Miami's Forgotten River: Redefining Waterfront Development to Sustain Community, Ecology and Industry
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The story of Miami, Florida is written in water. While the image of the city is dominated by the sea and oceanfront development, there is another body of water that has helped forge Miami into the cosmopolitan city it is today-- its' river. The Miami river was once a vital corridor connecting diverse landscapes, peoples, and goods. In current times with pressures of urban growth and development the river has been severed, channelized and dredged to serve economic interests. Oceanfront development has established a dangerous precedence of exclusivity by design, further filtering its' already fragmented demographic. These forces have left Miami with a deficit in public space. The goal of this thesis is to re-envision the river corridor from a static economic trade infrastructure into a community infrastructure that would engage ecological processes, foster a sense of community and challenge traditional spatial relationships of river-city-public space. To re-establish the river within Miami's popular imagination, this thesis proposes the `re-wilding' of the riverine terrain to anchor a site specific program combining a community space and after school education. This two-fold approach explores how building and landscape can mediate the amphibious terrain of river and city, community needs for public space, respecting the demands of a "working river" and maritime industries, while instilling an ecological conscious. This thesis re-imagines the Miami riverfront as a richly layered system that is capable of sustaining divergent uses and users.
- Architecture