As seas rise, city officials in Miami Beach, Florida, need to answer some tough questions — like when to stop permitting new development near the shore and how much to elevate roads.

So policymakers want residents to understand how climate change is affecting their city and provide input on how to respond.

“They felt that art could very much be the perfect conduit, and so that was the task that was given to me,” says misael soto (they/them), whose name is spelled lowercase.

Soto was Miami Beach’s first ever art-in-public-life resident. For a year, they spent time with city officials, learning how sea-level rise is affecting Miami Beach and how the city plans to manage the rising tides. Then soto made art to engage others on the topic.

Soto says some of Miami Beach was originally too wet to build on. So low-lying areas were filled in, and sand was added to the beaches. But now the city must manage erosion and flooding.

So in one project, soto built an amphitheater out of sandbags. Then the space was used for lectures and other events.

They say the goal was to create dialogue,and really spur attention onto how we got here in the first place. And then from there, I felt that then we could finally move forward and kind of address the current situation: the now.”

Read: Most bleak federal report yet on high-tide/sunny-day tide floods

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media