What Green space?

It’s an eyesore, one of the greatest wasted public spaces in the city (a dubious achievement in a city already notorious for wasting public space,) and a derelict haven for homeless and illicit activity, yet groups are forming at an alarming rate to “preserve” this swath of land for what it is. It’s Bicentennial Park and the controversy has evolved around the idea of consuming just a fraction of the parks’ acreage to construct new iconic structures for two museums. The fact that MNU and members of the Urban League of Miami have spoken up against the Museum Park plan is appalling if not downright horrendous. I quote from the UEL’s Vision statement:

“We see preserved natural resources, increased density in urban areas with sufficient existing infrastructure and along mass transportation corridors within the urban development boundary. There are more greenways, water access, pedestrian friendly parks, improved historic neighborhoods and landmarks still recognizable and protected.”

The Museum Park plan falls in line with everything UEL “stands” for. The Museum Park plan centralizes the museums, within the urban core. They will be located with easy access of public transit and within the region of the city most likely to continue witnessing densification and a renewal in urban life. Most importantly, the museums will present an actual use for the park, making it safe, actually usable, and a destination within its own right. They claim to be fighting for a preservation of green space, but I can’t help ask myself which park they are talking about, take a look at its current state and decide for yourself:

The Plan:

For High Resolution images and a full detail plan of the park, click here… More on this issue later…

13 Responses to “What Green space?”

  1. 1 Ryan

    The Miami C.A.V.E. (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) mentality manifested.

    Maybe they are afraid that real, high quality urban public spaces will justify the City’s move toward a denser, pedestrian-oriented city.

    Perhaps this is why they fight the Streetcar, as well. As each one of these projects moves forward, they have fewer and fewer excuses for leaving the automobile and miniature back yard behind.

    Or maybe it’s something else, which I will write about later.

  2. 2 John

    There is a limited amount of bayfront area for greenspace, so I can understand folks who want to save it in the park and say the museums should be across the street or up in the “arts district” or whereever. Personally, I don’t mind 20% of the park being used for musuems… seems like they’ll create a nice buffer between the ugly noisy freeway and the green space.

    However, when you look at the pictures, something is not clear: about _another_ 20% of the park in front of the museums seems to be taken up by some sort of “promenade” which looks suspiciously like a road past the museum entrances with a turning circle at the end. Now the museums are taking up 40% of the park…

    Another factor beyond using up space in the park is the cost of the museums. We already have functional art and science museums so does the county really need to build two more budget-busting edifaces?

    -John S.

  3. 3 Xavier

    This issue regarding current MPM plans having excessive green space consumption when, as Gabriel says, the park is in terrible shape, is ridiculous. The plans, as James mentioned in an earlier post, are sound and forward thinking.We’re downright lucky that they are in place.

    The site is world class, so is the design, so are the buildings going vertical around it. I look forward to seeing Ryan’s follow up on what he thinks might be the cause.

    I think the focus needs to be on how the museums will boost the local economy, quality of life, and cultural depth of the city not on whether it consumes 20% green space or less or more. That’s insane. Why weren’t these folks complaining when the park was only used by homeless and the occasional roving show?

  4. 4 Anonymous

    According to a recent report by Trust for Public Land stated that Miami was the last of 50 major cities in the U.S. for acres of green space/person. So Miami needs to increase its green space. There is currently a race track running through Bicentennial Park (still its name). The guy who owns the Homestead Race track had promised that he would repair the park after the Miami Grand Prix, but decided to go bankrupt instead and then open the Homestead racetrack soon after. He was never forced to pay back his debt to the residents of Miami. UEL has a lot of good ideas but with it currently split on their stance they should work out their internal stance before telling the city what they want. Ideally, the museums would not take up more space than they originally promised the UEL. The current plan is very cool, but we need a promise from all people involved with getting it built that it will be budgeted for and maintained in the future. This does have world class potential, and if the Bay Link is ever built it would be a pivotal stop for tourists on their way to the beach. Good work on the blog.

