Kathalinna Zuniga: Aventura 2021

Photo by Giscard Johannes CC/ BY 4.0

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog! My name is Kathalinna Zuniga, I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and I moved to Florida almost five years ago.  I am a persistent and committed honors student, double majoring in International Relations and Political Science at Florida International University. Before moving to Florida, I lived in Ottawa, Canada, for about a year. Canada’s demographic diversity awakened my passion for different cultures, languages, religions, and customs, reason why I decided to explore and learn more about South Florida.

GEOGRAPHY 

Aventura Florida is one of the largest suburbs of Miami-Dade County. It is located between both, Fort Lauderdale International airport, and Miami International airport. Thus, it is the boundary of Miami-Dade and Broward county. It has the FEC Railroad on the western side, the Intracoastal waterway on the eastern side, and the NE 176th Street on the southern side. Besides, Aventura is included in the metropolitan area of Miami. Additionally, the city has 3.2 square miles of land area, and according to the city statistics, its population is 37,800 people with a growth since 2010 of 12.2% (City of Aventura, 2021). 

Photo by Roger Masson CC/BY 4.0
Aventura, Google Maps location

HISTORY 

A partnership between George Berlin and Don Soffer from Turnberry Associates made it possible to build the city of Aventura in a place that was once nothing but acres of undeveloped swamp and marshland. Indeed, Turnberry Associates saw the residential and commercial potential that this place had to offered, while investing thousands of dollars. 

Turnberry’s History, website page image.

This area was referred as Turnberry when they first started its development. However, the city’s name comes from the Spanish word Adventure. On the other hand, Aventura was built during the late 1970s as a residential area. Nonetheless, it became an incorporated city in 1995, and had its own police department in 1997.  Not to mention that Aventura also has its own manager, mayor and city commissioner who are committed to maintain the city safe and beautiful while honoring this “City of Excellence” (City of Aventura, 2021). 

Turnberry’s History, website page image.

DEMOGRAPHICS 

Aventura is home to approximately 37.800 people, with males representing 47.2% and females 52.8% of the population. On the other hand, Aventura’s seniors represent 29% with the median age being 50. Additionally, the average household size is two with 48.9% of its people married. In 2019, the median household income was $63,892, and the average household income was $112,032. Besides, almost 20,000 of Aventura’s residents have an associate, bachelors, or graduate degree. Indeed, Aventura has approximately 15,907 white collar workers and only 1,442 blue collars. 

Aventura City Government Center. Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0

The three largest ethnic groups in Aventura are White (non-hispanic) 54.8%, White- Hispanic 38.8%, and African American 1.98%. Nonetheless, the city also has a high percentage of diversity as 50.5% of its residents were born outside of the US. In fact, according to NBC News immigrants coming from Venezuela have transformed the Jewish community of Aventura. Thus, immigrants have created a robust Jewish population around that area. 

Aventura’s Turnberry Jewish Center. Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/ BY 4.0

ENVIRONMENT 

Aventura is committed to protect and preserve the environment. In fact, the city decided to reduce its carbon footprint by “going green.” Not only that, but the city has obtained a certificate by the Florida Green Builders Coalition. Thus, the city seeks to improve its water conservation, waste, and air quality. For example, Aventura’s work vehicles are maintained by recycling all batteries and tires. Not to mention that the city is proud to be part of the building coalition that employs machinery that is energy efficient, reduces waste generated by construction, conserves water, and use “environmentally superior building materials.” 

TRANSPORTATION 

As of 2019, most of Aventura’s population use a car as a mean of transport, with approximately 14,134 people having their own vehicle. While only 242 used bus, trolleybus or simply prefer to walk. On the other hand, Aventura has an express shuttle bus free and open to the public. It has six routes that take you through different places of interest located within the boundaries of the city. These routes cover the areas of Northern Aventura (blue), Central Aventura (green, red, and silver), and Southern Aventura (purple and yellow). Not to mention, that Aventura has multiple green areas where people can transit. However, the downside of going around the city is the heavy traffic that could be encounter specially near the mall entrance (City of Aventura, 2021). 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0

LANDMARKS AND PARKS 

The city of Aventura has multiple parks where residents can enjoy some time outdoors. 

