MIAMI IS DROWNING

The image of a city going the way of the Titanic is an evocative one, even if Miami Beach isn’t technically sinking. Its landmass has remained more or less static as the island slips below the sea. Rather than descending like the ship, this slow motion catastrophe is unfolding in reverse. There is no ice—the very source of the problem. Somewhere, I’m sure there’s a band. And as the ocean lurches forward, mouth agape and poised to swallow the land whole, the citizenry remains, as always, for want of more lifeboats.

RESEARCH DIVISIONS
Resilience: The Calm Face of Crisis Response
Local Coverage in Miami
Politics. State Politics. National Politics. Climate Politics.
The National Flood Insurance Program
Implications for Design
Maps and Reports

Over the past few years, the effects of sea-level rise in South Florida, and Miami Beach in particular, have come into focus for a broader constituency. Flooding, mitigation infrastructure, and the state’s wayward political discourse have provided ample material for a growing body of coverage that expands beyond arcane carbon projections and the pace of glacial ice melt. It is a story about human civilization, sufficiently filled with contradiction and illogic.

If scientist’s projections bear out, much of Miami Beach and the Florida Mainland will be below the mean sea level within the next century. Billions could be lost in the form of real estate that, this time, is literally underwater. Still, the industry remains a pillar of the local economy and the preferred pathway for government officials to raise funding needed to build the region’s infrastructural defenses. These efforts may be for naught. Even before a reckoning arrives and water crests over the seawalls, damage to the tourism industry from climate change (i.e. lots of bad weather), or a lack of market confidence would effectively level the local economy.