Miami Releases Design Guideline

April 23, 2020– The City of Miami, Florida published Buoyant City: Historic District Resiliency & Adaptation Guidelines in March 2020. In this document, Miami takes a holistic approach to tackling sea level rise and climate change threats to the city’s cultural resources. Miami encourages flexible and innovative planning, admitting that current preservation practices may not be enough to truly protect and retain as much of the city’s historic fabric. Miami provides ten general recommendations:

  1. Continue to Preserve
  2. Reconcile Preservation/Adaptation Efforts
  3. Embrace Incremental Adaptation
  4. Designate Experimental Action Areas
  5. Develop a Vision
  6. Incentivize Adaptation
  7. Integrate Public Spaces & Right of Ways Into the Vision
  8. Integrate Landscape Into the Vision
  9. Emphasize Social Equity
  10. Celebrate the Narrative of Adaptation (Buoyant City, 28-37)

These recommendations are essential to the paradigm shift that the field of Historic Preservation is currently experiencing. Traditional methods and metrics used to measure the intact historic integrity, may not allow historic buildings to continue in the designation. At some point, the field must decide, is it better to have a high-level integrity historic structure but frequently flooded, or low-level integrity historic structure that is protected? These are the types of philosophical challenges that preservationists are faced with anywhere water is rising. With Buoyant City, Miami is rising to the occasion to answer this new question.