Four of the local Miami Beach Historic Districts (Espanola Way, Collins / Washington Avenues, Museum, and Flamingo Park) together comprise the National Register Art Deco District.
The other local districts are Altos Del Mar, Harding Townsite/South Altos Del Mar, Ocean Beach, Palm View and the John S. Collins Waterfront Historic District. A tenth district, the North Beach Resort Historic District, with a significant number of MiMo buildings has recently been designated. In addition the City of Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board has designated 11 individual historic sites.
While listing a property on the National Register of Historic Places adds acclaim and prestige, it is only through local designations that properties can be protected in the U.S. The Miami Beach Historic Preservation Ordinance allows for the protection of those properties deemed historic by the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. The ordinance also imposes strict design guidelines for all rehabilitation and new construction, plus zoning rules to insure roofline continuity in the streetscape. In Miami Beach the ordinance protects public interiors and it is worth venturing inside some of the properties to see original period details. Local protection allowed the Art Deco District to thrive and became the economic engine behind the rebirth of Miami Beach—a shining example of the value of historic preservation.
Three architectural styles are predominant in Miami Beach — Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and MiMo (Miami Modernism.) To this mix has been added a new group of buildings designed by Contemporary architects carrying on in the tradition of what we now recognize as the Miami Beach School of Architecture. These buildings taken together create a unique Open Air Museum of 20th Century Architecture, making our city’s renown for 20th Century architecture comparable to Williamsburg, Virginia’s association with Colonial architecture.