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Grant number like: HB-273518-21

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Keith Douglas Revell
Florida International University Board of Trustees (Miami, FL 33199-2516)

Awards for Faculty
Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Reinventing the Consumer City: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Miami Beach, 1915-2000

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of Miami Beach, tracing its evolution as a consumer city and the implications for understanding the development of urban spaces.

Scholars and policymakers recognize that advanced urban economies have shifted from industry to services, but they have not yet understood that cities are becoming primarily sites of consumption. This NEH Award will allow me to spend a year writing the first book-length study of a modern consumer city – Miami Beach, Florida: an urban area devoted to consumption, leisure, and recreation which thrives by appealing predominantly to consumers rather than business or labor. I will use my skills as a historian to demonstrate that the defining feature of the modern consumer city is the struggle to sustain a collective urban leisure experience (symbiosis) against the tendency of capital investment to privatize urban space (enclosure). By identifying the modern consumer city as a distinctive urban form, my book will help scholars, policymakers, and historic preservation advocates protect the cultural heritage of our cities while rendering them more sustainable economically and environmentally.