Chinatown in North Miami? City leaders exploring new arts district

As planners, I would like to know: Can we force a “Chinatown” and expect it to be prosperous? Should we even try? What are the ethics?

It will be interesting to watch and see what comes of North Miami’s attempt.


In an area of North Miami known more for small shops, strip-mall design and some degree of stagnation over the years, the city is looking to the Far East for inspiration.

The city council on Feb. 23 approved plans to study and designate a Chinatown cultural arts and innovation district, which would run along Northwest Seventh Avenue (U.S. 441) from 119th to 135th streets. The plan has been met with a fair share of raised eyebrows about the thought process behind the designation.

Vice Mayor Alix Desulme is spearheading the effort to establish Chinatown in District 4, the mostly Haitian and African-American area he represents for the city. He said he recognizes that the idea might be bold but he doesn’t think it’s out of place in North Miami.

“This is about economic development, this is about changing the face of North Miami, and this is about changing the face of my district,” Desulme said at the meeting.

Much of the opposition from residents in the city’s Sunkist Grove neighborhood and on the west side stems from their belief that Seventh Avenue already has an established cultural identity.

“You have been betraying the trust of people who have lived in that area, in their homes, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years to accommodate some other culture to be developed,” resident Jessica Alston said at the meeting… See the full article @

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