Brickell Backyard transforms the space underneath Miami’s elevated Metrorail into a lush linear park in one of Miami’s densest areas, creating a welcoming green space for the nearly 400,000 residents that live within a 10-minute walk of the park and urban trail. As The Underline’s first built section, Brickell Backyard sets the tone for future phases of the 10-mile-long corridor with native gardens, improved pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and various active, passive, and cultural programs and public art. Starting with Brickell Backyard, The Underline links adjacent neighborhoods with downtown Miami and other destinations through its bicycle and pedestrian paths that directly connect with the Miami-Dade transit system. In a city that has always been car-centric and known to be one of the most dangerous places to bike and walk in the country—with Miami as the fourth most dangerous place for pedestrians in the U.S. and Florida as the most dangerous state for cyclists—this represents a fundamental shift. Featuring separate pedestrian and off-road bicycle paths, The Underline is designed to minimize conflicts between different travel speeds. Centering the bicycle path between the Metrorail columns reduces conflicts with bus and trolley waiting areas that line the site. At each intersection, bicycle-dedicated crosswalks are distinguished from those for pedestrians through their use of Underline green in contrast with standard white pedestrian crosswalks. The park’s design implements character zones that give users a consistent yet dynamic experience, responding to the neighboring communities’ priorities that were identified as part of the initial Framework Plan. Brickell Backyard’s design is organized as a procession of rooms including the River Room, Gym, Promenade, and Oolite Room, offering a combination of places for respite, social gathering, fitness, performance, art, and commuting. Brickell Backyard also provides lushly vegetated social spaces with planting inspired by historic plant communities that once dominated the area, anchoring the project in its location along the Miami Rock Ridge. The planting strategy focuses on native and South Florida-friendly plants that are well-suited to the soils and climate, drought-tolerant once established, and provide habitat for pollinators and butterflies. Situated in a tropical climate, The Underline features design details that have been calibrated to provide a comfortable environment even on the hottest days. The park’s design utilizes shade from the structure overhead and combines this with sizable new planting areas. Hardscapes use light-colored materials, including the bike’s asphalt paving, coated with a light-colored finish to reduce heat gain. The Underline represents a new form of public space, leveraging existing infrastructure and pairing new natural habitats with multimodal paths that link directly to public transit. Reimagining what was once perceived as divisive infrastructure into an inclusive connector, The Underline fosters community, attracting over 2 million visitors within its first year and hosting more than 50 free events. As noted by Daniella Levine Cava, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, “[the] opening of the first phase of The Underline is the first step toward a people-first Miami,” representing a pivot in the city’s approach to public space.
Location Miami, FL
Landscape Architect James Corner Field Operations
Project Team CMS, Inc.; Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden; HLB Lighting; James Urban; Kimley-Horn; Optimus Structural Design, LLC; Order; Vidal & Associates
Category Transportation & Infrastructure