Miami Rise and Sink: Design for Urban Adaptation

This studio addresses contemporary conditions for ‘urban adaptation’ in an era of sea level rise, and forms a portion of the Office for Urbanization’s research project on South Florida. Using Miami Beach as perhaps the most extreme case in North America, the studio will develop urban proposals for the city’s ongoing transformation. As Miami’s coastal barrier islands form one of the most recognizable and singularly valuable cultural landscapes in the world, the conditions in Miami Beach reveal the potential for ecological and infrastructural strategies to act as alternatives to large single purpose engineering solutions. The structuring elements of urban form in Miami Beach are quickly becoming the pumps, seawalls, road elevations, artificial dunes and sacrificial floors that are detailed and extruded in response to rising sea levels and increased storm events. The overarching premise of the studio is that urban adaption to ambiguous sea levels is creating a new form of public space, and the application of resilience as a measure of success must respond to and address these public parameters. Through careful examination of current infrastructural modifications, the studio will strategize a comprehensive open space plan and built-form parameters for the future of Miami Beach’s Flamingo Park district, informed by a close reading of the district’s specific cultural heritage in relation to uncertainty and change.