A ULI Advisory Services panel convened to advise the city of Miami Beach on improving urban resilience is illustrative of the assistance provided by the Institute to communities seeking to adapt to as well as mitigate the impacts of climate change such as flooding, frequent severe storms, and rising seas. The recommendations from the panel, initially convened to evaluate the city’s stormwater management plan, emphasized the need for the city to adopt a broad, long-range strategy that factors in regulatory changes to encourage more climate-resilient building design and development, as well as livability and economic issues.
Principles recommended by the panel—and subsequently adopted by the city—to guide implementation of an expanded resilience strategy include the following:
– Maintain a sense of urgency as the strategy evolves to build support for investments in climate adaptation infrastructure;
– Be ready to adapt the strategy to new technologies, data, and economic and physical realities;
– Ensure transparency regarding the strategy through clear communications with residents and other stakeholders;
– Respect the city’s ecological endowment;
– Recognize opportunities to advance quality-of-life and economic development goals that benefit all residents;
– Preserve cultural identity through creative placemaking that also boosts resilience; and
– Position the city as an innovative leader in adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Based on the principles, the panel made more than 80 detailed recommendations, including the following high-level steps by the city to continue its progress on a resilience strategy:
– Improve the flexibility and robustness of the current stormwater management system;
– Enable more informed decision-making and risk management through enhanced modeling;
– Implement “blue” and “green” infrastructure (using natural resources for stormwater management and water treatment) to advance a more integrated approach to living with water;
– Create toolkits for the private sector and highlight opportunities for “living-with-water” projects at the building level;
– Consider a level-of-service concept that gauges flooding disruption in terms of likely flood frequency, depth, and duration; and
– Improve communications and education regarding engineering and infrastructure solutions.