September 20, 2018

Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood might be a world-famous tourist destination, the heart of Cuban culture outside of Cuba itself. But beyond the few blocks of tour buses — and despite abutting one of the nation’s booming downtown areas — it has done surprisingly well at maintaining its ethnic heritage. Almost everyone who lives and works there is either Cuban, Cuban-American or from elsewhere in Latin America, and the neighborhood remains rooted in this culture. Spanish is the first language on the streets, salsa music booms from storefronts, and retail strips are lined with Caribbean cuisine. It’s not unusual to find live chickens running though people’s backyards. The architectural fabric consists largely of Spanish-style center hallway buildings that were constructed after World War I, and has not been interspersed with condos and yoga studios.

The reason this surprises me is that, often when visiting neighborhoods like this that abut wealthy areas, I find that they’ve gentrified beyond their original ethnic heritage. For example in San Francisco…[read the rest here]

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