  • Founders Park & Splash 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0

The Founders Park & Splash is only open to Aventura residents that have a valid identification. It is a 12-acre park that features sun shelters, tennis courts, exercise trails, handicap playgrounds, bay walks, a water play area, and an open space designed to accommodate, soccer, baseball, softball, and football. In addition, this park has a monument dedicated to the founders located inside. 

  • Veterans Park- Peace Park- Arthur I. Snyder Memorial Park. 

These are small parks that feature open play areas as well as covered playgrounds. 

Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0
  • Aventura Arts and Cultural Center 

The AACC is a fascinating waterfront building situated on the intracoastal. It officially opened in 2010 while providing people the opportunity to enjoy a variety of performing arts and relevant cultural programs. 

Photo by Guillermo Zuniga CC/ BY 4.0

Events at Aventura’s Arts & Cultural Center. Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0

FOOD AND BUSINESSES

The city of Aventura employs 17.300 people with retail being the largest industry. Indeed, Aventura Mall is the first thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about the city. As of 2019, Aventura was the third largest mall in the country. In fact, it has approximately 300 retail stores, 50 restaurants, multiple works of art, and even a 93-foot-tall slide tower. Aventura Mall was first open in 1983 when it only measured 1.2 million square feet, however, the mall has double its size since then, and the total retail area is planned to measure more than 6 million square feet. 

Aventura Mall. Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/ BY 4.0

On the other hand, Aventura mall seeks to help and support local products from artisans and farmers. Thus, Aventura’s market features a diverse type of products from more than 60 vendors. Moreover, Aventura is one of the most popular places to visit in South Florida while having an average of 28 million visitors every year. 

Everybody could agree that Aventura is more than just a shopping center, it is a place to gather with friends and family while enjoying new gastronomic experiences, fashion, culture, and art. Indeed, Jackie Soffer, chair and CEO of Turnberry Associates once mentioned that retail is evolving, therefore, they have been innovating to stay ahead of the curve (JPRA Architects, 2019). 

Moreover, Aventura Mall is frequently visited because of the delicious international food that characterizes this place. Some of the most visited restaurants are Ladurée where people could feel as if they are in Paris, CVI.CHE 105 with a Peruvian taste, Pubbelly Sushi, Serafina Miami, Trattoria Rosalia, The Cheesecake Factory, PANI, or Bella Luna. 

Photo by Roger Masson at PANI, Aventura Mall CC/BY 4.0

In other words, Aventura Mall features a taste from the world, while having restaurants and small kiosks from different places. Notwithstanding, Aventura has restaurants outside the mall that are also a must try, such as, Bourbon Steak, CORSAIR kitchen & bar, SOHO Asian Bar & Grill and Barrio Latino Restaurant. 

Cholado, commonly known as Cholao’, Colombian drink at Amazonica. Photo by Kathalinna Zuniga CC/BY 4.0

SUMMARY

Aventura is a beautiful, organized, and highly visited city. In fact, its commitment to the environment, parks, green spaces, oceans views, cultural centers and of course the Aventura Mall are nothing but fascinating, reason why the city attracts foreigners that are seeking to experiences a variety of cuisines and fashion. 

CITATIONS

“Visitor Information.” Visitor Information | Aventura, FL, http://www.cityofaventura.com/309/Visitor-Information. 

“Venezuelan Jewish Families Transform Miami Suburbs.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 11 June 2015, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/venezuelan-jewish-families-transform-miami-suburbs-n99711. 

“Go Green.” Go Green | Aventura, FL, http://www.cityofaventura.com/192/Go-Green. 

“Best Miami Restaurants: Best Places to Eat in Miami and Best Places to Eat in Ft. Lauderdale.” Aventura Mall, 21 Apr. 2021, aventuramall.com/dining/. 

“Aventura Mall.” Architect, 29 Mar. 2019, http://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/aventura-mall. 

“Aventura Demographics.” Point2, http://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/FL/Aventura-Demographics.html. 

Center, Aventura. “History.” Aventura Center, http://www.aventuracenter.org/about/history. 

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