North Miami Repetitive Loss Properties Master Plan & Pilot Site


Most repetitive loss by flood occurs in the Little Arch Creek basin in the City of North Miami. To begin the process of evaluating the flooding problems in this North Miami neighborhood, historic and geographic maps were researched that illustrated the historic flow of Little Arch Creek prior to urbanization. Overlaying topographic, flood, vegetation and repetitive loss maps behind the 1870 geographic map confirmed that the basin’s low elevations contributed to chronic and recurrent flooding and property damage.

The Big Idea is to “daylight” Little Arch Creek by incrementally restoring its flow patterns through an economically feasible land acquisition methodology. The site plan calls for using both streets and Repetitive Loss properties (RL) to “drain” the neighborhood and reduce flood loss. The resultant green space will improve the neighborhood’s quality of life by providing cultural and recreational opportunities and activate higher density transit-oriented development (TOD).

PHASE I – Community Outreach & Consensus Building

It is important to communicate how sea-level rise (SLR) can adversely impact property values, emergency response, and often leads to social inequity. Our goal is to create a strategic model that increases net value through incremental aggregation of low-lying properties and incentivizing people to relocate to the TOD. Building a strong stakeholder network of homeowners, researchers, public entities, donors and decision-makers, FEMA, and other groups is an important need for long-term success. Our master planning effort would begin with surveys of residents. A series of events and workshops with residents of all ages would follow this survey to listen to their concerns and discuss the consequences of sea-level rise on their neighborhood. The survey results and workshop feedback would inform the master plan and pilot site design so that the Master Plan is responsive to and reflects the residents and city’s goals.

Conceptually, the proposal includes restoring the water’s natural flow through a network of bioswales and park “ponds.” The effort begins by reducing street widths, potentially converting to “one way”, to enlarge swales and create a water collection network. These will be linked to a series of pocket parks in City-acquired RL properties incorporated through a strategy of incremental acquisition, targeting the most severely impacted first, then neighboring properties, and so on, to eventually establish a linked network of open spaces that “daylights” Little Arch Creek.

As SLR impacts the County, current residents could choose to take advantage of tax incentives, or other financial vehicles, to move to nearby housing on higher ground, partially through the City’s
promotion of its TOD. As properties are vacated over time, the Little Arch Creek Basin park will emerge. Eventually, grey infrastructural improvements could be implemented to connect this water flow to the Biscayne Canal, improving water quality.

Major streets that traverse the LACB would be rebuilt using pervious concrete pavers, improving neighborhood character and serving as exfiltration trenches, reducing runoff. These streets could be “raised” to create gravity flow towards the pocket parks that serve as “water storage” areas, playgrounds, community gardens, native habitat restoration, and education to increase healthy lifestyles, and ecological restoration.

The Master Plan will include preservation of existing open space and trees, while engaging in an aggressive campaign of native/wetland tree planting. Large trees and native planting will serve to transpire water into the atmosphere, and filter runoff pollutants. Some streets will be converted to cul-de-sacs to adapt to the new model.

Eventually, through the acquisition of properties, relocation of residents to higher ground and continued progress of green infrastructural improvements, the entire neighborhood will return to its natural state.