Miami Beach Debates Digital Kiosk Designs and Locations

In a recent Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board meeting, a lengthy discourse centered on the proposed installation of digital information kiosks throughout the city. The kiosks, which are intended to provide wayfinding information, cultural institution details, emergency response technology, and digital advertising, spurred a debate on their design, color schemes, functionality, and placement. The board reviewed the design process and the kiosks’ potential impact on the city’s historic districts, with members expressing divergent views on their appropriateness in various locations.

The meeting kicked off with the first regular application, HPB 23590, pertaining to the kiosks’ installation. The applicant presented a refined kiosk design with a unique silhouette, featuring added movement and strategic use of color, following the board’s previous request for a design more suitable for the historic districts. The kiosks were described as 8 feet 4 inches in height, with a width of 3 feet 1.5 inches and a depth just over 1 foot, equipped with features such as real-time transit information, an Art Deco walking tour application, emergency call buttons, security cameras, and real-time emergency alerts. Moreover, the applicant highlighted their extensive community outreach, noting support from neighborhood associations, business groups, and property owners.

Board members raised numerous questions and concerns during the discussion. The design’s final look, including the presence of black bands and the kiosks’ color scheme, was scrutinized, along with queries about the frequency of information updates and opposition to proposed locations. The criteria for success and the revenue stream from commercial advertising also came under review. Further, the board considered the curation of artwork to be displayed on the kiosks and the materials used in their construction to ensure durability and maintenance.

Public commentary followed, revealing a divide in opinion. While the executive director of the Lincoln Road bid expressed support, citing the need for an updated directory, the F Hotel and Aman opposed the kiosk location due to the special design and zoning of the Fein district. The Miami Design Preservation League voiced support, particularly for collaboration on the Miami Beach tours app. Outfront Media raised concerns about the kiosks’ size, scale, design, and compatibility with the historic district, questioning their legality based on Florida statutes.

The president of the Mid Beach Neighborhood Association and other residents expressed concerns about the kiosks cluttering congested walkways and the potential privacy intrusion due to the kiosks’ cameras. Legalities and advertising regulations were also debated, with some speakers opposing the kiosks due to their perceived incompatibility with the historic heritage of Miami Beach.

The applicant confirmed that foot traffic studies were conducted to select kiosk locations and that there is a limit of 15 kiosks, which could increase to 30 with city commission approval. They also assured that the kiosks would connect to underground power and not create additional ambient light. Board member Debbie emphasized that the board’s evaluation should consider general design, colors, shape, and placement in line with review criteria and compliance with Miami-Dade County ordinances.

Board member Ray showed support for the kiosk design, clarifying that the board’s role was to assess design and location rather than implementation. Laura and Elizabeth voiced concerns about the number of kiosks and their potential impact on pedestrian flow in crowded areas.

The board discussed the visual appeal and functionality of the kiosks, with calls for designs that reflect Miami Beach’s character and concerns about the size and screens of the kiosks. Some members advocated for the kiosks to align with historical architecture, while others focused on the need for clear support from neighborhood groups and adjacent property owners. The board eventually motioned to continue the discussion at a future date, considering the possibility of relocating to a new City Commission Chambers.

Lastly, the board addressed a list of 37 vacant and abandoned buildings, expressing concern over the UN resiliency and unsafe structures act’s potential impact on historic buildings in Miami Beach. The act could preempt the city’s historic preservation procedures for demolition, allowing non-compliant properties to obtain demolition permits. The board’s debate on this issue underscored the importance of historic preservation amidst legislative changes.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Steven Meiner
Historic Preservation Commission Officials:

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