Don’t say ‘dystopia’ when you’re talking to politicians about sea level rise in Miami Beach.
“It’s a trigger word,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber joked. The image of a future city undone by rising tides leading to “a kind of dystopian inundation scenario,” was invoked by Harvard University professor Charles Waldheim in a presentation to the city commission on Wednesday.
He and a team of 50 Harvard graduate students spent the last two and a half years coming up with the opposite — a utopian vision of the city made resilient to the changing levels of the water that surrounds it.
Some of their ideas cover old ground: more elevated streets, more mangroves along the coast, plants to soak up excess water and systems to treat stormwater before releasing it into Biscayne Bay.