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By Paul Brinkmann
Renowned urban planner Andres Duany gave a keynote address Thursday at a regional planning conference in Miami where he said South Florida’s dominance as the primary hub for Caribbean commerce is being challenged by Houston and Panama City.
“People love to come here for business meetings, but what’s going to happen in the future is people will go elsewhere, if we don’t take care of our quality of life,” Duany said.
“We are still the Rome of the Caribbean… but Houston and Panama City are gunning for us. They are building the airports the highways and infrastructure to capture the traffic,” Duany said.
He said someone recently told him that banks in Miami’s Brickell district are increasingly moving to Panama City, because of bureaucratic red tape and permitting problems here.
“We have the only truly great combination of seaport and airport in our region… that is a tremendous advantage. The problem we have as a port is, once they land here, we have nothing as far as… land area to distribute from here. In that sense, Panama City has nothing either,” Duany said. “We are very vulnerable. We must integrate our seaports with air, rail and quality of life. Otherwise we will lose our advantage.”
Duany spoke at the “Seven Counties, Fifty Years” conference sponsored by the South Florida and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Councils and the Southeast Florida Regional Partnership. The event was held at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus.
The conference also address long-range planning for climate change.