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2013 Award of Merit - Urban Thread
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Project Category: Conceptual

Project Name: Urban Thread

Length of Design Effort & Date of Completion: 3 ½ months & May 1st, 2013

Student: Vanessa Alvarado, Florida International University

Faculty Advisor: Ebru Ozer


The project site encompasses the City of Miami Beach located in Florida.  The city is located on a series of natural and man-made barrier islands at the southeast tip of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.  The city has been one of America's leading beach resort cities since the early 20th century attracting tourists from throughout the world.


The project began with an investigation of the city’s parks in relation to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods and environments.  The city’s collective system of parks, and also individual parks, were examined with the intention of understanding their roles and developing a basis for the creation of a conceptual park plan that will promote a more sustainable community.

Many cities today are afflicted by traffic congestion.  This is certainly the case in the City of Miami Beach. Cycling is a highly efficient means of sustainable transportation that can be an excellent alternative to the automobile. By establishing an alternative transportation system of bike paths that are integrated into greenways and connected to parks, not only can automotive traffic be reduced, but also active healthy living will be promoted in the community.  It will encourage an eco-friendly transportation method that will reduce pollution.  It will also create incentive for people to exercise and will promote increased use of green open spaces for recreation. 

Conceptual Design Plan:

Currently, Miami Beach is not a very cyclist-friendly city.  In order to change this is a series of greenway links utilizing the existing park structure could be introduced.  The project maps out possible locations for new spatial linkages within the community and connecting to the park system.  The new links would extend throughout the city and connect both interior and coastal neighborhoods.  To create these new links some streets would be closed off to form new "strand parks.”   The strands would accommodate the cycling links as well as a variety of other recreational activities. 

I chose to focus on the North Shore Open Space Park for illustrating my proposed design strategy.  It is a coastal park located in the northern portion of Miami Beach.  My concept for this project evokes a ribbon flowing through the air evolving into different curved, flowing pathways for use by cyclists and pedestrians. 

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.