Planted in Miami: A Collision of Ideas

July 22, 2017

After self-proclaimed native, Meg Daly, broke both of her elbows in a biking accident and was forced to slow down and smell the asphalt on her walking commute to physical therapy, she got a crazy idea. Transform the unused space underneath the Metrorail into a 10 mile linear park, urban trail and living art destination called, The Underline. You might say it’s Miami’s response or ode to New York’s immensely popular, The High Line, flipped upside down.

In this interview, we talk about who was the first person she told about her “crazy idea” and how she went from never having been involved in the community to overseeing a $120 million project and what the future holds for creative public spaces in Miami. We are very excited about The Underline, the business opportunities and jobs it will create, the art and culture it will invite people to interact with and once you know more about this highly anticipated project, you will be too.

Jeanette and Alex of Planted in Miami.

Listen here now.

The Underline is a Member of the High Line Network

June 24, 2017

The Underline is proud to be a member of the High Line Network.  All projects in the network reclaim infrastructure and reimagine it as public space. Projects were chosen based on alignment with the network’s mission, commitment of leadership to network activities, and geographic representation. While the initial focus of the network is on North American projects, the group will eventually expand to include international projects

Read more about the 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington DC, another network member project, in Architectural Record’s Civic Lesson: New Social Infrastructure. 

Cities are finding new ways to invest in social infrastructure, helping to bridge gaps among diverse socioeconomic groups and foster a greater sense of community.

Of all President Trump’s campaign promises, the proposal to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure was one of the few to appeal to Republicans and Democrats alike. That level of spending would have dramatically reversed decades of dwindling public investment in the country’s roads, transit, and utilities. Now that scale of investment is less likely than ever, given the reality of the cuts the President called for in the budget he sent to Congress, and the wrangling over spending that will unfold on Capitol Hill. But all the attention on major infrastructure needs clouded other concerns about the built environment.

More than bridges and airports need updating. The assumption that infrastructure only means pouring concrete and laying fiber is outdated. In the past, infrastructure sought to connect people across great distances and provide basic amenities for everyone. Today, proximity and access are not enough to cross the chasms of race, economic class, and new social boundaries like media bubbles and deeply partisan politics.

The need for “soft” or civic infrastructure in our cities and communities has never been greater. It comes at a time when declining social capital has left much of America divided, suspicious, and aloof. Today, one-third of people report having no interactions with their neighbors, and average Americans spend up to five hours a day watching television. The share of the population that says, “Most people can be trusted” has fallen from a majority in the 1970s to about one-third. And income inequality and wage stagnation have decimated the middle class, further dividing society into haves and have-nots.

Read more here.

The Underline Commissions Health Impact Assessment to Improve Framework and Impact of Groundbreaking Miami Transit Project

June 8, 2017

Study conducted by Georgia Health Policy Center and funded by the Health Foundation of South Florida will be used to improve health and wellness outcomes

Miami, Fla. (June 7, 2017) – The Underline, a planned project to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and living art destination, is likely to have positive impacts on physical activity, social connectivity and traffic exposure, according to a recently completed Health Impact Assessment (HIA).

HIAs are a systematic process that use an array of data sources, analytic methods and input from stakeholders to determine the potential effects of a proposed project on the health of a population and make recommendations for managing and documenting those effects.  The Underline’s HIA was sponsored by the Health Foundation of South Florida and conducted by the Georgia Health Institute. It provides a thorough look into the project’s framework plan and how it could impact the health and wellness of Miami’s surrounding communities.

Among the key takeaways, the study showed the project has a high potential to increase physical activity and social connections — two of the strongest protective factors against chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart failure.   In order to realize its true potential, the HIA also determined priority recommendations that would help increase use of The Underline and decrease exposure to traffic related hazards along the corridor.  These included making sure there was appropriate pedestrian and bicycle access to the linear trail from surrounding neighborhoods, linking to transit, creating valuable programs and recreational features and designing useable trails combined with community and public spaces.

With these valuable findings from the HIA, The Underline’s board of directors, partners and stakeholders will incorporate the learnings into future designs. The full HIA can be accessed by visiting www.theunderline.org.

Once completed, The Underline will be anchored on the north by the Miami River near Brickell Avenue and on the south end by the Dadeland South Metrorail Station. As one of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez’ priorities, the project is a public/ private collaboration between Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works and Friends of The Underline, a 501C3 non-profit organization.  The Underline will serve as an enhanced mobility corridor, designed to better connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and promote a healthier lifestyle with accessible green spaces and park amenities for exercise, active transportation and relaxation.

