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26 February 2019

Van Alen Institute and the City of Miami Extend RFQ Deadline for Jose Marti Park Adaptive Redesign to March 13th

Media contacts:  Sarah Haun, Van Alen Institute: shaun@vanalen.org, t 212 924 7000 x12;  Stephanie Severino, City of Miami: sseverino@miamigov.com, t 305 213 2226


Multi-Disciplinary Teams Worldwide Invited to Submit Qualifications to Develop a Visionary, Implementable, Replicable, and Climate-Adaptive Design for Popular Riverfront Park in East Little Havana


Download the RFQ and addendum here. The deadline for submissions is *now March 13, 2019*

New York, NY (January 24, 2019; updated February 26th) — Van Alen Institute and the City of Miami have released and extended the deadline of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the climate-adaptive redesign of Jose Marti Park, a popular 13-acre public facility on the Miami River in the East Little Havana neighborhood. Submissions are now due March 13th.

Van Alen’s introduction of climate adaptation to the project scope solidified the City’s commitment of $940,000 to the budget for the early phases of the redesign. The Jose Marti Park project is part of Keeping Current: A Sea Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami, Van Alen’s multi-year inquiry into how cities and communities can use design as a catalyst for adapting to climate change.

“This is the kind of project that highlights Miami’s strengths,” said Mayor Francis Suarez, “We have a strong and engaged community with new ideas that bring people together to face our challenges as a city.”

“By involving the people who live here in the design process and incorporating resilience, this project will both protect and engage people as it showcases creative design strategies,” says Van Alen Institute’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Jessica Lax.

“The City of Miami is in the unique position to lead by example as many communities around the world prepare to tackle environmental issues,” says City Manager Emilio Gonzalez. “As a global city, we are opening up this competition to the international design community to be sure to attract the best expertise to the opportunity before us.”

“At sea level, alongside a river, and subject to flooding on a regular basis, Jose Marti Park can become the model for the adaptive waterfront park of the future,” says the City’s Chief Resilience Officer Jane Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert is playing a crucial role in working closely with the community and Van Alen to ensure that the solution strategies will help the City of Miami serve the present and future needs of its diverse residents while making the city more sustainable, resilient, and attractive.

“We’re delighted to have Van Alen Institute and the City working with us to bring the local people into the process,” says Madelyn R. Llanes, Director of Centro Mater Childcare Center in Little Havana. “Together we can make sure this is our park for our people and reflects our creativity and diversity.”

About Jose Marti Park

Jose Marti Park is a hub of activity for Little Havana, the Miami River waterfront area, and other adjacent communities, many of which are low income. With a host of amenities, including a riverwalk, community center, baseball field, playground, swimming pool, outdoor fitness equipment, and basketball complex, the Park is often bustling with activity. Yet the Park experiences flooding from both the Miami River during high tides and from rainstorms due to its topography and lack of drainage features. For these reasons, the Park is emblematic of the challenges that river conditions present to communities throughout the South Florida region and other low-lying coastal areas.

A portion of the Park also lies in the shadow of an I-95 overpass and presents an opportunity to demonstrate how public spaces in underpass areas can be better utilized to serve the community.

About the Jose Marti Park Redesign RFQ

Through this RFQ, Van Alen and the City seek to commission a multi-disciplinary design team for the project that offers the full range of professional urban design, landscape architecture, and engineering services and includes at least one Florida-licensed firm. The design team will work with Van Alen Institute and the City to ensure that this treasured public space serves the present and future needs of the Little Havana community.

Another aim of the project is that the solution not only be implemented in Jose Marti Park but also serve as a model to be replicated in other places with similar conditions. The City has structured the solicitation to allow for future design development and implementation phases with additional funding.

  • To download the RFQ solicitation documents and learn how to prepare a submission, please visit the city’s procurement website: http://www.miamigov.com/MiamiCapital/NewBidsandProposals.html. Submissions are due to the City’s procurement office on March 13, 2019.
  • Respondents should also download the Keeping Current Resource Guide, about the latest findings on climate science and strategies for mitigating the effects of sea level rise, from Van Alen’s website: https://www.vanalen.org/content/uploads/2017/08/Resource-Guide_Keeping-Current.pdf

In addition to reframing the RFQ to include climate adaptation and inviting the design community worldwide to submit qualifications, Van Alen Institute is leading the community engagement process in Miami through schematic design development. To this end, Van Alen assembled and hired a local Project Outreach Team in the spring of 2018 to identify the needs of park users. The Project Outreach Team is comprised of individuals that the City identified as knowledgeable and well connected in Little Havana:

  • Carlos Dulzaides, Corporate Trainer, Hertz
  • Avra Jain, Owner, Miami River Inn
  • Madelyn R. Llanes, Director, Centro Mater
  • Barby Rodriguez, Public Outreach Specialist, EV Services, Inc.
  • Ian Zink, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Miami

This group will ensure that the project reflects communities’ goals and interests in the project by administering surveys and helping to plan, facilitate, and promote community engagement events once a design team is awarded.

About Van Alen Institute and Keeping Current: A Sea Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami

At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than 125 years of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions. Keeping Current harnesses Van Alen’s expertise and network to help South Florida residents gain a better understanding of sea level rise and their opportunities to adapt to their changing environment.

Keeping Current: A Sea Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami is a project of Van Alen Institute that encompasses a series of initiatives seeking innovative solutions to protect South Florida’s 6 million residents from the potentially catastrophic consequences of sea level rise. To fund the initiative, Van Alen raised $850,000 from The Rockefeller Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Miami Foundation, Target, and Terra.

The Keeping Current initiative includes:

  • Publishing the Keeping Current Resource Guide to inform architects, designers, engineers, and other professionals about the latest findings on climate science and strategies for mitigating the effects of sea level rise. The guide is available to RFQ respondents for reference at: https://www.vanalen.org/content/uploads/2017/08/Resource-Guide_Keeping-Current.pdf
  • Creating Keeping Current: Climate Design Lab in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and The Cleo Institute Climate Design Lab. This 3-week summer program on designing for climate adaptation was first offered to local high school students in July 2018 and will soon be open for 2019 applications.
  • Another municipal facility design competition, a conference, and an exhibition that will be announced in the coming months.

More information on the project web pages.