Miami has been characterized as ground zero for sea level rise, but the truth is that climate change is a global challenge. Private and public entities have proposed large, costly solutions to mitigating the problem, but large-scale projects capable of protecting entire cities have proven cost-prohibitive In the following Forbes column, Miami real estate developer David Martin explores ideas for shielding metropolitan areas around the world from rising seas — and offers a straightforward approach to generating the dollars needed to pay for such projects.
How Miami, New York and Boston are Preparing for Rising Sea Levels
By David Martin
Published reports estimate global sea levels will rise between one and seven feet by the end of this century. While just how much – and how fast – our waters will rise is up for debate, three things are certain.
Our oceans are rising; it’s a truth that communities around the world must confront; and no public or private entity has determined an easy and cost-effective solution for mitigating the risks.
The threat of sea level rise is a global challenge, but Florida is fertile ground for testing potential solutions since 80 percent of the state’s residents live near the coast and communities along the water are home to assets valued at around $3 trillion.
Early signs of progress are already underway. Miami-Dade County has formed a resiliency department to study the effects of climate change and identify potential solutions. The City of Miami has created a sea level rise task force comprised of business and civic leaders. Miami Beach, a barrier island, is installing water pumps and raising the grade of entire streets in low-lying neighborhoods.
These are steps in the right direction on the municipal level, but protecting large metropolitan areas against rising water over the next century will require long-term solutions that rethink regional infrastructure systems and embrace the idea of living alongside the water. Examples of cities taking action already exist.
Renderings of the resiliency plan by architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG: