St. Petersburg, Florida Sea Level Rise Adaptation

St. Petersburg, Florida Sea Level Rise Adaptation 2100 Vision Plan
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CLIENT: St. Petersburg Preservation Inc.; The Florida Council for the Arts

Located at southernmost point of the Pinellas peninsula between natural harbor of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, speculative developers established St. Petersburg as a waterfront holiday destination at the terminus of a railroad in the late 1880’s. To the east, the Tampa Bay estuary is a significant ecological habitat of shallow waters, mud flats, sea grass and extensive mangrove wetlands. Years of dredging, to expand harbors and deepen shipping lanes, coupled with fill to allow for growing urban development drastically changed the natural landscape of the peninsula.  Today St. Petersburg is at risk. The proposed 2100 year 6’ sea level rise would submerge major parts of the city. The estimated 18’ storm surge would devastate it.  Ed Hamm, a St. Petersburg native investigated strategies to protect the city and its inhabitants and improve its ecological function. Hamm utilized  its system of waterfront parks, streets, drainage patterns and environmental features to adapt to sea level rise over the next 100 years.  The series of analytical drawings, overlays, interventions and proposals create a new form of Comprehensive Plan for the 21st century, embracing unique green infrastructure strategies. Ed’s graphic presentation skills were integral to communicating the goals of the project.

Ed developed an “eco-district” for downtown St. Petersburg, emphasizing green streets, inhabited ramparts, the creation of new saltwater habitats, a new freshwater lake and a “garden district” of intensive rain gardens to manage stormwater. At a larger scale, Ed addressed the entire urban waterfront, proposing restored estuarine habitats, enlarged parks, freshwater “absorb” habitats and the use of devices such as levee promenades, inhabited building walls and inhabited piers. In 2010 Ed presented the 2100 Vision plan to the community of St. Petersburg at the Downtown St. Petersburg Waterfront Parks Centennial celebration.