This year's Art Basel/Design Miami was a wash. The tallest stilettos could not save feet from floodwaters that inundated streets and forced partygoers under small tents. Even when it's not raining, water bubbles up through stormwater grates and sewers, a result of the city's porous limestone bedrock. Miami Beach is a barrier island that is routinely battered by hurricanes and floods. With global warming, the bad floods will only get worse. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and NOAA predict sea level rise between eight inches and six feet by 2100. For these reasons, Harvard GSD's newly established Design Office for Urbanization selected Miami Beach as its first focus site. Though unaffiliated with Harvard, a recent Florida architecture grad would make a great contribution to the program. Designer Isaac Stein, at West 8's New York office, envisions a solution for incorporating rising seas into Miami Beach's urban design, Vanity Fair reports. While completing an undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Miami, Stein drafted a plan for a mangrove forest, raised buildings, canals, and other design interventions that will bend to, not fight, the rising seas. The plan focuses on South Beach proper, from 5th to 15th Streets. One of Miami Beach's main thoroughfares, Alton Road, would be raised on stilts to accomodate floodwater. Trams would replace cars, and bike lanes would be installed along Washington Avenue, roughly parallel to and a few blocks inland from the Atlantic. Historically, Miami Beach's western (bay) side was lined with mangroves. Stein's plan restores the mangrove forest to provide a natural buffer against rising water. Canals would be cut in the medians Michigan, Jefferson, and Lenox Avenues. The resulting fill could be used to raise buildings and roads 1.5 feet above grade, would safeguard the city against six feet of sea level rise.
Posts tagged with "coastal resiliency":
Hurricane Sandy brought more than two feet of water inside 85 percent of homes in Union Beach, New Jersey, a low-to-middle income shoreside community south of Staten Island. In all, 315 homes (15 percent of the total housing stock) in the borough of 6,200 were damaged beyond repair, and demolished. Led by Jennifer Maier, resident and founder of the nonprofit Rebuilding Union Beach, the community built back. Rebuilding Union Beach commissioned the design and construction of flood-proof modular homes that now house 14 displaced families. The prefabricated homes, available in eight different styles, measure 950–1350 square feet, depending on the household's size. Constructed off-site, each took three to six weeks to build (excluding shipping and installation), at an average cost of $220,000 each. In tandem with homebuilding assistance, Rebuilding Union Beach helped homeowners apply for government assistance, insurance, and other storm recovery programs. These homes are reinforced to withstand another hurricane, and attendant 115 mile per hour winds. Rebuilding Union Beach touts the structures' "cement board siding, hurricane strapping, renewable and non-toxic materials, rainwater catchment, erosion-resistant planting, and solar panels." To help recovering communities in the region, the organization has shared their methods via a project guide. The project guide doubles as a process manual, sharing which interventions worked for the community and which were less successful. The guide explains, for example, that standard, three tab roof shingles have insufficient grip in high winds. Consequently, the houses were fitted with more durable, five tab shingles. The project was funded by a $770,000 grant from the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund and a $1.67 million grant from New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.