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Design VII - Summer 2022

Miami Beach has been declining in population in the past two decades, while Miami-Dade County grows rapidly, signaling a shift in effect from climate change. Increasing floods and tropical storms are pushing wealthier residents of the beach towards mainland Miami. The sectional relationship between ground height and income has been well documented in coastal cities across the world. Miami is unique because it is one of the only cities where lower income communities are located on higher and less flood-adverse land. One of these main communities is Little Haiti, a neighborhood consisting of mainly Haitian and other Caribbean immigrants. Little Haiti is unique in that it is the only neighborhood in Miami where many of the residents speak neither English nor Spanish, and their identity rooted in Creole has isolated them from the rest of immigrant communities in Miami. As gentrification from Miami’s downtown spread into Wynwood and formed the Miami Design District, Little Haiti became the next trendy area for trendy gentrification. There have been many proposals from the city of Miami to develop the area by buying out many of the small single-family homes at low cost, including one plan that would displace an estimated 2,500 people. Miami Beach’s Oolite Artist Residency is beginning construction of new artist studios in Little Haiti, designed by international architecture firm Barozzi Vega.


The Rowhouse proposes four housing units as an artist residency for local artists in Miami. Two artists are from Miami Beach and two artists are displaced from Little Haiti, generating a socio-political friction offsite from the acts of gentrification across Biscayne Bay. These artists will both fill the gap of the departure of the Oolite Artist Residency and attempt to grapple with the ramifications of climate change and gentrification, them being the physical result of these conditions. In this condition, art is something that is deeply embedded in the culture of Miami Beach, and becomes a tool to bring together two seemingly different communities to find social resolution.

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