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The growth of cities stems in large part from efforts by local boosters to promote them as ideal locations for work, leisure, and residence. Nowhere is this more essential than in locations whose development depends on tourism. Developers and tourism promoters are key "sellers" of the urban fantasy, and their ideas both animate the public's desires, and express general beliefs, trends, and tendencies in how the city is viewed.

These expressions can be found in promotional material, but also in design and architecture, the planning of new communities, the formation of historic and tourist districts, the use of natural landscapes, the artistic markers of diverse ethnic districts; in short, the visible symbols with which a place presents itself.

Miami embodies many of these trends that have shaped travel, tourism, and urban growth in the last century. Miami was built on promotionalism, on selling the image of paradise through new forms of advertising and media emerging at the turn of the century. Promoters developed fantastic sketches and drawings of tropical fantasylands, places with alluring names like Opa Locka and Coral Gables, whose themed designs represented early models for idealized cities that would be epitomized with the advent of Disney World and, recently, Celebration, Florida.

From the beginning of its growth at the end of the nineteenth century, Miami embodied the process of commodifying nature, of making the natural resources of the region into sellable goods. Whether it was oranges and avocados, or sun and sand, Miami promoters lured tourist and eventually settlers here with the promise of wealth, land, and leisure.

Warm Greetings from Miami