In urban areas throughout the Sunshine State, greenspaces provide many benefits. Neighborhood parks and preserves are a respite from the city environment, trees provide shade and boost air quality, open space reduces flooding, and gardens provide habitat for wildlife. Importantly, greenspaces create a sense of community and an opportunity for residents to enjoy the well-being of spending time in nature.
In the Miami area, the Conservancy has embarked on efforts to realize its vision of cities where nature and development are linked. We’re focused on projects that include restoration of natural habitat, tree plantings, and protection of rare ecosystems. These efforts enable people and nature to thrive together within urban settings. Working with community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, the Conservancy aims to improve quality of life by creating green urban oases for people, native plants and wildlife.
In the past several months, we’ve helped to protect Goulds Pineland Preserve, a rare pine rockland habitat that supports endangered species, and have helped to plant trees in a Miami neighborhood. Along with 400 Conservancy staff from around the world, we completed hands-on work removing invasive vegetation and planting native plants in Virginia Key, and with multiple partners and the community, are planning restoration of degraded areas along Wagner Creek.
The future University Station plaza will reduce conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians by reorganizing circulation. A freestanding solar panel rain screen will showcase green technologies, provide power to the plaza, and highlight the station as a green tech demonstration. © James Corner Field Operations, Courtesy of Friends of the Underline
A new and exciting restoration project spearheaded by Friends of The Underline is in the planning phase. The project will revitalize the 100+ acres of underutilized land below Miami's Metrorail. The Conservancy and Friends of the Underline are collaborating to expand and transform this urban greenspace. The Underline project 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 future Underline will feature a wider, dedicated bike path and a separate pedestrian path, shaded by native plants that provide habitat for birds and butterflies. © James Corner Field Operations, Courtesy of Friends of the Underline
The Underline will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, lighting, native vegetation, as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline is expected to break ground Spring 2018 in the Brickell area, and through several phases will attach to the Miami River Greenway and proposed Ludlam trail to provide 22 miles of connected greenspace.
“This is a well-aligned collaboration between two organizations poised to achieve transformative results for people and nature,” said Temperince Morgan, Executive Director of 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 future “River Room” features oolite seating steps, orienting visitors toward views of the river and downtown Miami. Paths that connect to nearby pedestrian and bike routes reinforce connections to the Miami River Greenway, across the river and into downtown. © James Corner Field Operations, Courtesy of Friends of the Underline
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 educate park-goers about nature. This project, and many others in Miami and elsewhere, provide an opportunity for the Conservancy to continue our commitment to a sustainable future for our cities.