MEET THIS LOCAL: When Florida International University student Malone Matson hit the highway, she found herself growing increasingly frustrated. “I felt trapped in a car,” she said. “I was spending so much time sitting on U.S. 1 wishing I could just breeze by on a bike. I felt really frustrated about the lack of alternative forms of transportation in our city.”
So she did something about it. The architecture student, who’s graduating soon with a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard, submitted a plan for bike repair and pump stations to The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge in 2014 — and she won.
WHAT SHE IS DOING: “My passion is landscape architecture,” Matson told us. “(It’s) the designing of beautiful outdoor spaces that enhance ecological integrity, improve social equity, and implement strategies of resilience and adaptation in the face of climate change.”
The almost-graduate has worked at multiple architecture firms in New York City, as well as in Miami. Last summer, she was involved in developing a streetscape master plan for Wynwood. She plans on opening her own Miami-based landscape design practice and has some projects lined up for June.
QUOTABLE: “When I heard about the Public Space Challenge, I wanted to propose something that could make biking feel safer or at least more convenient,” Matson said. “I actually submitted several ideas, but the idea to install public bike repair stations was the winner. I don’t know how often they’re used — I hope they are helpful — but I do think just having them available and visible sends a message to the public that Miami cares about bikers.”
FUN FACT: “I’m a fifth-generation Miamian — born and raised! — on both my mom and dad’s side,” Matson told us. “Though I spent a few years living in New York and working on projects in Costa Rica, I came back to Miami in my mid-20s.” The Miami native turned 30 in January.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Matson’s brainchild of bike service stations can be seen throughout Miami in locations including South Miami, Wynwood, and Coral Gables. For those interested in entering the 2019 Public Space Challenge, Matson has the following advice: “Keep it simple. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
“Use this project as an excuse to get to know your community,” she said. “Reach out to any and everyone asking how to get it done and who to talk to. You’ll be surprised how many people out there are eager to help motivated young people make their city a better place.”