Miami Rise & Sink

Studio with the Office for Urbanization Project on South Florida, Harvard Graduate School of Design


Studio model. Context with insertions of individual design projects that together function as a comprehensive master plan for flood mitigation.

This studio addresses contemporary conditions for ‘adaptation’ in an era of sea level rise, using municipal operations in Miami Beach as perhaps the most extreme case, developing proposals for the city’s ongoing transformation.

Through careful examination of current infrastructural modifications, the studio strategizes 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. 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.  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.

City of Miami Beach does not have a comprehensive open space plan that can amalgamate and service the transitions between some of the seemingly mundane thresholds of the city: sidewalk to shop, path to parking, ramp to entrance, steps to street. Under the pressures of sea level rise, varying stakeholders share a common concern to remain dry while staying economically viable and culturally relevant. At the same time, the public ground plane of Miami Beach is a mitigated layer of infrastructure that binds the public and private realm, a perspective on dispersed adaptation measures that aims to delaminate disparate programs.  Therefore, implementing an open space strategy that considers adaptation measures as both an infrastructural necessity and as a support for effective municipal response yields a comprehensive function for public development within the network of private urban typologies.

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Student work by Chris Merritt


Student work by Daniel Widis

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Student work by Robert Hipp

mapping flow

Student work by Han Xu

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