From Buildings to Infrastructure: Zyscovich Charts Miami’s Path to Climate Resilience

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Date: 09 May 2024

Read Time: <1 minute

Tags: Media | News

Miami, Fla. – South Florida faces a critical challenge: adapting its built environment to the ever-present threat of climate change. At the forefront of this effort stands Zyscovich, LLC,  an award-winning, internationally recognized architecture, planning, and interior design firm with offices throughout the East Coast, that is deeply committed to the future of Miami.

Robert Werthamer, AIA NCARB LEED AP, of Zyscovich, serves as co-chair of the AIA Miami Resilience + Adaptation Committee. He is also a member of the (American Planning Association). The AIA committee recently hosted a workshop focused on crafting a comprehensive strategy to prepare Miami’s built environment for the coming decades. Zyscovich recognizes that Miami’s solutions can have a ripple effect, potentially establishing a new national standard for sustainable and resilient communities.

“Our commitment goes beyond simply preparing buildings,” says Werthamer. “We’re working with local governments, legislators, and the creative minds of our communities to develop innovative design and regulatory solutions that stay ahead of the curve. By future-proofing Miami, we can not only safeguard our own city but also offer a blueprint for other coastal regions facing similar challenges.”

This proactive approach reflects Zyscovich’s deep investment in their South Florida community. They believe that smarter regulations, coupled with sustainable design practices, are key to Miami’s long-term resilience. This workshop marks a crucial step in establishing a comprehensive plan to prepare Miami for the impacts of climate change.

The recent workshop addressed concerns about existing regulations that leave critical building elements, like electrical outlets and parking garages, vulnerable to flooding. The committee proposed several code changes to address these issues, including:

  • Increased Freeboard: This refers to raising the lowest floor of a building above projected flood levels.
  • Elevation Incentives: Offering increased development density for buildings constructed at higher elevations.
  • Dual Elevation Requirements: Buildings would be designed with two elevations in mind – one for current conditions and another to accommodate future road elevations.

“These proposed ordinances are not just about protecting buildings,” explained Werthamer. “They will equip our clients, developers, insurers, and lenders with the tools they need to make informed decisions about construction in our coastal environment.”

The AIA Miami Resilience + Adaptation Committee is committed to ongoing discussions with stakeholders, including lenders and insurers, to develop a comprehensive plan for Miami’s future. Their next meeting in May will discuss basement parking options, water-edge treatments, and establishing consensus priorities.

About Zyscovich

Zyscovich is an international design firm specializing in master planning, architecture, and interior design. Our unique Real Urbanism® approach integrates a community’s character and economics into inspiring visions that enhance value and quality of life. We offer expertise across diverse project types, including education, mixed-use developments, and transportation. As part of the Stratus Team network, Zyscovich collaborates with leading engineering and consulting firms, providing innovative solutions throughout a project’s lifecycle. Learn more at https://www.zyscovich.com.