Carolyn Cox, Coordinator of the FCI, used her model for experiential courses in Florida to help design a 5-university challenge around sea level rise impacts to the island of Nantucket. Through the UF Preservation Institute Nantucket program partnership, the FCI was able to provide this opportunity for 18 students (14 from UF and 4 from U Miami) from Florida to travel to Nantucket to present their work to the community and partner universities. This collaborative model also enabled all teams to learn from each other’s approach, innovations, and areas of strength. FCI plans to use this multi-institutional model in additional Florida cities.

Students studying architecture, landscape design and urban sustainability at five East Coast universities (U Florida, U Miami, Northeastern, Yale, and Harvard) spent the past five months in a semester-long course developing innovative and adaptive designs and proposals for the island and its year-round and seasonal residents and visitors. Due to the pandemic, the students never set foot on the island. But through a robust academic curriculum, an impressive 10-week speaker series and the partnership of more than 20 local advisors, students truly came to understand the coastal, geological and cultural history of Nantucket as well as the value systems of the community. On June 2, the students presented their final designs to the community, in an event that will inspire coastal communities everywhere to imagine a resilient and adaptive future in the face of sea level rise. Visit the event website below to see designs posted soon.

Nantucket is one of hundreds of U.S. cities and towns threatened by sea level rise. By 2100, much of Nantucket’s historic downtown is projected to regularly be inundated with as much as nine feet of water. Rather than run from rising seas, the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge called on teams of graduate and undergraduate students to design adaptive solutions for residents and businesses to learn to live with water.