“North Miami Stormwater Parks: Transforming Flooded Property into Resilient Infrastructure” is a city-wide master plan that addresses the future use of North Miami’s flood-prone residential properties. If a homeowner files a flood insurance claim of more than $1000 twice or more in a 10-year period, their property is deemed a "repetitive loss" (RLP) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Given the increased frequency of flooding and the impacts of sea level rise in North Miami, this phenomenon has become more prevalent. In response, through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance program, the City of North Miami acquired an RLP site and in 2019 commissioned a concept design, pilot project, and master plan to address the use of future RLP acquisitions.
The resulting master plan outlines a vision for RLP sites as a network of small stormwater retention parks that work in tandem to reduce flooding for North Miami residents. This approach to public space design is intended to mitigate the negative impact of vacant or abandoned flooded lots. It also encourages new uses that contribute to broader community well-being and prioritizes residents that cannot necessarily afford to relocate or rebuild their houses. Rather than lay vacant, RLP sites can be leveraged as a form of stormwater infrastructure that is visible, accessible, and public-facing. With this small-scale, bottom-up approach; the City and its community members not only improve the functionality of their stormwater infrastructure, but also gain valuable public open space.
Ultimately, this document shows why building multiple stormwater parks in North Miami will have compounding benefits and mitigate the adverse effects of sea level rise. First and foremost, the parks reduce flooding for residents making neighborhoods more liveable by alleviating some of the burden for homeowners, and bolstering the city’s existing infrastructure. The parks score within multiple activity areas of FEMA’s Community Rating System, and can lower the cost of flood insurance city-wide. Second, as a network of open spaces, the parks reintroduce native, South Florida ecosystems and habitats, restore ecological functions to urban areas, and protect groundwater resources. Third, because the parks showcase stormwater retention basins and communicate their functionality through signage, they also help to raise environmental awareness and community engagement. Finally, the stormwater parks are a strategy that can be shared with other municipalities and position North Miami as a thought leader in community-oriented climate adaptation.
Client: City of North Miami
Collaborators: Van Alen Institute, Urban Impact Lab, Forerunner, Inc.