Van Alen Institute and the City of North Miami have announced Department Design Office as the winner of the competition called KEEPING CURRENT: Repetitive Loss Properties. The competition, which launched in April 2019, invited architects and designers from around the globe to submit proposals that reimagine public uses of the City of North Miami's current and future portfolio of flood-prone vacant lots, known as repetitive loss (RL) properties. KEEPING CURRENT aims to promote climate-consciousness, reinvigorate an underused communal area, and reduce the cost of flood insurance, in hopes that other cities will also benefit from these learnings.
Department Design Office was awarded $80,000 to transform a flood-prone lot in North Miami into a community space and stormwater management site, to be unveiled December 2019. Department Design Office's winning proposal, called Good Neighbor, addresses two critical concerns that arose during community discussions about this treasured public space. Through a piping and basin system, stormwater will flow into a water retention pool, decreasing the amount of flooding on nearby properties. With physical markers registering water elevation change, the retention pool will also make flood water visible to members of the community, presenting an opportunity to increase local awareness about how much water the area receives.
In addition to the retention pool, Good Neighbor will incorporate diverse plants native to the area in order to highlight the different ecosystems that have been sacrificed due to development, including pine rockland, coastal hammock, coastal marsh, marsh prairie, and sawgrass marsh. Van Alen will collaborate with Miami-based placemaking organization Urban Impact Lab and local stakeholders to ensure that the design will genuinely serve the needs and desires of the North Miami community.
Images: Courtesy of Department Design Office