  5. 5 Anonymous

    I don’t think people want the park to look like what it does now. It’s rediculous to compare the park in its present state to what it could be w/o buildings. You show the park now next to the park w/ buildings AND landsaping. What about a park pic of now plus a park pic w/ landscaping. I think people want to preserve the park by only adding landscaping and sidewalks and lighting without two large museums taking up space. Where will the ultra music fest and other large outdoor downtown music festivals go once a lot of the space is covered w/ buildings? I doubt the people in Vancouver, Canada would want to open up museums in their large urban Stanley Park. The museums could be located in so many other spots. Why do they need to be on the waterfront. Miami should preserve its last remaining downtown open spaces as open spaces and build the museums mayber where the miami arena is or where they want to build the baseball stadium near govt. center. Why go to the waterfront park to sit in a building?

  6. 6 Anonymous

    The Museums could go anywhere, we have this idea that we should give away public space for private entities case in point AA Arena. I agree with anonymous that if they put lights in there, maintained the park even slightly put in some nice trees and maybe some picnic tables, people would go. Since it’s been closed to the public for so long and since homeless are the only people that occupy the park it is not very welcoming. Remove the old race track and make it welcome.

  7. 7 Dave

    Fill in the little inlet, make it greenspace, then you can build the musuems as designed and increase greenspace in the process.

  8. 8 Anonymous

    Filling in the inlet is foolish, the city just spent a lot of money fixing the baywall, that would be a huge waste of money.

  9. 9 Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal

    Yeah, I think the Inlet is an integral part of the park…I can envision future MDT waterborne services arriving at this point, along with local water taxi service…It could also serve as a waterborne museum space…

  10. 10 Anonymous

    The inlet also divides the park from the AA Arena which is nice. There is also space behind the arena that was supposed to be used as a park, what happened to that idea?

  11. 11 Anonymous

    I would like to see the model of the park including City Square, that will be a huge addition to the neighborhood removing several parking lots and replacing them with Giant Buildings.

  12. 12 Steven

    One other aspect to consider is that the museum park plan is basically the only thing keeping a new stadium for the marlins from being considered for the site. If we build the museums, we get green space. If we don’t, we get another stadium and no green space.

  13. 13 C.L. Jahn

    First, it’s ridiculous to claim that no one is complaining that the current state of the park is deplorable when in fact everyone is doing just that. The current park is a fine example of urban blight. People don’t use it because it IS overrun with homeless people. And frankly, it doesn’t LOOK like a park. it looks like a lot with a road over it. Everyone is basically in accord that the park must be drastically improved.

    But there must be a logical limit to that improvement. One of my favorite parks was a little quiet patch on Flagler. Nestled among the buildings, it was a lovely place to go and eat lunch, tucked away from the traffic on the street. There was a nifty little sandwich stand there. Someone decided to expand it. Then it expanded again. Now the sandwich stand occupies the entire space.

    I like museums. I spent some of my childhood outside Washington DC, and spend many weekends visiting various museums. Since that time, the number of museums has nearly doubled. And it’s no problem in Washington, because the space for those museums had been set aside ages ago.

    Unlike Performing Arts Centers or sports complexes, museums grow. They have to, as they collect more stuff to exhibit. I look at the plan, and it’s very nice, but I can’t help wondering what happens in 20 years when the museums need to double their floor space. You point out the pretty little model and cry “ONLY 20%!” I look at it and I see that the only place those museums can expand to in this plan is further into the park.

    In 20 years, we will stop seeing this as a park with 20% of the space taken up by museums: we’ll see the museums, and we’ll see the park. And when your grandchildren expand those museums into the park, they’ll cry “but we’re only going to take 20% of the park! It’s only 20%!”

    Show me that future growth will absolutely not encroach more of the park. Show me a plan that goes beyond the pathetic excuse for planning that occurs in Miami and actually outlines the future of the park and the museums for the next century. Show me that, and I’ll get behind the plan. But until you show me THAT plan, I will fight this one. It’s very pretty, but it’s shortsighted.

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