By Nancy Dahlberg
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has made another key investment in The Underline, this time to fund a technology master plan for the proposed 120-acre linear urban park, biking and walking trail and public art destination spanning 10 underutilized miles beneath the Miami-Dade County Metrorail.
The $925,000 investment will also fund the hiring of a Chief Information Officer and Chief Operating Officer. The CIO will guide a process to create a vision and roadmap for integrating technology throughout the massive project -- a trail that would connect a series of unique parks, gardens and playgrounds that would reflect the spirit of the surrounding neighborhoods. The unique project has the potential to elevate the city’s liveability, serving as a magnet for talent as well as a connector, according to the Knight Foundation’s Miami leader.
“Miami is a city on the rise, and The Underline is a game-changing development that further elevates our city as a place of global relevance,” said Raul Moas, Knight Foundation Miami program director, in a statement. “As a world-class, resident-driven public space, The Underline has the power to stimulate civic life, create incentives for talented people to live and stay in Miami, and inspire creativity and connections that uplift our community.”
The foundation invested in the launch of the Underline project in 2015, and last year, the foundation contributed $500,000 toward public art for the Underline. In total, Knight has invested $2 million in the project, founded by Meg Daly, that seeks to revitalize parts of Miami similar to the High Line’s impact in New York. “The investment helps equip The Underline to design a cutting edge technology infrastructure that puts residents first and unleashes the potential of the space’s creators and users,” said Daly, founder of Friends of The Underline.
The first phase of the project, called the Brickell Backyard, kicked off last year and is expected to be completed next year, as construction on phase 2 kicks off. Friends of the Underline plans to hire the CIO and COO by the end of the year. Find out more at theunderline.org.
In May, Knight Foundation announced it was committing more than $1 million to support nine projects that aim to deepen connections between local startup founders, investors and talent, as well as opening avenues to bring newcomers in. These include a fellowship program that provides top-performing local university engineering students with professional development and venture opportunities, an angel network at the University of Miami, and curated, intimate dinners that bring together newcomers and veterans of Miami’s startup community.
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