Adapting Miami – Housing on the Transect

Miami is on the front lines of climate change. Its famous beaches and waterfront condominiums are projected to suffer significantly with sea level rise in the next 50 years. How can designers address issues of resilience and adaptability at a range of scales, from the district and neighborhood down to the individual building proposal? This interdisciplinary studio will look at architecture, transportation, mobility and climate adaptability as critical issues facing the contemporary American City. Funded through the Knight Foundation and using Miami as an urban laboratory, the studio will address contemporary urban and architectural challenges facing many American cities.

The studio will focus on housing types along an urban transect, cutting from the high density coastline and following the primary commercial corridor of Calle Ocho (Eight Street)  through Little Havana and out to the Florida everglades. Calle Ocho, also known as Route 41, is a primary east-west corridor that historically marked the entrance to Miami as well as the route west to the Gulf side of the peninsula and beyond. Students will study sites along this corridor to develop a catalog of urban and architectural types, from the high-rise transit-oriented development in Downtown Miami to the mid-scaled developments along its axis, to the ex-urban developments around Sweetwater and Tiamiami. This urban transect cuts through different neighborhoods, and different ethnic and socio-economic groups. The section through Calle Ocho also cuts through different eco-systems and water bodies, from Biscayne Bay to the Everglades.

Students will be looking at housing through the lens of typology, density, access to transit and climate adaptability to develop a climate adaptation tool kit consisting of approaches for both new construction and adaptation through a study of building types and eco-systems.

Work from the studio will be published in a GSD-produced Studio Report and will be presented in Miami. The studio will conduct a week long site visit to meet local planners, community members and designers. The studio will run alongside Jesse Kennan’s course on Integrated Design & Planning for Climate Change, SES 5389, and will benefit from engagement with faculty from Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture.