Miami PARK(ing) Day to Turn Parking Spots Into Pop-Up Parks

Courtesy of Marta Viciedo
As Miami's population booms, the debate about parking only gets more contentious (just ask business owners in Wynwood). But what if we were a city who needed fewer parking spots, thus freeing up more public space? What would we do with it? How would our sense of community change?

These questions are the domain of PARK(ing) Day, a global event on Friday, September 19, when metered parking spots are turned into mini-parks. This year, ten parking spots (mainly in downtown Miami) will be transformed into engaging pop-up parks, all to challenge the status quo of how we're using public street space.

See also: PARK(ing) Day Will Turn Metered Spots Into Mini-Parks in Downtown Miami

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Colony1 Eco-Friendly Community to Build Sustainable "Living Building" in Wynwood

Photos by Jayme Gershen
A model of Colony1's planned "living building."
Forget San Francisco or Portland. Thanks to Colony1, Miami might be the next sustainable Shangri-La.

In the works in Wynwood is a community classroom, vegan kitchen, urban garden, bulk food store, and multifaceted facility, thanks to environmental pioneers Nando and Blair Jaramillo and their organization, the Art of Cultural Evolution (ACE).

The building and community hub is in its initial planning stages, but to welcome the upcoming addition, ACE is hosting a get-to-know-you neighborhood event in conjunction with Art Walk this Saturday. Pop in for some mulching fun, a vegan pot luck, fresh fruit, music and social time with some of Miami's finest minds.

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Miami Design Charrette Tackles Global Warming: "We Bring the Issue Home"

Global warming is a major issue these days, affecting everything from an increased possibility of death and destruction courtesy of the next killer hurricane, to the seemingly improbable winter weather that turns entire stretches of the country into a scenic panorama that suggests we're entering a new ice age -- and even cheating spouses. Yet, for all the doubts and dismissals, the evidence is pretty clear that something is amiss with our environment. What else could account for the fact that huge chunks of the polar ice caps are giving way and leaving scarcely enough frozen tundra to refill the ice in our cocktail glasses on a Saturday night in South Beach?

Politicos can debate the cause and effect endlessly, but in Miami, one group is actually motivated enough to do something about this dilemma, and get the rest of us involved as well. On Saturday, June 21, the good folks in Wynwood are organizing a day of activities -- a "charrette," meaning "a collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem." In this case, it's a confab intended to shape a vision for smart and sustainable growth across Miami-Dade County, offering key strategies to cope with the imminent threats of our time, among them, rising seas, diminishing resources and an increasing population.

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IKEA Installs South Florida's Largest Rooftop Solar Panel

Courtesy of Ikea
Given that Florida is the Sunshine State, it's semi-puzzling that Floridians don't have a wider array of solar-powered stuff. Shouldn't like everything be fueled by that burning ball of gas that keeps us all in killer tans?

Well, at least one company is committed to harnessing the power of the sun: IKEA. The furniture giant just finished installing South Florida's largest solar array atop their soon-to-open Sweetwater store.

See also: IKEA Miami Now Hiring: 350 Jobs Including Food Service Positions

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Ten Things to Do in Honor of Earth Day

Despite the fact that she sustains our lives, literally, Mother Nature doesn't get a whole lot of kudos. Most of the time, we're abusing her via gas-guzzling vehicles, carbon-spouting factory farms, and plastic trash by the ton.

Since she only gets one day of recognition out of 365, the least we can do is show her some serious love. Luckily, there are lots of ways to make with the earth-affection this week, from volunteering, to ethical eating, to adopting a homeless pup. Check out our list and hop to it.

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Zadok Gallery Showcasing Sublime Wordly Exhibits through April

Courtesy of Zadok Gallery
Zadok Gallery has begun previewing two new exhibitions from very different parts of the world. The space is clearly attempting to go big with this latest showing. The gallery, which carries a variety of pieces ranging from optical illusions made of rainbow strings to robots being projected upon, has branched out into really using its space.

See also: Locust Projects' Latest Exhibition Explores the Many Identities of the Everglades, Opens Saturday

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Ideagarden Park Project: LAB Miami and Matthew Lewis Aim to "Repair" Wynwood With Green Spaces

Matthew Lewis discusses the concept and design of the Ideagarden
Miami. It's the Magic City in the Sunshine State. This town has too many superlatives and nicknames associated with it to list, but they add up to the same thing: it ain't bad living in the sub-tropics. Our weather is the envy of Bostonians and Chicagoans who curse our tanned asses as they hunker down for another bitterly cold winter. And yet, one of the things Miami does not have to the same extent as many other major cities, including those a tad bit closer to the frozen tundras, is a wealth of parks and open spaces around town.

Obviously, it's not as if we have no parks, but it's tough to argue against the idea of installing more places for Miamians to enjoy the natural splendor of the city.

Among the most barren parts of town - as far as parks go, at least - is Wynwood, the booming art district borne out of a post-industrial warehouse sector of the city. That's something that landscape architect, Matthew Lewis, is trying to change, starting with a concept called "the Ideagarden" along the side of the LAB Miami.

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The Cove's Ric O'Barry on Boycotting Miami Seaquarium, Dolphin Slaughter, and How Rock and Roll Can Save the World

Pochacco20 Flickr/cc
Miami native Ric O'Barry is one of those rare individuals so utterly devoted to his cause, so passionate and heartfelt, that he inspires generations of followers to stand alongside him. Since the 1970s, he's been working tirelessly to save dolphins from being slaughtered and captured across the globe - a fight which was captured in the Oscar-award winning documentary The Cove. And his organization, the Dolphin Project, has its roots right here in the 305.

After a former career as a dolphin capturer and trainer at the Miami Seaquarium, O'Barry had a revelation and began working to rehabilitate and release these highly intelligent, sensitive mammals and end the captive dolphin industry once and for all.

This Friday, O'Barry will be headlining an event at Luna Star Cafe as part of a fundraising event to help support his efforts. We spoke to the legendary advocate about how Miami inspired his career, how he deals with the horrors he's witnessed and how all of us can step up to help.

See also: Is the Ringling Brothers Circus Abusing Its Animals in Miami?

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The Miami Environmental Film Festival: Three Can't-Miss Documentaries

Chasing Ice
The second annual Miami and the Beaches Environmental Film Festival (MBEFF) is comin' at ya this week, packed with a crop of absorbing documentaries and films that tackle the most pressing contemporary issues worldwide.

Produced by the Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches (ECOMB), the festival will bring 11 cutting-edge environmental films to MIA, with nightly screenings from Wednesday to Sunday.

We caught up with festival organizers Michael Laas and Miguel Peña to get some of their top picks for MBEFF. After the jump, check out three stand-out docs that shouldn't be missed.

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TOMS and University of Miami Release Shark Shoe in Time for Shark Week

What does a species more than 400 million years old have in common with a pair of espadrilles? Not a whole lot -- until TOMS and University of Miami's RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program decided to team up and protect marine life in style and comfort.

Days before the national frenzy over Shark Week, TOMS released its newest design, the Shark Shoe, after more than a year of collaboration between RJD and the popular shoe company.

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