Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Robert Weyeneth

Abstract

In Miami-Dade County, Florida, historic preservation is most powerful at the county level. The county’s historic preservation office has the power of administration over most municipalities within its borders. In 2014, organized resistance against the county office was sparked by an attempt to declare a mid-century modern section of the town of Bay Harbor Islands as an historic district. Opposition to county management of historic preservation affairs in Bay Harbor culminated in an attempted amendment to the county historic preservation ordinance that would allow municipalities to opt out of county supervision. This thesis examines the arguments used by county preservation opponents to either oppose preservation as a whole or to empower municipalities in this political and administrative arena. Preservation opponents used a variety of rhetorical tactics and approaches to accomplish their goals, influenced by their experiences, community standing, and intentions. In both debates, the arguments used by preservation opponents highlighted ideas and interpretations of freedom in preservation discourse. In the historic district case, opponents highlighted their perceptions of an overreaching county authority in order to challenge the authority of the higher governmental body to regulate local affairs. In the debate over the proposed amendment, preservation opponents focused on the benefits of municipalities being in charge of their own designations. This work will add to the understanding of preservation opponents by expanding the understanding of their freedom-based arguments in two related cases that involved private development and county government.

Share

COinS