Creating a Roadmap to Resiliency in Miami’s Urban Core


With Hurricane Season 2019 upon us, now is the time for companies, organizations, and municipalities to revisit and recalibrate their storm readiness plans.

From creating protocols for internal and external communications to safeguarding the workplace, it’s never too soon to plan ahead.

The City of Miami conducted some advanced planning of its own when a team of resiliency, engineering, real estate and urban planning experts from around the world descended on Miami as part of a panel organized by the Urban Land Institute, the City and the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

Their mission was straightforward: determine how Downtown Miami’s waterfront can be activated as the City’s first line of defense when it comes to combating climate change. The panel’s findings will provide the community with a blueprint for pursuing infrastructure improvements, zoning changes, and creative approaches to public and private sector development along Biscayne Bay and the Miami River.

This is critical to Miami’s economic future, given that Downtown is among Florida’s largest employment hubs and a destination for inbound investment from around the world. The district encompasses real estate assets valued at nearly $40 billion, including more than 53,000 residential units, 25 million square feet of office space, 8,000 hotel rooms, several interconnected transit systems, dozens of commercial boatyards and marinas, as well as a host of public museums, parks and cultural venues.

Fortunately, Miami is no stranger to adaptability. The City has been navigating the impacts of a constantly changing climate for more than a century – from building a thriving community on swampland and bouncing back from countless hurricanes, to creating the country’s first uniform building code and restricting commercial and residential development adjacent to the Everglades.

Voters in Miami and Miami Beach have passed hundreds of millions of dollars in bond funding to prioritize infrastructure upgrades, the public and private sectors are investing in alternate transit systems that will help reduce carbon emissions over time, and developers and municipalities are taking steps to move residential density away from vulnerable areas.

While coastal cities around the world are confronting the impacts of climate change, Miami stands out as a community that is taking proactive steps to adapt and become more resilient.

The Urban Land Institute panel in Downtown is the latest example of that commitment to long-term resilience. Initial findings from the panel’s week-long survey of Miami’s waterfront were presented on Friday, June 7 at City Hall. Read the full presentation here: