035: Meg Daly, Creating the Miami Underline

After breaking both her arms in a bicycling accident, Meg Daly was forced to explore Miami without a car – Something that Miami is not designed for!

One day, while walking in the shade under Metrorail, she envisioned a safe, beautiful space for walking, biking, and gathering. Her vision is being realized as The Underline, a 10 mile linear park, urban trail, and living art destination that will link to other trails in the Miami area.

Step-by-step Meg has assembled an army of almost 1,000 volunteers and has attracted government, foundation, and private partners. She now feels connected to her city and community in ways that she never thought possible, and is leading Miami to a better future!

Meg has lived in Miami for most of her life and has been married for 30 years to John, an entrepreneur, composer and former Olympic butterfly swimmer. They have two children who live in New York City. Meg leads The Underline project full-time (for free) and is exhilarated by the energy and expertise of her volunteers and the community members who are getting involved!

Meg Daly and Underline supportersDuring our discussion, Meg shares ideas for getting an idea activated and explains how she got traction with the Underline. She also shares her thoughts on:

  • Living in Miami, which is the fourth most dangerous place to walk in the country
  • Building cities for people not cars and returning to mobility solutions other than cars
  • Creating spaces where people ‘collide’ and ideas are shared
  • Features that include benches, water fountains, garbage receptacles, native vegetation, nature play areas, dog parks, outdoor living rooms for congregating and conversations, picnic areas, scenic overlooks, art, birding areas and exercise zones
  • Shaping the Underline based on community input
  • Support from University of Miami, the County Parks Department, the Transit Department, Swire Properties, the Knight Foundation
  • Surrounding herself with experts in urban planning, landscape design, and interacting with the local political system
  • The Highline in New York City, the Atlanta BeltLine, and how they have positively changed their communities
  • The Public Space Challenge: How the Underline got it’s start and other Miami projects can as well. Submit your idea to get started!
  • Gaining public awareness and adoption through Pokémon Go and monthly bike rides
  • The Under Lounge event that will feature the world’s longest putting green, a two hundred foot chalk mandala, three bands, and a Marlin’s batting cage
  • Studying design of public spaces in Copenhagen thanks to the Knight Foundation
  • In-kind donations and pro bono services that are critical to success such as office space, legal, accounting, marketing and architecture
  • The commitment of board members
  • Remarkable people Meg interacts with including her parents, husband and children
  • The Crowdsourceress, a book about crowdfunding written by Alex Daly, Meg’s daughter

Quotes from Meg

“Every idea is a good idea; it can get better, so be willing to shape it. Don’t be rigid, be flexible. Never lose your vision. Dream big, because people always try to chip away at your idea and make it smaller. Don’t get discouraged, but be realistic.”

“Surround yourself with people who know more than you do and HAVE FUN! If you’re not having fun don’t do it.”

“This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had in my life and I feel like everything I’ve done in my past has brought me to this moment.”

“I’m deeply entrenched and invested in the city now.”

“You’re pushing a rock uphill and you’re doing all the work. And then you get to a tipping point where you’ve got this momentum and then it goes over the top and the momentum comes in the shape of other people coming up with great ideas and other people bringing their expertise to the table. ”

Learn More
Visit: TheUnderline.org

email Meg: info@theunderline.org