Miami’s Underdeck will connect two communities – Overtown and Downtown – that have been separated by a highway since the 1960s. Through an unprecedented community outreach and engagement effort, Miami has intentionally centered community in the design of the new, world-class public space that will be built beneath a redesigned highway overpass. The Underdeck’s mile-long heritage trail and outdoor amenities, including an amphitheater, community plaza and children’s play area, will bring people together and bridge communities through shared space and experiences.
Once known as the “Harlem of the South,” Miami’s Overtown community suffered significant residential and business displacement during the construction of I-395 in the 1960s. Over 85 acres of housing and commercial property were destroyed, and only 20% of the neighborhood’s population remained after construction was completed.
As Miami develops plans for the Underdeck – a world-class public space beneath a new I-395 overpass – they’re emphasizing a restorative effort to involve and value the voices of the historic Overtown district. In the project’s earliest planning stages, the Miami City Commission established the Underdeck Committee, a diverse group of community stakeholders responsible for facilitating public engagement and collecting community-driven recommendations on design, maintenance, governance and funding. The committee brings together community advocates and activists to share their perspectives while uncovering areas of congruent needs, expectations and priorities.
The result will be a grassroots blueprint for a unifying urban greenspace that reflects and includes the communities it bridges.