Ingredients of Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan
The Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space System is a 50-year, unifying vision for a livable, sustainable community. It’s a public declaration of principles and goals for a seamless, sustainable system of great parks, public spaces, natural areas & cultural areas, greenways, water trails, and streets. With more than 2,000 square miles within its boundaries, Miami-Dade County is larger than the entire land area of Rhode Island. It consists of 35 incorporated municipalities (1.3 million residents) and an unincorporated area with 1.5 million residents. Its population is expected to increase by 3 million by 2025 and up to 4.5 million by 2060. The previous parks master plan was adopted in 1969 and addressed park specific recommendations. The current plan takes a holistic approach to parks and open space.
The master plan has specific goals:
• Every resident in the County can walk (within 5 minutes) to a central neighborhood park or civic space for picnics, special events, informal play and socialization.
• Every resident can safely and comfortably walk, bicycle, or take transit to community parks, recreation centers and special use/sports facilities.
• A balance of active and passive recreation opportunities are available to all residents.
• The County Parks Department works with State and Federal Agencies, every municipality and the School District to provide public access to schools, parks, and recreation areas.
• Public access is provided to lakes, beaches, forests and other major natural areas. The County’s significant cultural and historical sites are protected, maintained, and promoted.
• Conservation areas and critical habitats are protected from over-use and negative impacts.
• An interconnected network of shaded and safe bikeways and trails connect to parks, neighborhoods, schools, employment centers, civic buildings,and other community destinations.
• Existing streets are transformed into tree-lined boulevards and parkways that define the County’s urban form.
• Transit is provided to parks and civic sites.
• Public art, signage and cultural/historical exhibits are integrated into park and public realm infrastructure projects to “tell the County’s story” and to create a sense of pride and place.
• Park improvements are used to create a sense of place for neighborhood stabilization and/or redevelopment.
• Parks are designed to reduce energy and water consumption, and to serve as models for sustainable development County-wide.
• Parks are designed to be flexible in order to accommodate ever-changing recreation trends and demographics.
• Residents of surrounding neighborhoods are engaged in the planning, design and stewardship of each park.
The vision for the Miami-Dade County Parks and Open Space system includes the following components:
Great parks are for everyone, and should provide a diverse and balanced system of active and passive recreational opportunities. The County’s Vision is that residents of every neighborhood, urban, suburban, rural, incorporated and unincorporated, have equal access to places to walk, to exercise, to socialize and to engage in a healthy, active lifestyle.
Great public spaces often define the great cities of the world. As Miami-Dade County develops more densely, there will be a need for great, attractive, usable public spaces that provide an opportunity for meaningful recreation experiences. These can be anything from neighborhood plazas to great waterfront vistas and promenades.
Great natural and cultural places can be celebrated in a system of Zones (clusters of Environmentally Endangered Lands and Cultural Resource Centers) that: provide a variety of education activities and programs; elevate the public’s appreciation and understanding of the County’s natural ecosystems and cultural amenities; engage the surrounding neighborhoods; and link the sites with the other elements of the open space system through streets, greenways, and water trails.
Great greenways, trails, and water trails can form an interconnected system that: provides transportation alternatives and reduces traffic congestion; creates new recreational opportunities; increases property values; protects natural resources; and encourages tourism and business development. These trails strengthen connections across the County, from Broward to Monroe Counties, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Everglades.
Great streets can be created through the redevelopment of existing arterial and collector roads to: create urban form and identity; improve aesthetics; provide for bicycle/pedestrian safety and comfort; and to improve the social, physical and economic environment for land uses along the corridors. To facilitate the creation
of great streets, Miami-Dade County must move beyond vehicular performance-based street design and instead design streets that are defined by their role in the community. While all streets should have a minimum level of accessibility to all modes of transportation, not all streets require the same details.
Source: Miami-Dade County Parks Recreation and Open Space Master Plan