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Can an Innovative Plan of Stilts and Canals Save South Beach From Rising Sea Levels?

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Isaac Stein's rendering via Miami New Times

Residents and frequenters of South Beach have already been feeling the impact of rising sea levels engendered by climate change.

From flooded streets to chunks of seemingly endless construction along Alton Road and West Ave to water surging from drains like fountains during storms, these symptoms are merely warnings of an uncomfortable future: South Beach is going under. Unless we do something about it.

University of Miami graduate Isaac Stein, a designer at New York's West 8, has an innovative plan for how to adapt to rising sea levels and it veers away from the current model of installing $300 million worth of anti-flooding pumps, which Stein has dubbed "a very tiny Band-Aid for the larger issue."

The vision conceptualized by the 24-year-old calls for a system of mangrove forest, stilts, and canals throughout South Florida's most iconic travel destination and was featured in an edition of Vanity Fair this month.

"We can either adapt the infrastructure and make space for the water," Stein tells the Miami New Times, "or let it take over."

Highlights of Stein's vision:

- Restore mangroves on the bay side to limit storm surge.
- Alton Road will sit on stilts, with ecological canals throughout. Trams would be in place to reduce the number of cars and make room for more water.
- A cut-and-fill strategy and forming of more canals would be instilled in select areas to allow for up to six feet of sea-level rise.
- Large sand dunes would protect the city from hurricanes on the beach side

· Mangroves, Stilts And Canals Might Save South Beach From Rising Sea Levels [Miami New Times]
· Miami Beach Global Warning [Vanity Fair]
· Miami Beach Pump Controversy [Miami New Times]
· Will You Be Underwater When Sea Levels Rise? [Curbed Miami]