Sometimes, busy cities need a public space intervention. That's just the case for Miami, which has rolled out the Biscayne Green Project that's temporarily changing 101 parking spaces into public green space.
In this pop-up park, the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is hosting free events and entertainment, including live music, art, fitness classes, food truck events and even co-working hubs. There will be a fire pit, dog park, ride-share bikes and outdoor movie screenings. It's all part of a 20-day installation that launched on January 6.
Over the past 15 years, downtown Miami has experienced one of the most rapid transformations in the city's history. Today, more than 220,000 people travel to the city each day and nearly 90,000 people reside there, according to the Miami DDA.
"As the population continues to grow, Biscayne Green aims to inspire our community to think bigger and change the way people interact with their environment by redesigning urban space so that it prioritizes quality of life at the street level, while also continuing to invest in our public transit systems and encouraging people to embrace them," Alyce Robertson, Miami DDA's executive director, told Seeker.
The temporary installation has already replaced three blocks of parking and covered parking spots with mulch, paint and turf to function as a promenade. Furthermore, two lanes of southbound traffic have been turned into parking and serve as a dedicated bus lane.
When proposing the plan, Miami looked to cities like New York, Chicago, Paris and London for inspiration. There's now hope that the installation will transform existing median parking into a grand pedestrian promenade akin to the Embarcadero in San Francisco or Las Ramblas in Barcelona.
"The past 15 years have seen billions of dollars pour into Miami's urban core, fueling two condo booms and adding more than 30,000 residential units in a district that previously shuttered after dark," Robertson said. "Yet despite a rapidly growing population, its sidewalks haven't gotten wider, its park space hasn't become more plentiful and regional transit is still lacking."
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Robertson explained that the installation could be a launching pad for a more livable and walkable downtown Miami in the years to come. While the current installation is temporary, the ultimate goal is to build public support and funding for more sustainable transit solutions.
Just a week into the project, the installation, funded by the Knight Foundation and the Miami Foundation, has been a hit among residents and visitors. The Grand Opening Get Down kickoff event, which featured live music, cocktails and art, drew some 3,000 people to the installation, and a recent Puppy Brunch attracted nearly 2,500 people and their furry companions.
The Miami DDA believes that this project will resonate well with the city's large millennial population. This group of residents "overwhelmingly favor public transit over traffic, connectivity over sprawl and community experiences over isolation," Robertson said.
And that could turn an intervention into a new way of city life.
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