FIU Wins Twice in Miami Foundation 2015 Public Space Challenge


More than 300 ideas and projects were submitted over the summer to The Miami Foundation 2015 Public Space Challenge, and FIU is represented among two of the 18 winners chosen. Open to everyone in Miami Dade County, the Challenge uncovers the best ideas for creating, improving and activating local public spaces (Source).

The Inter-City Arts Collaboratory submission for Bunche Park which teamed up with Associate Professor Roberto Rovira as Lead Designer and Artist for the project, and the Wynwood Greenhouse by Metro1 Community, Assistant Professor Nick Gelpi, Associate Professor Roberto Rovira, and Jim Drain (artist and 2005 Bâloise Art Prize recipient), took one of the coveted Open Space Challenge prizes this year. The grant money from The Miami Foundation will allow for solar panels to be installed on the roof of the soon-to-be-built Wynwood Greenhouse park, and the grant money will also fund the transformation of the unused outdoor area of the Bunche Park Community Center in Miami Gardens into a hub for cutting-edge outreach projects and activities.

In its third year, The Miami Foundation’s 2015 prize increased to a total of $305,000 in grants to be distributed among the winners, compared to last year’s $130,000. The Health Foundation of South Florida will contribute towards ideas promoting healthy exercise activities and access to fresh food. Baptist Health South Florida joins the Challenge partners this year, helping to foster ideas that encourage healthy lifestyles in the community. (Source)

The Bunche Park Community Collaboratory, was created by the Inter-City Arts Collaboratory, a contemporary cultural arts initiative committed to cultivating more connected and more socially conscious urban neighborhoods through creative community collaborations and cultural arts. The initiative at Bunche Park aims to visually enhance this underused public space in the Miami Gardens community, as well as use this project as a pilot for future community-based, intergenerational participatory cultural arts projects across South Florida. The Inter-City Arts Director of Collaborative Community Programming, Kelly Brady-Rumble, is working with Roberto Rovira to promote thoughtful urban design and landscape architecture as essential catalysts that increase the livability index of a community. The Collaboratory sees urban design and landscape architecture as facilitators of increased civic engagement and lasting social change. (Source)

The other winner of the Open Space Challenge that involves FIU, was the Wynwood Gateway Park competition, which was the product of an international competition conceived by neighborhood visionary and Metro 1 President and CEO, Tony Cho, in partnership with DawnTown. The Wynwood Greenhouse  works  “at  the  intersection  of  art,  architecture,  and landscape  in  a  local  community with a global  presence,”  according to the Gelpi, Rovira, Drain art and design team. The park will offer shade, while harnessing solar energy to power lighting at night and a sound system for concerts. Metro 1 and the City of Miami are working with the team behind Wynwood Greenhouse to make the idea a reality. “We hope that our park will be a place where people come together with nature and art in an urban environment, where everyone can feel at home and where people and nature thrive together,” indicated the design team.

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