by Daniel Widis (MLA '16)
Tenuously positioned as an informal slip of sand and coral limestone, Miami Beach has been formalized into a rigid, urban landscape through decades of commercially driven development. The end result is a city devoid of genuine public space. When expressed, public space lands in the artless form of linear spaces running along beach-front properties. The inherent tension between public/private, formal/ informal is best expressed in these linear landscapes – spaces that are framed as pedestrian and civic, but at their heart are unapologetically commercial. The inevitability of sea level rise offers an invaluable opportunity to reclaim and animate the city’s largely forgotten public realm. Ocean Court revitalizes a neglected interstitial alleyway in a city desperate for functional community and civic space.