September 12, 2019
by Meg Daly
The Underline to pioneer the future of tech in large-scale public spaces with new funding, hire Chief Information Officer and strengthen infrastructure.
To promote The Underline’s success as a world-class public space that connects and inspires the community, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a new $925,000 investment in the organization’s technology infrastructure, including the development of a technology master plan and expanded professional expertise.
The new funding builds on a series of previous Knight Foundation investments in The Underline, a proposed 120-acre linear park, urban trail and public art destination spanning 10 miles beneath the Miami-Dade County Metrorail. When the idea of The Underline was introduced in 2015, Knight powered the development of its master plan. Last year, as part of a major investment in Miami’s arts ecosystem, Knight contributed $500,000 to activate portions of the park with public art. Knight’s combined support for The Underline, including today’s new investment, totals nearly $2 million.
“Miami is a city on the rise, and The Underline is a game-changing development that further elevates our city as a place of global relevance,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “As a world-class, resident-driven public space, The Underline has the power to stimulate civic life, create incentives for talented people to live and stay in Miami, and inspire creativity and connections that uplift our community.”
Today’s investment in Friends of The Underline — the nonprofit group leading the initiative to transform the underutilized land — will help the organization to grow its leadership staff by providing funds to hire both a Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO will guide a process to create a technology master plan informed by residents and experts alike. By integrating technology in the early stages of its development, The Underline will pioneer a vision and model for leveraging technology in large-scale public spaces around the world.
“Technology will be the connective tissue that connects the people, places and activities within The Underline’s 120 acres,” said Meg Daly, founder of Friends of the Underline. “We know technology offers infinite ways to improve this space and bring new ideas to life, but we have to build the foundation based on what’s available today and tomorrow. This investment helps equip The Underline to design a cutting-edge technology infrastructure that puts residents first and unleashes the potential of the space’s creators and users.”
The Underline’s two new leadership positions are expected to be hired by the end of this year. The first phase of The Underline, called Brickell Backyard, will open summer 2020. Phase 2 construction is projected to begin in Spring 2020. Learn more and get updates at theunderline.org.
About Friends of the Underline
Our mission is to deliver and activate a 120-acre, world-class linear park spanning 10-miles below Miami’s Metrorail that will transform regional mobility and celebrate diversity, culture and lifelong learning. Through innovative urban trails and creative programming, we are connecting people to their environment and each other to create a safe, healthy, equitable, and sustainable community.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.