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MIAMI BEACH (CBS4 MIAMI) — Harvard’s graduate School of Design, a team of 50 students and their professor, unveiled a powerful presentation to Miami Beach officials last week, detailing new and innovative ways to keep the city above water.

Environment and Sustainability Director Elizabeth Wheaton said the designs are the result of a two-year agreement with the City of Miami Beach to find out ways to keep the city from flooding.

“They were looking at the city of Miami Beach to see what design solutions would be applicable to help the city adapt to rising seas in a changing climate. We’re developing a strategy that is holistic and comprehensive and gets us into the future,” said Wheaton.

Not just any future, a greener one that she said fits the direction the city is going.

“They’re recommending green spaces to further capture water, and retain that water.” She added, “Natural trees and plants that will help retain that water and that will also be saltwater tolerant.”

The students even devised a sloped seawall to fit with the city’s urban appeal. Some less conventional ways included using sponge-like floors and giant concrete, water-holding cisterns on roofs.

Since 2013, Wheaton said Miami Beach has been working on ways of getting rid of excess water from both rising sea levels and storms.

The Urban Land Institute, a diverse team of engineers and market analysts, will be in Miami Beach for three days this week to give their input on how to combat rising sea levels and run-off.

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