A Park Forever Transforms a City Landscape
An enormous plot of land beneath the Miami train system, until recently neglected, becomes a very long park and transforms the city’s landscape.
In their inconceivable sizes and infrastructures, to be fully habitable, cities always need nature. We know that urban green areas are not only beautiful recreation spaces. They also positively affect the lives and minds of those who live near them. (And all of this is not even to mention the energetic benefits of simply being in touch with plants.) For all these reasons, and to the good fortune of the inhabitants of metropolises, reforestation projects in the world’s cities, in all their many forms, are increasingly common.
Recently in the city of Miami, a project of just such characteristics began. It will transform a bit more than 16 kilometers into an enormously long park called The Underline. The area is beneath an elevated train, part of the city’s public transportation system, and until recently it was entirely in disuse.
The project emerged in the mind of one Meg Daly who, after breaking her arm some four years ago, began using the Miami Metrorail. This was just as well, as for the first time she noticed the amount of space not being used beneath these elevated railways. It was thus that Daly founded Friends of the Underline, a foundation to support the development of this otherwise abandoned area of the city.
The idea for using the space in this specific way is similar in concept to that of the New York High Line. An elevated park, the New York version was built on top of the tracks of the defunct New York Central Railroad. Planning in New York was, in fact, done by the same firm that is currently developing the Underline project: James Corner Field Operations.
The corridor, still in the early stages of development, is set to be completed in 2020. It is to be a park, and a space for sports, arts, and culture for the city of Miami. Eventually, it’s to include ball courts, spaces for yoga, an open-air forum, plus miles of green areas to be home to multiple species of trees and a number of native orchids. But the essential purpose of the Underline will be to serve as a meeting space for the inhabitants of the city. An enormous park, it will connect with several transport networks to facilitate both access and transit.
Construction of the Underline is intended to be gentle on the planet and to make use of sustainable materials. The project is also working closely with institutions dedicated to sustainable construction and ecological urbanism. The future park is excellent news for the inhabitants of the city, but also for the incipient development of a more sophisticated and conscientious urbanism.
Image: Creative Commons
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