When New York City opened the first phase of its High Line park in 2010, Miamians naturally said, "Oh, we want something like that." The High Line is 1.45-mile linear park built atop an abandoned elevated railway.
Miami's answer was to propose a 10-mile linear park underneath an active railway, the Metrorail, and dub it "the Underline."
Naturally, when the designer of the High Line was one of 19 firms to bid to design the Underline, he was the one who won out.
James Corner Field Operations, a New York-based landscape architecture firm, was officially announced as the winner of the contract by Miami-Dade County. Corner is also working on the new Lincoln Road masterplan and also did work for the PAMM and Frost museums. It beat out four other finalists, none of which were local firms. Preliminary plans for the park had been designed by University of Miami architecture students with assistance from Arquitectonica's Raymond Fort.
The Underline will follow underneath the Metrorail, from the Miami River to Dadeland South, creating an uninterrupted 10-mile path to be enjoyed by joggers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
A timeline for competition has not yet been set. The park's website notes that similar parks have taken more than a decade to complete. Funding comes from the cities of Miami, Coral Gables, and South Miami and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami Foundation, the Health Foundation of South Florida, and the Mitchell Wolfson Foundation. However, the park is also soliciting private donors with hopes of speeding up the process.
Now, before you complain too much about Miami ripping off New York wholesale, know at least two things:
One of the first big artistic exhibitions on the High Line was an installation of then Miami-based artists FriendsWithYou's Rainbow City project. That project had previously been exhibited in the Design District during Art Basel.
The High Line itself wasn't even its own original vision either. It was in turn inspired by the Promenade plantée, a 2.9-mile elevated park in Paris. Nothing is truly original anymore.
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