Elements of Urbanism: South Miami

December 28, 2010 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at the small city of South Miami.

Tale of the Tape

South Miami Population 2009: 11,119 (City); 5,547,051 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1927)

Jacksonville Pop. 2009: 813,518 (City); 1,328,144 (Metro) - (incorporated in 1832)

City population 1950: Jacksonville (204,517); South Miami (---,---)

City Land Area

South Miami: 2.3 square miles
Jacksonville: 757.7 square miles

Metropolitan Area Growth rate (2000-2009)

South Miami (Miami): +10.77%
Jacksonville: +18.29%

Urban Area Population (2000 census)

South Miami (Miami): 4,919,036 (ranked 5 nationwide)
Jacksonville: 882,295 (ranked 43 nationwide)

Urban Area Population Density (2000 census)

South Miami (Miami): 4,407.4
Jacksonville: 2,149.2

City Population Growth from 2000 to 2009

South Miami: +378
Jacksonville: +72,312

Convention Center Exhibition Space:

South Miami: N/A
Jacksonville: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center (1986) - 78,500 square feet

Connected to Convention Center:

South Miami: N/A
Jacksonville: N/A

Tallest Building:

South Miami:
Jacksonville: Bank of America Tower - 617 feet

Fortune 500 companies 2010 (City limits only):

South Miami: N/A  
Jacksonville: CSX (259), Winn-Dixie (306), Fidelity National Financial (366)


Urban infill obstacles:

South Miami: US highway 1 splits the city in half.
Jacksonville: State & Union Streets cut off Downtown Jacksonville from Springfield.


Downtown Nightlife:

South Miami: Shops of Sunset Place
Jacksonville: East Bay Street


Common Downtown Albatross:

Surface parking lots.

Who's Downtown is more walkable?

South Miami: -- out of 100, according to walkscore.com
Jacksonville: 88 out of 100, according to walkscore.com

Visual Information

Green = Jacksonville's city limits (current urban core) before consolidation in 1968
Red = Jacksonville's current consolidated city-county limits

Jacksonville's current (Red) and original (Green) city limit boundaries over South Miami's land area (Purple).

About South Miami

South Miami is a suburban city in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The population was 10,741 at the 2000 census and as of 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau is 10,769.  South Miami is served by the Miami Metrorail at the South Miami Station. The station is in front of the Shops at Sunset Place and services the surrounding South Miami neighborhood, including South Miami Hospital and the South Miami city government offices.

An early land owner of the area, W.A. Larkins owned property west of Red Road and Sunset Drive. He built the first grocery store in the area, and as the community grew, a post office was placed in the community. Larkins became the first Postmaster, and the community took the name of "Larkins". A depot was placed along the Florida East Coast Railway.

In 1926, area residents wanted to incorporate their area, and because of the booming city to the north of them, they chose the name of "South Miami". The original town boundaries were Red Road on the east, Kendall Drive to the south, Palmetto Road to the west (now Palmetto Expressway), and Bird Road to the north. The year 1926 also saw the first incoming class of freshmen at the newly chartered University of Miami campus, which abuts the city of South Miami eastern boundary along Red Road (SW 57th Avenue). Also founded with a university theme that same year was the Cambridge Lawns neighborhood of South Miami, situated just 0.7 miles from the university campus. The neighborhood's Cambridge Lawns Historic District, some 30 homes in the Tudor Revival and Mediterranean revival style completed in 1928, were granted historic recognition by the City of South Miami in 2005.

In 1933, the original six square miles of South Miami were reduced to just over three miles (5 km) due to an effort to reduce municipal responsibilities. The city's size was reduced again in 1937, and many of the northern city residents sued to get out of the city. This is why the city of South Miami has the most irregular boundaries of any city in Miami-Dade County today.

South Miami Hospital

The Shops at Sunset Place is an outdoor shopping mall in South Miami, Florida (at the intersection of US-1 and Red Road/SW 57th Avenue). The mall opened in 1999 and is owned and managed by the Simon Property Group.

The Shops at Sunset Place currently houses Florida's only Niketown location;[citation needed] and Miami's only Gameworks, Z Gallerie, and Dan Marino's Town Tavern locations. It is also houses the exclusive locations of MartiniBar and Scorpico Multiplayer.  A Splitsville Luxury Lanes and Dinner Lounge bowling alley was added in 2008.

Prior to the building of Sunset Place, the property was the site of The Bakery Centre, which opened in 1986 on the site of the old Holsum Bread Bakery. The Bakery Centre was a retail and office complex that included a 7-screen AMC Theatres multiplex. It was demolished in 1996.

Article and photos by Ennis Davis