Cypress Creek ‘urban village’ OK’d
Fort Lauderdale zoning panel supports plans from ULI's 2014 TAP recommendations
An independent panel of experts has released its final review and recommendations to improve Miami Beach’s efforts to combat sea level rise and other flooding challenges. The multi-disciplinary group, assembled by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and made possible by the support of 100 Resilient Cities, spent an intensive three days in the City in April. Their initial comments included praise for the City’s efforts to date and high-level recommendations for improvement.
This week, the final report with more details was published.
Miami Beach’s stormwater management efforts to date have included installing improved drainage systems, new pumps, and elevation of roads and public seawalls to protect from three types of flooding, coastal flooding including King Tides, flooding from heavy rains, and groundwater flooding.
“The City of Miami Beach has shown an impressive commitment in the last few years to addressing these flooding vulnerabilities, including identifying the funding for and beginning execution of a projected $600 million stormwater management program, sourcing financing independently of federal and state funds,” the report said.
That said, “The panelists agreed that the city’s stormwater management strategy, although a good start, is not currently sufficient to address the extent of the risk faced by the city and does not reflect its cultural leadership.”
The report outlines a series of key opportunities, guiding principles, and recommendations. More details, examples, and case studies can be found in the report. We encourage you to read it.
Integrating flood management within the larger resilience strategy: The panel urged the City “to embrace a more comprehensive and holistic plan for ‘living with water,’ an approach they called “critical given the extent of flooding and climate risk faced now and in the future.”
“This strategy should also include investing in technology, such as enhanced modeling, to better inform the city on the varied types of flooding risks and the cost/benefit of different interventions to address them.”
Enhancing public trust, trusting the public, and increasing transparency: Citing early missteps in communication, the panel noted a lack of trust from the community. “The early stages of the stormwater management program were implemented in emergency response mode and formed residents’ initial impressions, leaving many feeling they were not provided with meaningful opportunities for input. Since that time, the city has broadened its resilience work and engagement, particularly through its work under the umbrella of 100 Resilient Cities. Future efforts should better integrate public comment and outreach into the decision-making process, provide significant opportunities for the public to weigh in, and increase transparency of the city’s investments, the cost/benefit, and the likely timeline of various climate adaptation investments. Future efforts should also report on bay water quality monitoring, individual projects’ progress against planned timelines, and outreach efforts.”
Elevating public aesthetics and function to perpetuate the city’s cultural relevance: “Flood mitigation should not be implemented independent of public aesthetic concerns. Future investments in stormwater management and resilience should also seek to improve health and quality of life and build from the culture of arts, heritage, and placemaking in Miami Beach.”
Actively using green and open space: “Green and open space offer an important opportunity to manage and infiltrate water, given their permeability and sponge functions – meaning the ability to absorb water naturally. Green infrastructure and open space also offer opportunities to enhance overall quality of life and improve collateral public benefits from investment in infrastructure.”
Increasing long-term financial and comprehensive protection: “A comprehensive resilience strategy will increase both infrastructural and financial protection, considering how the city can leverage a range of funding sources and be strategic about its approach to risk.” The panel noted that “preserving property values is critical to ensure funding availability for future stormwater and resilience investments.”
Embracing the resilience brand – distinguishing Miami Beach from coastal competitors: “Miami Beach has the opportunity to be an international leader in resilience and climate adaptation. Embracing this opportunity and communicating about it will distinguish the city from its coastal competitor cities and potentially help residents, businesses, and other stakeholders appreciate the value of the proactive alternative Miami Beach has chosen.”