Rising seas, hotter temperatures and other climate change impacts might mean the Surfside of the future looks different from the Surfside of today. But residents can have a say in how the town adapts and what its streets and public spaces look like going forward.
This was the key idea behind the Community Resilience Workshop held in Surfside’s Town Hall on Thursday, November 14, 2019. The workshop was organized in partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Architecture Littoral Urbanism, LU_Lab, in order to build a more resilient community and strengthen community connections to prepare for the future impacts of sea-level rise and climate change. During the workshop, Surfside residents played a participatory role in developing several design strategies and informing a forthcoming Community Adaptation Toolkit.
Leading up to the workshop, LU_Lab members conducted extensive research on all aspects of Surfside’s urban space including walkability, connectivity, resilience, hydrology, energy and carbon impacts. The workshop kicked off with an introduction by Town Manager Guillermo Olmedillo and Mayor Daniel Dietch, and was facilitated by LU_Lab Director Christopher Meyer and Collaborator Shawna Meyer, AIA. In an effort to build community, Surfside residents were asked to participate in groups with residents who they had not previously met.
LU_Lab facilitators first led team table exercises with a Journey Mapping of Surfside, where participants at each table used a color marker to map their experience in the public environment by responding to prompts including which routes they used to drive to work that morning, how they arrived at the workshop that evening, and how they generally travel to the beach. Residents ranked “values,” such as creating increased urban canopies and disaster preparedness, in what they saw as order of importance to the community’s future. They also used building kits to model ideas for how different combinations of green space, tree planting, roadway design and renewable energy could be incorporated in different areas of the Town. A representative of each table was asked to provide an overview of their team’s results in order to better understand the needs and ideas of the community. LU_Lab concluded the workshop with remarks regarding next steps, explaining how they would organize and compile the information to be submitted to the Town administration, Commissioners and committees.
With the information gathered at the workshop, LU_Lab will help the Town of Surfside finalize a climate action strategy and work with residents to address environmental, infrastructure and quality-of-life challenges exacerbated by climate change.
Please stay tuned for further findings and advances produced by this valuable partnership by signing up for Town notifications and checking the Town website regularly.