Meet the Mayor : Manny Diaz

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As mayor Manny Diaz presides over his city, he sees Miami – much like Dubai – as a thriving hotbed of growth and development

By Kamal Hotchandani and Sonia Tita Puopolo

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 One hundred years from today, I hope Miami can be a good example of a global city with a world-class lifestyle that is filled with diversity and cultural richness.  

Tita As you approach your fifth year as Mayor of the City of Miami, what do you believe to be your most important accomplishments so far?
Manny I think I’ve cleaned up the majority of the city. The tremendous reduction in crime, increase in jobs and amount of investment taking place here is remarkable.

Tita Miami has some of the priciest real estate in the world. As its Mayor, how do you explain its draw?
Manny I think Miami really is ahead of the curve in terms of what a new American city is all about. The diversity is magical. I think this place draws people who want to live in that type of environment that is rich. You would have a difficult time in finding that someplace else – the environment is warm not only in terms of the climate, but the people have a warmth and diverse flavor.

Kamal Is your plan to manage Miami’s “smart growth” through a holistic approach?
Manny My vision is to do what other great cities have done – to do the Empire State route, the sea route, the Chicago route. That is the dream I have for Miami – a Miami with green spaces, great public spaces, great plazas and a great world’s city it is going to be when we are done.

Kamal With Miami’s hyper growth can you talk about transportation demand strategies?
Manny I think it is important to keep in mind what Miami is as opposed to Miami-Dade County is. The traffic situation here, particularly from an east-west perspective, is absolutely horrendous because we just don’t have the grid quarters. The City of Miami has a traffic grid that works pretty well except when other people come from outside the city to work. We are a city that is seeing population increases and will continue to see population increases. My signature project is a streetcar, which we hope to break ground on by early next year.

Kamal I look at your approach as being similar to that of the King of Dubai – Dubai is the only city right now with the same amount of cranes now in Miami. Where do you see your place in history?
Manny Well, I hope people in one hundred years from now think about Miami. When you hear people criticize all the developing going on here, I think, well, there will always be skeptics. Fifty years from now people may still be implementing. One hundred years from today, I hope Miami can be a good example of a global city with a world-class lifestyle that is filled with diversity and cultural richness. We are already on the way.

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