The Beat: Building Plans For Earth’s Unstable Future

Quote of the Week

“We’re in a process that would be mind-boggling to anybody – we’re trying to foresee the future.” – College of Design, Construction and Planning professor Martha Kohen on redesigning cities of the future.

Bracing For The Future

The above quote comes from a fascinating interview with two UF professors who are, quite literally, planning on changing the future of the world we live in. The aforementioned Kohen and UF College of Design, Construction and Planning assistant professor Nancy Clark spoke to UF about how cities — most notably those in Florida — will sustain rising sea levels.

Says Clark, “One of the things we try to think about is how to use land development strategies we already know – island development, canal communities — but do it in a smarter way. One of the projects we have for Miami Beach is creating new barrier islands which are well built and high, so they become developable and help protect the bay side of Miami Beach.

Another project they’re working on is called Sea Belt, which focuses on coastal high rises. According to the project’s proposal, buildings will start turning their lower floors into boat-accessible areas in preparation for rising seas and eroding sands.

“Are we going to lose 70 stories of real estate because they get their feet wet?” says Kohen. “We have strategies and proposals to allow them to complete their life cycle, otherwise losses and abandonment and degradation are going to take place.”

What the professors are doing is both revolutionary and a continuation of what’s been done before. It’s revolutionary because this thinking will completely change the layout of major cities like Miami. How people commute, how people interact, how people live.

It’s derivative, because their plan takes big hacks to change infrastructure. Says Kohen, “We’ve seen this work in the past with visions for New York, or the Tennessee Valley. There have been moments where a visionary outlook was able to get through.”

Ultimately, the pair believes that we need to think realistically about what our future will look like. Not five or 10 years down the road, but generations ahead.

“The difficulty is getting the people who are stakeholders to believe in it,” says Clark.

Kohen concurs: the biggest hurdle is a change in perception.

“The science is there. The knowledge is there. The impulse to get it done is what needs to be built up.”



We’re not entirely sure what this new video UF dropped means, but we’re HYPED. Love the hashtag.


Admissions Study

The Orlando Sentinel published a very interesting feature on admission rates throughout Florida’s universities. They cite evidence from a study that affluence plays a roll in where students are accepted.

The report found that, “Public higher education systems are split into two ‘separate and unequal tracks,’ with white students more often at better-funded state universities and poor black and Latino students more often at under-funded community colleges.” Some of this has been placed on the universities themselves, while there was also acknowledgement that students coming from lower income areas often attend underfunded high schools — schools that do not equip them to succeed at a university level.

As far as UF is concerned, the university is forthright with the fact that the application pool is incredibly competitive. However, the school does its best to pull from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

“We understand the sort of differences we’re going to see in backgrounds that have a lot of resources and students who have less, and we try to account for that in the admissions office,” said Charles Murphy, director of freshmen admissions at UF. “But the differences are the differences.”

If you have an interest in the admissions process, we definitely recommend giving this one a read. There’s a lot to pack in, so budget a little bit of time. UF isn’t always painted in the best of lights, but heavy is the head that wears the crown — we’re the state’s flagship university (one of the nation’s best schools, for that matter) and thus an easy figure to single out. Ultimately, the article shows that inequity is an issue, and it goes much, much deeper than blind readings of entrance essays.

Read full article here


Gator Tracks

Here’s a smattering of all things Gators from the week. Enjoy!

Winter Jealousy

We’re writing this newsletter from Chicago, where the current temperature is 1. Factor in windchill, and we’re hovering somewhere around the North Pole. Sooooo, yeah, UF releasing absolutely gorgeous photos of how beautiful campus looks this week just isn’t fair. The nostalgia pains are strong right now.

Check out beautiful photos of campus

Unboxing UF

UF released a really cool concept on its YouTube page: “Unboxing UF.” Essentially, diving deeeep into all the wonderful goodies at Smathers and around campus to deliver a nuanced unboxing video.

Check it out!

Space Brain

You’ve heard of pregnancy brain. After his treatment, my dad used to blame gaps in thought on “chemo brain.” Well now we may have a new “brain” — space brain.

UF researchers have found that time spent in space accelerates brain deterioration that we associate with aging. Interestingly, it may not be space, specifically, that leads to this deterioration, but a sedentary lifestyle. So, with more and more people becoming couch-locked thanks to tech advances, this study may actually tell us as much about life on Earth as our future in space!

More on space brain study

Hot Take Alert

Emmitt Smith believes that Urban Meyer should be inducted into UF’s Ring of Honor.

Said Emmitt, “How many coaches can say that they have two national championships at the University of Florida? Not many. He should be in.”

We don’t necessarily disagree, but the wounds are still fresh. Feels like the program is just now picking up the pieces. Maybe we do it in 25 years or so — you know, after Urb has retired and unretired a few more times, and we’ve moved beyond his shadow.

More on Emmitt and Urban

DC Gators

Gators in the Washington, DC area, the Dan Van will be rolling into town on Saturday, February 16! For more information on the event and to RSVP, click here. Show Mullen some love by packing the house.

Sports Corner

Super Gators

For the 17TH STRAIGHT YEAR, the Orange and Blue will be represented in the Super Bowl. Pretty awesome stat.

Four Gators are on this year’s roster, two on England (Trenton Brown and Duke Dawson) and two on Los Angeles (Dante Fowler and Dominique Easley).

Six Bits

  1. Mama, there goes that man! Torrian Gray has returned as defensive backs coach, and all SEC receiving corps are now on notice. Thanks for the upgrade, Georgia.
  2. Our lacrosse team is insanely good. They’ve been selected first in the AAC preseason poll, and have swept all the preseason player of the year awards. No big deal!
  3. Senior softball players Kelly Barnhill & Amanda Lorenz have been named to the preseason All-SEC Team.
  4. Men’s tennis is ranked No. 1 in the preseason SEC Coaches Poll.
  5. Women’s swimming received Scholar All-America recognition from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America thanks to their team GPA of 3.41!
  6. Yanis David was named SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week, while junior Grant Holloway garnered Men’s National Athlete of the Week and SEC Men’s Co-Runner of the Week awards. Gators were stacking awards this past week!

Bonus Bit

This deserves its own recognition: there are currently eight Gator teams in the top 11 national rankings. EIGHT.

UFact of the Week

Jumping back to the Sentinel’s article on admissions, how about this stat: at UF, 96% of first-time freshmen continue on to their second year. Suck it, weed-out courses, hardly any one-and-dones here!

See y’all next week!

Go Gators!