The Bittersweet Reality Of Life In Miami, A City Where Sea Levels Are Rising

As sea levels rise the world over, climate change is becoming a pressing reality for water-side settlements—it is estimated that in 2100 one-fifth of the global population will be displaced as a result. Anastasia Samoylova has created the photographic series ‘FloodZone’ as a reflection of, and response to, this environmental issue in her hometown of Miami.

The project began in 2016 when Samoylova moved to Miami, “It was the hottest summer on record”, she explains. “Through daily walks I began to realize how the city’s seductive tropical palette and quality of light concealed the growing dissonance between its booming real estate market and the ocean’s encroachment on its shoreline.” In Miami, the rising sea has become an inescapable part of daily life. Everyone and everything is affected: from storm flooding, or tides that makes commuting impossible, to the forced abandonment of homes along the coastline and overflow water from sewers leading to concerns about health and hygiene. “Ocean views are prized in the real-estate world” continues Samoylova, “with little regard for building projects’ locations in high-risk flood zones. Investors seem to turn a blind eye to the reality that Miami is steadily slipping underwater. Miami Beach, in particular, is a striking case study: the artificial island boasts some of the most luxurious properties, but is subject to regular flooding.” In consequence, lower-income communities that sit at higher ground are also facing displacement through what some have started to refer to as, “climate gentrification”. As Samoylova notes, life in Miami is bittersweet: “it looks and feels like a paradise, but the only secure roots belong to mangrove trees.”

“...the growing dissonance between its booming real estate market and the ocean’s encroachment on its shoreline”

All images © Anastasia Samoylova