James Corner Field Operations releases designs for 10-mile park below US city’s elevated railway

Miami Underline plans unveiled
Miami Underline plans unveiled

New York-based James Corner Field Operations has unveiled designs for a 10-mile linear park below Miami’s MetroRail.

The Underline – a nod to New York’s High Line, for which Field Operations was also a designer – will run from the Miami River (near downtown) to Dadeland South Station, creating a world-class linear park, urban trail and multi-use community space beneath the city’s elevated railway.

The corridor is currently 100 ft wide and includes Metrorail infrastructure. An unlit asphalt path follows the route past eight transit stations and many dangerous intersections.

Promoted by not-for-profit organisation Friends of the Underline, the plan is to create two new, wider paths, one for pedestrians and one for cyclists, with landscape, visual art, lighting, and amenities. The Underline will provide a safe route linking neighbourhoods (Miami is currently ranked as the US’s fourth most dangerous city for pedestrians and the most dangerous in Florida for cyclists) and create more than 100 acres of landscaped public space shaded by native plants that provide habitats for birds and butterflies. Exercise and healthy lifestyle will be encouraged, as well as artistic expression.

‘Our vision is to transform the underutilised land below Miami’s MetroRail into an iconic linear park, world-class urban trail and living art destination,’ says Friends of the Underline.

The Underline will tie into other urban trails, existing and proposed, eventually forming part of a 250-mile network of cycle and pedestrian trails.

Work is hoped to begin in Autumn 2016, starting with the stretch from Miami River to SW 14th Avenue Road. So far Friends of the Underline has raised $5 million in funding but needs to reach $6.5 million to complete the first mile of the masterplan.

Field Operations was selected in March from a shortlist that included Balmori Associates (New York City), Dlandstudio (Brooklyn), Perkins + Will (Atlanta), and Stoss (Boston). The design process has been conducted alongside public meetings to ensure input from residents and business owners.

The project is supported by Miami-Dade County Transit and Parks, Recreation and Open Space Departments. Student and faculty resources have been provided by the University of Miami School of Architecture; a studio class of 10 students created the concept design of the trail, park space, and intersection interventions.

For more information, visit Friends of the Underline.

James Corner will be giving the Jellico lecture after this year’s Landscape Institute AGM at the University of Reading on 22 October. Find out more The free event is currently fully booked, but you can add your name to the waiting list here.

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