help create economic diversity in neighborhoods and corridors. First cities should shorten blocks. She argued, that if city blocks were shorter and with more corners, it would create an opportunity for the pedestrians to run into neighbors more frequently. Linearity, she added, distracts communication between neighbors. Next, she focused on urban design. For her it was important for people to want to live in a community. In order to have that community by in, city officials should take pride to create beatification projects where they live. Next, Jacobs suggested having 24/7 cities. She argued that where activity is located and there are more eyes on the streets, there is inversely less crime. Finally, Jacobs argued for higher concentration. The high density creates higher quality of life for its users. People will have different reasons like shopping, living, eating, work and enjoying entertainment to share the same space and build community.
Taking the TOD model and Jacobs urban ideas and applying them to the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway/ corridor as an integrated community develop plan should include various development plans. [13] The FEC study looked at the inner-city redevelopment area consisting of nearly 1400 acres, from 14th to 79th streets. The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area include Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti. (But first a caveat, this essay will not go into specific detail, as the writer is a new resident to south Florida and the Miami area and doesn’t have first hand experience to the community in which this apply, which is essential with any community development plan.) The primary urban issues of the FEC corridor are transit, housing, and economic development.[14]
First, transit is the way people move from their homes to their jobs, go shopping and seek entertainment. Using a smart growth approach, the new mid-town neighborhood should be designed for cycling and walking. In addition, the area should include a tri-rail system for local transportation including above the ground metro system, trolleys and on-time buses. It should include hubs that link passengers to additional cities and urban areas like downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Kendal, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Furthermore, the transportation hubs should link to major airports, seaports, and bus and train stations. The urban design of the middle-town of Miami should have its streets with good connectivity and feature fluid traffic, eliminating awkward intersections, miss-match streets, and boulevards without sidewalks.
Specific neighborhoods within the mid-town district would have a diameter of one-quarter to one-half mile in size. Each new section would be presented with a physical gate to characterize the area. This creates community pride.[15] Once residents are proud of their location they will work hard to revitalize their area. Small capital improvements with neighborhood gates could make all the difference in rebuilding Miami’s mid-town.
Finally, in order to tackle parking management and beatification, the city should reduce the amount of land devoted to parking. In Ballston, Virginia, where I most recently worked, all parking was below ground or adjacent to the schoolyard or the shopping center. The city encouraged the people to arrive by foot to alleviate cars in the area. The federal government supported this policy with transportation vouchers to public employees who use mass transit, like city buses, metro or chartered buses.
Next, the city of Miami in order to develop the mid-town neighborhoods should engage in Mixed-use development that includes houses, shops, schools and other public services. Jane Jacobs promoted “diversification” within in the economy and the regional spaces. The city should offer housing in this new area for a diversity of customers. It should include condos, single-family, multi-family homes, and rental property and town homes, etc. The integration of classes and types of people creates a sense of community. In addition, people can stay in their geographic area as their lifestyles change, from single, to family-life, to retirement without having to leave their community. Not only by managing the land use, with permits and smart code, the government can also provide housing vouchers to subsidize the area.[16] This helps prevent full gentrification or the complete exodus of lower-income residents from the area.
Finally when developing the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway, the city of Miami should think of possible economic development opportunities for its new and existing residence. In order to follow the TOD concept, residents should be able to remain in their neighborhood to work or be able to transport themselves without a car to their workstations. Miami’s high service economy of nearly 80 percent should focus on developing service type jobs.
 The regional neighborhoods in the FEC/Mid-town area including Buena Vista, Wynwood, Edgewater and Little Haiti are highly disadvantaged. One Web site suggested that the corridor is “comprised of a mix of industrial, warehouse, commercial and residential uses with a disproportionate share of vacant parcels and underutilized buildings. Most of the neighborhoods within the corridor have double-digit unemployment rates due to the loss of 19,150 jobs in the area between 1980 and 1995. The corridor contains 70% of the city's remaining land zoned for industrial and warehouse uses.”[17] Therefore city officials must be very careful when redeveloping this area and it should focus on creating jobs for its residence.
For example the city could bring in big box stores in the neighborhood hubs and begin area shopping centers. Next the city could promote growth with service jobs providing the regional transit system, subsidized by the city and national government. The city could uses encourage the creative class professionals outlined above to create emerging clusters, i.e. motion picture, furniture and plastics industries, hubs, guilds, incubators and the like. Finally the city should set up job banks with regional offices in each of the neighborhoods. Linking the job banks with employment databases, equivalent university and technical college programs will increase the likelihood for people to find jobs. Additionally, social service centers should be adjacent to the job banks to assist the needed with childcare, distribute health and welfare provisions and monitor the progress of the workers. Although gentrification is a possible externality, it may be overcome with an effective redevelopment strategy including housing vouchers, community solidarity and carrying development professionals in the area.

[1] FIU Metropolitan Center study of Monroe County, Statistics presented in this section come from PowerPoint presentation from class. The original PPT was prepared for the Partnership For Community Housing of Monroe County.

[2] Florida, Richard, Rise of the Creative Class, Basic Books: 2002.
[3] Jacobs, Karrie, “Why I Don’t Love Richard Florida,” Metropolis Magazine, Posted February 22, 2005, http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/story.php?artid=1151
[4] ibid
[5] ibid
[6] Jacobs, Jane, The Death and the Life of Great American Cities, New York Vintage Books, 1961.
[7] Ellerman, David, “How do We Grow? Jan Jacobs on Diversification and Specialization,” Challenge, vol. 48, no. 3, May-June 2005.
[8] Porter, Michael. “The Competitive Advantage of the Inter-City,” Harvard Business Review: May-June 2005.

[9] From our class notes and from the trade Web site: http://www.transitorienteddevelopment.org/
[10] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the Smart Growth Web site http://www.smartergrowth.net
[11] For comprehensive descriptive text and several stimulating links visit the New Urbanism Web site located http://www.newurbanism.org
[12] Jim Kunstler's (author of Geography of Nowhere) interview of Jane Jacobs for Metropolis Magazine in Toronto, Canada in March 2001: visit http://www.kunstler.com/mags_jacobs1.htm. Also for a discussion on Jacobs interpretation of economic development, see “How do We Grow?” by David Ellerman, published in Challenge, vol. 48. no. 3, May/June 2005.
[13] For the Metropolitan Center’s FEC study results visit: http://www.miamigov.com/economicdevelopment/pages/ProjectsInitiatives/FECExecutiveSummary.asp
[14] Our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[15] From our textbook: Edward Blakely and Ted Bradshaw in Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice (Sage Publications: 2002).
[16] See http://www.smartcodecentral.org/about2.html
[17] Visit http://gislab.fiu.edu/gisrsal/frames/fec/home.html for an interactive map of the area.

Registro de Revistas sobre Administración Pública, Gestión y Política Pública en Latinoamérica

Aqui esta un Registro de revistas que trabaja los temas de administración pública, gestión y política pública en Latinoamérica .  Falta ...