Theses Master's

Cultural Heritage Preservation For At-Risk Communities - A Little Haiti, Miami Case Study

Wroy, Moisa

Thesis Statement: In the current contemporary urban landscape, preservation and development disproportionately place communities of color and migrant populations at-risk of losing their built and social fabric. This thesis will explore how this vulnerability arises, through examining the historic preservation toolkit relating to at-risk communities. This examination will be done through a case study of Little Haiti Miami.

Little Haiti was chosen as the case study because the neighborhood is one of Miami's largest cultural neighborhoods that is formally recognized, by the Miami Commissioners Office, yet designated as a Historic District. This case study will provide a base to review Miami’s current cultural preservation policies and the ability to serve immigrant populations in retaining spatial and cultural autonomy. This thesis concludes with a set of policy policy critiques and recommendations.

Rationale: The research in this thesis takes a people-based approach to what preservation means for cultural communities at risk of displacement through development. This will be guided under the premise that cultural displacement is not adequately looked at through different cultural communities, but rather through a one-size-fits-all approach.

This thesis will look through a series of lenses to review development through the case of Little Haiti Miami as compared to other cultural communities and predominant Miami neighborhoods that have withstood displacement threats and have been able to use it to their economic advantage. In the field of Historic Preservation, there is a tendency to prioritize architectural style, often from the European perspective. This inclination can inadvertently neglect cultural neighborhoods, making it crucial to compare preserved structures to neglected ones.

Recommendations: The thesis will summarize recommendations of new preservation policy regarding Management Overhaul Systems, which include the implementation of social media preservation and test calendars. Art and Mural expression as form of preservation of notable residents to integrate culture into preservation practice in Miami and the integration of Neighborhood Conservation Overlays into preservation with tools from the development toolkit that has previously acted as a form of community displacement.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Ghoshal, Shreya
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
May 29, 2024