The project will also have substantial economic impact by encouraging mixed use development along US 1, increasing property values, adding jobs and inviting adjacent businesses to activate and connect to it. In total, The Underline is anticipated to bring an additional $170 million in total economic output during construction and $50 million annually after completion and over $650 million in increased property values. The project is part of the county’s Masterplan Greenway network that consists of 500 miles of trails and connected public spaces.

The Underline was recently selected as one Fast Company’s world-changing ideas for 2017 and is a past recipient of the Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge, a competition that seeks new ideas from innovators and how they plan to improve the future of their city.

About Friends of the Underline: Friends of The Underline is a 501C3 non-profit organization advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and canvas for artistic expression to create a safer, healthier, more connected, mobile and engaged community. The Underline will be open to all and serve all with amenities and art that will connect people to place and each other.

Atton Brickell Miami Donates $25,000 to Support The Underline

June 3, 2017

MIAMI, June 1, 2017 – The Underline, a planned project to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and living art destination, today announced a $25,000 donation from Atton Brickell Miami hotel.

The money will be earmarked for the “Brickell Backyard Hammock Trail” portion of the project adjacent to Simpson Park. The first phase slated for construction in Spring 2018, will include a series of park-like “rooms” for commuters that are tied together by a succession of parks and punctuated by trails for cyclists and pedestrians.

The 12-story Atton Brickell Miami overlooks Simpson Park and is located across the street from the planned project. The property is Atton Hotel’s first and only U.S. flagship property and features 275 guest rooms and suites with views of Brickell’s skyline and Biscayne Bay. The property also includes 5,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool with cabanas, a Vista bar with cocktails and tapas, a gym, Uva bar and a Peruvian inspired restaurant, Lima.

Once completed, The Underline 10-mile linear park, urban trail and living art destination, will be anchored on the north by the Miami River near Brickell Avenue and on the south end by the Dadeland South Metrorail Station. As one of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez’ priorities, the project is a public/ private collaboration between Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works and Friends of The Underline, a 501C3 non-profit organization.  The Underline will serve as an enhanced mobility corridor, designed to better connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and promote a healthier lifestyle with accessible green spaces and park amenities for exercise, active transportation and relaxation.

The project will also have substantial economic impact by encouraging mixed use development along US 1, increasing property values, adding jobs and inviting adjacent businesses to activate and connect to it. In total, The Underline is anticipated to bring an additional $170 million in total economic output during construction and $50 million annually after completion and over $650 million in increased property values. The project is part of the county’s Masterplan Greenway network that consists of 500 miles of trails and connected public spaces.

The Underline was recently selected as one Fast Company’s world-changing ideas for 2017 and is a past recipient of the Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities Challenge, a competition that seeks new ideas from innovators and how they plan to improve the future of their city.

 About Friends of The Underline: Friends of The Underline is a 501C3 non-profit organization advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and canvas for artistic expression to create a safer, healthier, more connected, mobile and engaged community. The Underline will be open to all and serve all with amenities and art that will connect people to place and each other.  For more information visit www.theunderline.org and Like and Follow Friends of The Underline on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @theunderlinemia.

About Atton Hotel: Founded in Santiago, Chile, in 2000, Atton Hotels is a Latin American hotel chain focused primarily on the business travel market, offering proximity to business areas with access to modern facilities and quality services at attractive rates. Atton Hotels currently owns, operates and develops hotels in Chile, Colombia, Peru and in its first US outpost located in Brickell, Miami. The brand opened its doors to the U.S. market, by way of Atton Brickell Miami hotel, attracted by the city’s ties to Latin America and growing international business community.  For more information, please visit: www.atton.com

Miami Herald: Live at the Metrorail station — and bid horrible South Dixie traffic goodbye?

May 29, 2017

On May 14th, Miami Herald’s Andres Viglucci wrote about Metrorail transit-oriented development (TOD) plans along Miami’s traffic-congested South Dixie Highway. The article also recognized how TOD connected to The Underline can relieve traffic and encourage sustainable “live, work, play” development near transit.

“Miami’s lone rapid-transit system, Metrorail, began rolling in 1984 under a forward-looking premise that went beyond shuttling commuters downtown: Metro stations would become urbanized hubs where residents wouldn’t need a car to get to work, or to visit a lunch spot or the gym, or to pick up groceries or their dry cleaning.

It took just 33 years, but that train’s finally pulling into the station. And fast.

The high-demographics stretch of South Dixie Highway that runs between Metrorail’s Coconut Grove and South Miami stations is suddenly on the brink of a thorough transformation that could bring the rail system’s original vision to belated fruition — and in the process, maybe even provide some welcome relief to that notoriously car-choked suburban corridor.

