The Good Neighbor Stormwater Park is a new kind of public space that combines a community park with flood prevention. Designed by Department Design Office in collaboration with Van Alen Institute and Urban Impact Lab, it will serve as a local gathering space for a low-lying neighborhood in North Miami. The park features a retention basin, a native plant garden, and interactive water gauges that work together to create a dynamic landscape. By integrating public space and stormwater infrastructure, the park will reduce residents’ flood risk and help address the city’s broader sea level rise challenges.
As the number of flooded properties continue to increase due to sea level rise and climate change, innovative approaches to public space design can help mitigate the negative impact of vacant or abandoned flooded lots and instead reimagine new uses that contribute to broader community well-being. In North Miami, this stormwater park will reduce flooding risk for residents in a low-lying neighborhood that cannot necessarily afford to move or rebuild their houses. In addition, the park will raise awareness around flooding and stormwater issues through its interactive components, and ultimately, it will promote a community-oriented approach to stormwater infrastructure in the South Florida region and beyond.
The Good Neighbor Stormwater Park is the winning project of Van Alen Institute’s initiative “Keeping Current: A Sea Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami.” This project has been nationally recognized by Miami Herald, Next City, and FastCompany. Our design team is led by Department Design Office and comprised of local architect Andrew Aquârt, artist Adler Guerrier, and hazard mitigation start-up Forerunner.
This project is scheduled to be completed by December 15th. Currently, we have a limited budget that will only allow for the construction of a small part of the entire project. We have a kickstarter fundraising goal of $6,000 to help support the additional construction costs, trees and planting, and signage. Any additional donations beyond our initial benchmark would benefit the proposal immensely. Please consider helping this neighborhood park come to life.
What Your Donation Means
With your backing, we will be able to transform this vacant lot into a thriving stormwater park. Your donation will directly fund the purchase and installation of South Florida plants. It will allow us to integrate native trees, groundcover, flowers, and grasses into the park and will bolster not only the flood prevention capacity of the park, but also its safety and functionality. In addition, your donation will support the fabrication of park signage and the interactive water gauges. Your backing will help make the park easily accessible and legible for the public.
A FEMA-designated “repetitive loss property” is any insurable building for which two or more claims of more than $1,000 were paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 1978. Within North Miami, the majority of “repetitive loss” sites occur within the historic Arch Creek Basin, a former waterway. Urban development over this waterway, exacerbated by sea level rise and other environmental factors, has contributed to present-day issues with frequent flooding.
The site for this project is one of two “repetitive loss” properties that the city currently owns. As part of a broader effort to think about the future of these flooded lots, our team is working with the city to examine how “repetitive loss” sites can give back to the community in a meaningful way—to be a good neighbor. Our proposal transforms a vacant “repetitive loss” site into a space for collective benefit where stormwater infrastructure integrates with public space to create a “stormwater park.” Unlike other forms of stormwater infrastructure that are typically buried underground, however, this park highlights and celebrates the stormwater elements.
A large central basin collects stormwater and alleviates flooding for the neighborhood; an oversized blue pipe conveys water to the basin and a limestone platform offers a place to sit and play; a bioswale circumscribes the site, filters stormwater, and accompanies a walking path through native South Florida plants and biomes. Finally, a series of water level markers are interspersed throughout the basin.
Our team envisions this stormwater park as a site that simultaneously grows public awareness, reduces risk locally, and provides a new gathering space for the community. By approaching repetitive loss sites as potential stormwater parks, our team hopes to build a broader approach for the City of North Miami and the South Florida region.
Who We Are
Department Design Office is a landscape, architecture, and urban design studio. We are radically pragmatic designers, which means we are committed to making thoughtful and dynamic environments that are equally informed by function and implementation. We are advocates for the communities we work in, and we aspire to design processes that generate and sustain transformative spaces.
Risks and challenges
This is a fast paced project that is scheduled for completion in mid-December. The main challenge of this project has been the limited initial budget and the quick timeline, especially given the prolonged nature of permitting and city approvals. Your support would allow us to not only complete this project on time, but also to deliver its full intended vision through added plantings, trees, and signage. In doing so, you will help make this stormwater park a showcase for the city and the neighborhood and will help us to encourage a community-oriented approach to climate change adaptation.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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