Activities in the College of Architecture + The Arts didn’t cease during the week of Spring Break. FIU’s department of Landscape Architecture (LAA) hosted another big event: The River of Grass Greenway (ROGG) East Community Workshop. The master-planning design charrette was coordinated by LAA professor Ebru Ozer and held at the Paul L Cejas School of Architecture. It focused on a 75-mile long greenway transportation and recreation corridor across the Everglades between Krome Avenue and Naples. Engineers, ecologists, politicians, and members of the South Florida community attended the five-day long event. Landscape architects from the well-recognized design firm AECOM, Nick Kuhn, Ken Ray, Rand Mejeur and Principal Ecologist Jay Exum participated in the event.
ROGG plans to be much more than a recreation corridor. Its main goal is to design a pathway that will “build sustainability, with acute awareness of a potential environmental impact.” According to their mission statement, the ROGG is a non-motorized transportation and recreation corridor across the Everglades that will provide education and preservation of the environmental and cultural resources. The Miami Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the National Parks Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, are leading the master planning process which included several public charrettes.
The ROGG workshops were divided into segments, beginning with the ROGG West in Naples, followed by the ROGG Central charrette in Everglades City, and concluding with the ROGG East workshop at the Modesto Maidique Campus. The first day of the ROGG East workshops began with a brief presentation of the event and continued with three days of workshops from county planners followed by an open house on the last day. Events such as these allow students the opportunity to network with practitioners from the landscape architecture discipline, as well as stakeholders and government organizations.
With respect for the outcome of the event, Professor Ebru said, “We want to increase the visibility of our program, and create a venue that allows for close interaction between our students, professionals and community members. As outlined in FIU’s mission statement ‘We are committed to collaborative engagement with our local communities. Hosting the ROGG-East workshop accomplished this goal.”