How Should Our Buildings Adapt to Florida’s Rising Sea Levels?
As sea levels rise and Florida sinks, how should our buildings adapt? The new Perez Art Museum Miami points the way.
By: Alastair Gordon
From the Article;
... A map recently published by National Geographic shows what North America might look like after the polar ice caps have melted. Coastal areas along the east coast will be entirely underwater and Florida—the entire peninsula, including Sugarloaf—is not even on the map.
“Miami, as we know it today, is doomed,” says Harold Wanless, chairman of the department of geological sciences at University of Miami. “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.” Wanless and other scientists predict that by 2030, the sea may have risen more than two feet and as much as six feet by 2100.
“This is ground zero for sea-level rise,” warned U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who hosted a hearing in Miami Beach on Earth Day last April. More than $1.5 billion has already been allocated for projects designed to hold back the rising tides. Dutch flood experts have been flown in to consult on the matter, and Broward County enacted a climate change master plan, but all of this may be in vain, a case of too little, too late.
Despite the dire predictions, investors and developers in Miami and other coastal cities seem to have missed the memo. With speedy profits in mind, they’ve been lulled into mass denial and continue to build higher and more elaborate structures in a place that may, one day, be a sunken city. Instead of sober resolve, there’s an intoxicated, end-of-the-world giddiness to new development that, regrettably, matches the area’s stereotypical image of sybaritic excess. Party hard and live for today! Forget about the drowning future. Miami Goes Wild, reads the wet T-shirt of today. Of course, it doesn’t help that many of the state’s political leaders—including Gov. Rick Scott, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush—continue to insist that climate change is a myth conjured up by a liberal conspiracy.
Illustration by Rob Jones
Money speaks louder than scientific fact. Real estate is booming. Wildcat investments are pouring in from South America, Europe, Russia and the Far East. Virtually every block along Miami Beach has a new project under construction, and the skyline of downtown Miami bristles with glassy new high-rise buildings that appear to have been dropped into place like so many alien entities. Architecture with a capital “A” is exploited as a mighty marketing tool, with riotous forms and oversized balconies that expand giddily into fleckless blue skies.
As Miami rises higher, the city continues to sink at alarming rates. On any given day, you can find areas that are already under water, depending on the tide and lunar cycle. Sub-level garages and residential basements are regularly flooded. Fresh water is being contaminated as sewage gets displaced by seawater. Storm drains are overflowing and can’t handle the saltwater that bubbles up through the porous limestone aquifer. During the full moon, small rain puddles expand into lagoons that stretch along the lower sections of Alton Road while the undercarriages of Bentleys and Maseratis corrode in the brackish soup.
Full Article found here
Interesting article. It's sad to think my grandchildren may not be able to grow up on the same land as the last four generations of my family because it will be underwater. What do we do at this point to mitigate the damage? And why are the developers not worried? As the article states; "Money speaks louder than scientific fact." Until the rising ocean cuts into their bottom line the buildings will continue to go up right to the waters edge. GL