No fewer than nine significant redevelopment projects are now on the drawing board for the 4.2-mile stretch, promising hundreds of new apartments mixed in dense clusters with shops, restaurants, offices, hotels and new public open spaces.

The Douglas Road redevelopment plan is massive. The $280 million Link at Douglas plan by 13th Floor Investments and the Adler Group comprises 970 apartments, including a number of affordable “workforce” housing units, shops and a 150-room hotel set around a public pedestrian plaza.

That plaza, said 13th Floor CEO Arnaud Karsenti, is a key element because it would tie the project to the Underline, the planned conversion of the bare, paved pathway under the Metrorail into a lushly landscaped greenway for cyclists and pedestrians. It would run the 10 miles from the Dadeland South station to Brickell.”

Read the focus on transportation article here.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen recognizes The Underline’s Meg Daly

May 29, 2017

On May 1st, we thank Honorable Ileana Ros Lehtinen for recognizing The Underline’s Meg Daly in US Congress.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Meg Daly, who is the founder of The Underline, a wonderful 10-mile linear park and urban trail in my congressional district that will serve to connect hundreds of Americans across Miami-Dade County through safe, alternative methods of transportation.

In 2013, Meg had an unfortunate accident that broke both of her arms.  Since she couldn’t drive herself to attend physical therapy, she took the Metrorail near her home and walked underneath the train tracks to reach her destination.  That is when Meg took notice of the underutilized land right below the Metrorail and envisioned it s transformative potential for community mobility, positive economic impact and enhanced quality of life.

The Underline counts with overwhelming support across Miami-Dade, providing for a safe and healthy space for our community members to express themselves.  From free yoga classed to artistic festivals to projects to restore Miamis urban green space, each day The Underline is getting closer to becoming what Meg envisioned”.

See the video here! 

Knight Foundation: 20 Emerging City Champions Chosen to Lead Innovative Urban Project

May 18, 2017

Following on the heels of last year’s Emerging City Champion Friends of The Underline’s YPO Underlounge (pictured here), twenty creative urbanists will join the 2017 Emerging City Champions fellowship program, an initiative of 8 80 Cities funded by Knight Foundation. Now in its third year, the program empowers young leaders to experiment with new solutions to urgent challenges in their cities.

Champions will receive $5,000 in funding to implement an innovative project to enhance public spaces, mobility or civic engagement in their city over the next 12 months.

Before embarking on their city building mission, the fellows will convene in Toronto for the Emerging City Champions Studio. The studio is a four-day workshop where the champions will refine their project ideas, and hone skills such as storytelling, inclusive community engagement and project management. Most importantly, the champions will learn from each other, and develop a support network to provide guidance and encouragement throughout the year.

The studio will feature neighborhood tours, interactive workshops and presentations from established city leaders such as Gil Penalosa, founder of 8 80 Cities, and Jason Roberts, founder of Better Block. Four past champions will join us in Toronto to provide mentorship and inspiration, including Alex Peay (Philadelphia), Cornetta Lane (Detroit), Amanda Zullo (Charlotte, North Carolina), Kia Moore (Charlotte), and Richard Young (Lexington, Kentucky).

Despite the modest budget and short timeline, the champions have ambitious ideas to improve their communities. This year’s group wants to drive positive change in the way people eat, play, move, build, create, live and work in their cities. Among the winners are those who want to eliminate food deserts, empower youth through art, raise literacy rates, help civic nightlife thrive and revitalize neglected urban spaces.
The 2017 cohort will join an impressive network of Emerging City Champions who have taken their small ideas to unimaginable heights since the program began in 2015. Based on the success of previous winners, expectations for this group are high. With the support of Knight Foundation and 8 80 Cities and the encouragement of their peers, we are confident that this year’s fellows will rise to the challenge and lead meaningful change in their communities.

Find the complete list of 2017 emerging champions here.

The Underline needs your help with State of Florida funding NOW!

May 9, 2017

The Underline has received a very generous and hard-fought appropriation in the State of Florida budget for construction of Phase II of The Underline. The budget will now be approved or vetoed by the Governor. We need your help NOW to discourage Governor Rick Scott from vetoing this appropriation. Here’s how:

1. TODAY send the email below to Florida Governor Rick Scott (and ask your friends, family, committee and co-workers and followers):

2. Email to: rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

Subject Line: I support The Underline project in Miami

Email copy:
Dear Governor Scott, thank you for your support of the many positive initiatives in Florida and Miami-Dade County. I enthusiastically support The Underline project and encourage you to approve the funding for the project in Miami-Dade County in this year’s state of Florida budget.

