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Coastal Resilience


Changing climate patterns are impacting communities in coastal regions across the globe, due to rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. Progressively, more architects and urban designers are playing a central role in creating robust adaptation strategies, by addressing climate stressors in their designs. Moving forward, research, innovation, and community outreach will be central and connected aspects of building coastal resiliency. Thusly, the School has developed a suite of courses structured to prepare student leaders in this field, and offers a Certificate in Coastal Resilience.


Communities all along the eastern seaboard of the United States are facing climate-related challenges that often are compounded by contemporary human settlement patterns, which segregate land-uses, resulting in increased fossil fuel consumption that in turn impact the environment, and over time will, weaken social and economic networks. South Florida is ground zero for coastal resiliency, and its scholarly and civic leadership in this arena have been praised internationally - for their proactive, innovative, and interdisciplinary approach to addressing climate risks. The School has been actively engaged in and contributed to those conversations, and in tandem, has developed a coastal resiliency curriculum, which capitalizes on those partnerships, and aims to better familiarize students with these and other inter-related design, planning, and regulatory issues, and the responding strategies under development or those being deployed. These intensive courses compliment the longstanding and distinguished offerings available in sustainable architecture and urbanism, and together allow students to build a well-rounded toolkit of resilient design concepts and methods, in a variety of tracts.

Over the past decade, the School has incremented its related extracurricular offerings, hosting multiple lecture series, symposia, community charrettes, and workshops, focused on sustainable and resilient design. Moreover, faculty members have been awarded significant research grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Science Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Knight Foundation, to mention a few, resulting in the publication of related findings that aim to foster solutions, while others are engaged in scholarly collaborations, and/or community service projects across the region, as well as beyond. Students are encouraged to participate and support these interdisciplinary investigations, or engagement opportunities, so as to complement course related lessons, and amplify their exposure to and collaborations with national experts that are conveniently located in South Florida, including scientists, non-profit organizations, and civic, professional, and community leaders.

Through these intersecting offerings, initiatives, and events, students are prepared, and challenged, to innovate, engage, and lead, both in the classroom, and directly in communities; in this manner learning firsthand of an entire range of related topics, as well as associated career and research paths, within this emerging and vital sector of the design professions.

Ongoing Projects and Resources:

Resilience Colloquium.

The annual colloquium, conducted in September, focuses on the role of landscape in sea-level rise strategies for South Florida.

Center for Urban & Community Design.

The CUCD’s objective is to promote resilient design in the face of growing climate related hurdles, while continuing to encourage passive sustainable architecture & urbanism, by supporting and enabling collaborations, applied research, and exchanges between SoA students and faculty with local and regional institutions and communities. The Center continues to provide students with hands-on field-work experiences, to research resilient design needs and alternatives, as well as to document best practices in sustainable town and building designs. The CUCD offers project-based services to local and regional communities.

Habitat III Miami Convening on Building a Resilient South Florida: “Stop Thinking This Is Someone Else’s Problem.”

Designing a Resilient South Florida