Lecture: The Importance of Community Preservation in Maintaining our Architectural Heritage

Lecture by Peter Kanavos. Culture Crawl @ Art Deco Museum 5/18, 6:30-7:00 pm.

Miami Beach is in the midst of a two-decades-old population decline. When residents vanish, neighborhoods deteriorate. The economic basis for architectural preservation, maintenance, and innovation suffers commensurately. The city at large and the city center, in particular, are increasingly dependent on a tourist economy that temporarily disguises problems but is negative in the long run. Using the example of east end Lincoln Road and the iconic Collins Ave intersection in the heart of the skyline Art Deco district, we will present an actual plan to combat neighborhood blight, crime, and imbalanced land uses. We will discuss the opportunities and constraints encountered in effectuating revitalization efforts.

Peter Kanavos has a national and international development and urban planning background spanning over 40 years. He was involved as an advisor and colleague of Dr. John DeGrove, former Florida Secretary of Community Affairs and the father of growth management during the State’s formative efforts to stop urban sprawl. He worked with prominent urban designers such as Peter Calthorpe, Andres Duany, and Stefanos Polyzoides to create environmentally sustainable communities.

Peter managed the highly regarded restoration of the Lapidus-designed DiLido Ritz Carlton hotel and presented his ideas personally to Morris Lapidus. He currently is working on an urban renewal plan for the east end Lincoln Road– city center area that will include a restoration of the Sagamore Hotel.

Peter’s family has been successful developers for over 80 years. They oversaw the restoration of the Shelborne Hotel, and through chairmanship of Save Venice Inc., they have funded the conservation of nearly 2,000 individual artworks of the city. The family has also been active for 10 years on the committee for the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation.

As owner of several beach hotels with a combined family history of over sixty years, Peter has lived through all the ups and downs of the city. He believes a balanced approach to development and preservation is possible and that both orientations are needed for our community to grow while conserving what makes us unique.