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Twenty Interesting Ideas to Improve Miami's Public Spaces

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Last week marked the official deadline for The Miami Foundation's Public Space Challenge. Throughout the past month, Miamians submitted ideas on how to address our city's lack of functional, communal, and truly accessible public spaces. To compare with global cities like Mexico City, London and New York City, Miami is considerably behind in urban design that takes into mind the daily and intimate moments of city living, so Miamians took this opportunity to let their ideas soar. Together with Health Foundation of South Florida and Baptist Health South Florida, The Miami Foundation will invest $305,000 to make the top place-making concepts a reality. Miamians submitted ideas that ranged from innovative and inventive to a bit immature and self-seeking. Although submissions are now closed, the ideas can still be voted on, commented, and shared. We picked out twenty of the most interesting ideas (although there are many, many more).—Dana Herndon

1. Miami's first true public square—a 2.5 acre public plaza à la Washington Square Park in New York or the Place de la Republique in Paris.

2. A garden and cafe in Wynwood that also provides jobs for inner city youths.

3. A park called 27th Ave Curve Healthy Park that brings life to a underutilized piece of land underneath a curve of the Metrorail.

4. A month-long "WATER" event on Miami River that includes art events on boats and water education.

5. A program for high school youths to hand build boats at The Barnacle (which was originally the home of Ralph Munroe, a yacht designer). Back to basics, guys!

6. Monthly food-related events in public spaces meant to spark conversations about topics the participants care about, inspired by a similar successful initiative in St. Louis.

7. A new community park in El Portal created by expanding the El Portal Nature Trail by taking down a fence that separates the trail from Horace Mann Middle School, and working with the school district to take over an additional 40 by 600 feet of seldom used field space.

8. A portable urban vegetable and herb garden (or parklet!).

9. An interactive exercise park adjacent to the historic Miami City Cemetery that caters to Overtown.

10. A dedicated (and free) bus service called 'The Culture Line' that would go to and from partnering public and cultural spaces around the county for special events.

11. The City of North Miami proposes a nature trail and butterfly garden called The Dixie Green Trail and Butterfly Garden.

12. A demonstration project for protected bike lanes.

13. Palm trees planted on the beaches between the high-tide line and the dunes to help stabilize the sand, with hammocks hung in between them.

14. Locust Projects proposes attaching/affixing art to various modes of transportation, like buses, Citi Bikes, and airplanes. "Imagine: a plane pulls an artwork through the sky."

15. A 'USB dead drop hub' in the middle of that big green space in Midtown.

16. A more artistic, temporary replacement for the dancing lady on the InterContinental Hotel's facade.

17. A fantastical solar-powered sculpture for a public space in Miami (perhaps Museum Park) that collects sunlight during the day and uses it to come alive at night.

18. Outdoor movies in American Legion Park.

19. Performance art pieces staged in 'nontraditional'/unusual public spaces around Miami.

20. Haikus projected on the drawbridges of the Brickell Avenue Miami River bridge when they are up, to give waiting cars something to read.

· The Our Miami Public Space Challenge [Miami Foundation]
· Miami Public Space Challenge Ideas [Miami Foundation]