Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Suzanne Mathew

Second Advisor

Theodore Hoerr


Sea level rise is a serious situation facing coastal cities in the world. In the United States, Miami is one of the most vulnerable cities as far as sea level rise is concerned. Floods in Miami not only come from high seawater but also from inland rivers and frequent storm surges. With Miami as a target city, this paper was prepared after taking care of its current political, economic, and cultural status, aiming to explore the way in which Miami responds to rising sea levels and proposes future urban visions. The new solution may also be applied partially or completely in other coastal cities.

This work is divided into three phases. The first phase is an in-depth study that involves four aspects of Miami. They are the Water Environment (the origin and causes of the floods in Miami and existing largescale solutions), Ecological Environment (main existing plant and animal species in Miami, species differences in coastal and inland areas, and ecological migration caused by seawater intrusion), Humanistic Environment (Miami’s demographic composition and cultural composition, as well as the history of migration) and Urban Infrastructure (Miami’s infrastructure, existing public transportation, water supply and drainage systems, green infrastructure with proper measures and defects in response to floods and deficiencies) .

The second phase proposes the concept of future assumptions for urban infrastructure. The concept is mainly based on the study in the first phase, as well as the famous case about the future of the city in history, which may be applied to Miami’s unique geographical and cultural background. Due to the high permeability of the foundations in the city, the ordinary sea-crossing dams cannot effectively block seawater. That means the low-lying areas are difficult to retain in the next 50 years. The future vision proposed in this paper is to establish a series of infrastructure conversion centers, including the underground regional water treatment center and the elevated traffic conversion center. The lowland city will become the city of water in the future, and the “infrastructure center” will provide the transfer and berthing of waterborne vehicles, amphibious vehicles and land vehicles, all being connected via elevated viaducts and light rails.

The third phase is the in-depth study and design of the concept. First of all, it is determined that the newly-built infrastructure conversion center is located at the site of the urban backbone road network in order to connect existing urban fabrics and roads. Then the population of each block and the frequency of flood disasters are analyzed. According to different needs, the conversion centers with different functions and sizes are designed, each placed in the existing city map. The final part of the design is the plan for the construction, that is, the construction progress that the government can control at different times.



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