The Underline 10-mile urban trail below Metrorail will improve public safety, relieve traffic and congestion, be a tourism draw and destination, create new jobs, increase property values with a substantial return on investment and improve public health with improved mobility and exercise options.

Thank you, Your Name and Address.

3. AND/OR call (850) 488-7146

THANK YOU,

FRIENDS OF THE UNDERLINE

April on the future Underline!

April 6, 2017

SATURDAY, APRIL 22ND IS EARTH DAY ON THE UNDERLINE

Wake up and clean up in celebration of Earth Day by volunteering to clean up the future Underline: Brickell Backyard from the Miami River to Coral Way. Why? Let’s show that we care about The Underline even before we start building.

Join us on Saturday, April 22nd at 9 AM for some community fun, snacks and refreshments and even a few prizes! We’ll provide gloves and other clean up gear. Sign up on now on Eventbrite!

SATURDAY, APRIL 29TH KICKS OFF UNDERFIT YOGA

Start your weekends off right with good vibes and great health as Friends of The Underline kicks off UnderFit powered by Baptist Health South Florida with FREE yoga classes twice a month at 9 AM at Brickell Metrorail station. The yoga series debuts on Saturday, April 29th and continues every other Saturday. Arrive by 8:30 AM to check in, yogis of all levels and ages are welcome so bring your kids too (and your mats). Sign up on Eventbrite now and Namaste!

Getting there:

We encourage walking or biking to The Underline’s Earth Day. Or hop on the Metrorail and exit at Brickell Metrorail Station. For drivers, public parking is available throughout the area, or take Uber or Lyft. 

The Nature Conservancy and Friends of The Underline announce partnership to help create greenspace beneath Miami’s Metrorail

April 4, 2017

(Miami, FL) April 4, 2017 – The Nature Conservancy and Friends of The Underline announce a partnership to support the transformation of The Underline. The Conservancy, dedicated to protecting and restoring nature, and Friends of The Underline, advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile neighborhood park and urban trail, are collaborating to expand and revitalize Miami’s urban greenspace for a sustainable future.

The Conservancy is active within the Miami metro area on projects that include restoration of natural habitat and greening of city spaces, tree plantings, protection of rare ecosystems, and efforts to enable people and nature to thrive together within urban settings. Working with local community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, the Conservancy aims to improve quality of life for area residents through nature’s benefits and functional natural systems, helping to create green urban oases for people, native plants and wildlife.

Friends of the Underline are focused on 100+ acres that will become a welcoming world-class urban trail and living art destination, with recreational opportunities and gardens. The Underline, which is expected to break ground Spring 2018, will attach to the Miami River Greenway and proposed Ludlam trail to provide 22 miles of connected greenspace and trails for bicyclists and pedestrians. Friends of The Underline are advocating for transformation and working with federal, state, county and municipal agencies and other funders to help achieve the greenway vision.

“This is a well-aligned collaboration between two organizations poised to achieve transformative results for people and nature,” said Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. “We’re looking toward the future for Miami and are eager to begin work with Friends of The Underline.”

“We are honored to collaborate with the Nature Conservancy as we both invest in a sustainable future for our city,” said Meg Daly, Founder and President, Friends of The Underline. “We believe that parks and vibrant public spaces that are accessible to all are the heart and soul of a growing, more connected community.”

The Conservancy is committed to several projects in Miami-Dade, including a multi-partner restoration of degraded areas along Wagner Creek. Most recently, the Conservancy engaged the local community in hands-on nature and completed a tree planting benefiting air quality, providing shade, creating habitat for wildlife, and adding natural beauty to the neighborhood. With the Underline and partners, the Conservancy will work to support a park experience that encourages people to get outdoors in the newly renovated space as well as educates park-goers about nature.

About The Underline: The Underline is a planned 10-mile urban trail, linear neighborhood park and living art destination that will span from the Miami River, north of Brickell Metrorail station, to Dadeland South. The Underline project will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, lighting, native vegetation as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline will be built in phases, the first of which will begin in the Brickell area. The Underline will be open to all and serve all with amenities and art that connect people to place and each other.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org/florida. In Florida since 1961, with support from our members, we have helped protect more than 1.2 million acres of vulnerable lands and waters across the state. We own and manage more than 52,000 acres in 25 Conservancy preserves in Florida.

About Friends of The Underline
Friends of The Underline is a 501C3 non-profit organization advocating to transform the underutilized land below Miami’s Metrorail into a 10-mile linear park, urban trail and canvas for artistic expression to create a safer, healthier, more connected and sustainable, mobile, and engaged community. For more information visit www.theunderline.org and Like and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @theunderlinemia