Transcultural Place-Making in Little Havana

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo


In the 1960s, Miami began its transformation into a Latin city. When this transformation began, Spanish-speakers, primarily Cubans, clustered together in what is now known as Little Havana. At the time, the place between 37th street and highway 95 was full of low-income, multi-family homes, creating a perfect space for the incoming Cuban refugees to make their home. Due to their initial place-making of the community, Little Havana is now a thriving place known around the world as a Cuban cultural center. However, the mass exodus of Cubans entering Little Havana has slowed and more and more Latin people have settled into the area changing the demographics and, inevitably, the culture of the place. Today, one can walk down the infamous Calle Ocho (8th Street) and enjoy Cuban culture with a side of Mexican, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, and other additions. In this article, we argue that this change in demographic representation is leading to a change in the community that now does not solely identify as Cuban, but as the more inclusive term Latin — in an act of transculturation. We sought to discover, using semi-structured interviews and participatory mapping, how this change is affecting the overall cultural landscape of Little Havana.