With Colada: Our Sunday Reads 07.12.15

Adult Playground in the Bronx - image courtesy NYT

Adult Playground in the Bronx - image courtesy NYT

This week we’ve been reading a lot about ways to adapt cities and how we can make Miami more adaptable. Adaptability is a vital element of any city, allowing it to shift and change as new information is discovered and as the needs of its citizens change, sometimes even evolving into a playground!

Dr. Wendler is using her background as an urban geographer to think about cities in a new and exciting way, as playgrounds for adults. Turning the concept of urban space on it’s head, she is working to make walking around a city and going about your everyday business into an adventure. She wants people to become “aware of elements that they ignore in their daily life.” Projects like the Pac Man mural at Brickell Metro is an example of what Miami could do with such an idea. New York is also on the move with this, creating a playground for adults a few years ago.

Mountain biking at Amelia - image courtesy Mountain Bike Mike

Mountain biking at Amelia - image courtesy Mountain Bike Mike

Sometimes just exploring a part of the Miami area that you haven’t really ever seen can be it’s own adventure. We recommend following the advice of The New Tropic and heading over to Hialeah, perhaps to their famous Flamingo Plaza Thrift stores or the Amelia Earhart Park for some mountain biking!

So why is thinking about cities in new ways so important? For one thing, our environment in our community plays a huge and significant role in our health and overall wellbeing. A recent article on place-making focused on the impact urban design has on community health. According to Dr. Iton, “eighty percent of what influences your life expectancy happens outside of the medical system, and that’s a conservative estimate.” And a large part of that 80% is the built environment we interact with and live in everyday. Turning our city into a fun place to be, a place where play is a part of our daily routine, where parks are plentiful and sidewalks safe and accessible has the power to alter the health of our entire community.  

Cities like Vancouver have been working to change how their transportation functions and how their city is designed so that pedestrians and cyclists are not only accommodated but that streets, sidewalks, and the city is designed for them too. They have joined cities like Seattle by adopting Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to get pedestrian fatalities to zero. That kind of forward thinking could radically alter Miami into a city that is welcoming to its pedestrians and cyclists, and change the current depressing statistic of Miami as the 4th most dangerous city in the nation to be a pedestrian.

Meeting of a Special Committee of the MPO - image courtesy the Miami Herald

Meeting of a Special Committee of the MPO - image courtesy the Miami Herald

Miami has been adapting too, and it looks as though we may be on the cusp of a new age of transportation in Miami, as city and county officials have begun to recognize that multiple forms of transportation are vital if the Magic City is going to continue growing and welcoming companies like Twitter to the city.

As you’re reading, we hope your creative and advocacy juices are churning, thinking about how you can contribute to making your neighborhood and city more adaptable, more livable! And, don’t forget to join us today for our first #ColadaChat on Twitter at 1:00 PM. Tell us what you’ve been reading and thinking about cities and adaptability, place-making, transportation, and anything else you’ve been checking out!