Beyond Edge City: Office Sprawl in South Florida

Robert E. Lang
Robert E. Lang Former Brookings Expert

March 1, 2003


An analysis of office development in South Florida between 1987 and 2002 finds that:

  • Of 13 large U.S. office markets
    studied, South Florida had the lowest percentage of its office space in its major downtown, Miami,
    in 1999.
    Only 13 percent of South Florida’s office space is located in its central business district (CBD), compared
    to a median of nearly 30 percent
    for all 13 markets.

  • Virtually all office growth in Miami-Dade County in the past 15 years occurred outside of Miami’s downtown. From 1987 to
    2002, Miami-Dade’s non-CBD market grew 60.3 percent to include nearly 30 million square feet of office space.

    In contrast, office space in Miami’s
    CBD increased just 4.7 percent over
    this time period.

  • Out of 13 office markets, South Florida has the largest percentage of its office space located “Edgeless Cities”–a form of small-scale and scattered office development that never reaches the critical mass of an
    Edge City.
    In 1999, two-thirds (66 percent) of South Florida’s current office space could be found in Edgeless Cities. In Philadelphia–the only other predominantly “edgeless” market
    of the 13–Edgeless Cities contain just 54 percent of the market’s office space.