For the past year, my team and I have been diligently working to plan and create the Baywalk pop-up--a temporary public art installation on downtown Miami's waterfront. Why-- because Miami deserves a stellar waterfront walkway.
Over time I've recruited an internationally acclaimed architecture firm and collected an assortment of public endorsements, funding and finally a true partnership with the City. Here's how we did it and how you can do it in your City. (Note all imagery was produced by ArquitectonicaGeo)
1. Choose your passion:
Mine was improving public access to downtown Miami's urban waterfront with a cool and fun, temporary art installation. Maybe you didn't know but the Baywalk is already a thing. All the waterfront restaurants like Epic and Cippriani that overlook Biscayne Bay are separated by a 50 foot wide path which the City required them to build. In fact, all new construction (and most old) have some version of this path. The problem is that in several places the path is incomplete, think about the old Herald site and some of the bridge crossings. An even bigger problem is that none of these paths look or feel the same. They have no signs and do not exist on any map or public website. They feel private. I didn't get it. Why wouldn't the City try to make this a real waterfront? It seemed so obvious.
2. Do your homework:
The more I investigated, the more I realized how complicated it was to create one beautiful waterfront path on property that was not owned by the City. Each property has a different public or private owner. That's when the lightbulb went off. Let's pick one location so everyone can see how cool the waterfront could be with a little imagination. I picked the PortMiami bridge shown above. There's actually a footpath underneath this bridge (images B and C) which connects the back of American Airlines Arena (image A) to Bayside Marketplace. It's a haven for homeless and fairly unsanitary at times, but who wouldn't blame the homeless for wanting a spot with a view!
3. Know your players:
Before assembling my team, I pitched the idea to the Florida Department of Transportation. They owned the bridge and the area beneath it. They were so excited about the project that they helped me convince the Miami Parking Authority to sponsor the project and handle all of the tough parts like permitting, insurance and construction management.