About Grounded

Liberty Square is a new development built on one of the oldest black-only public housing sites in Miami. The venue is in Liberty City (the heart of Miami Dade’s African American community) where, in the mid-twentieth century, African Americans were forced to stay on one side of an 8-foot tall segregation wall after sunset.  

The local public housing authority recently decided to build Liberty Square, where some of the community’s previous public housing residents and other low income individuals could live. The premise was that they would try to keep as many of the original residents of that community in the new buildings, but this turned out to be aspirational as not all of them were actually able to return. 

Cortada created metal mangrove roots for Liberty Square to ensure that every entrance at each of the 18 buildings across the 3 block area would be marked with the roots of the community. The roots aim to ground residents in their community and serve as a constant reminder that the development is deeply rooted in the history of the place – the good history of the leaders that thrived and helped build community, but also the dark history of racism, violence and exploitation.

As originally designed, the buildings’ entrance gates looked institutional. What Cortada aimed to do was bring an aesthetic that brought beauty, by connecting the intricate set of interlaced roots to the colors and trim of the buildings, but more importantly worked as a metaphor for the community that was built at this location and that continues to be grounded at Liberty Square.