Miami Forever Climate Ready

The Miami Forever Climate Ready strategy, if implemented as articulated, will significantly reduce the increasing risks of flood, heat, and storm impacts over the next 40 years. It will do so in ways our residents and other stakeholders have expressed support for, all the while maximizing social, environmental, and economic co-benefits. Many of the actions articulated here will inform the next steps we need to take, so this is also a living document that will be updated on an annual basis.

Miami Forever Climate Ready takes inspiration from other climate adaptation plans developed by cities across the United States, including Boston, New York, New Orleans and Norfolk. Inspired by the Mayor’s leadership role with the Global Commission on Adaptation, it recognizes the “triple dividend” of adaptation -- avoided losses, economic benefits, and social and environmental benefits -- and strives for revolutionary changes to how we understand, plan for, and finance adaptation to climate risk.

The strategy also aligns closely with two major multijurisdictional resilience initiatives underway in South Florida. The Resilient305 strategy, developed in partnership with Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach, is both the source of some of the action items and a jumping-off point for collaboration on financing mechanisms, design concepts and standards, technology and more. In addition, many of the actions in this strategy set in motion recommendations from the Regional Climate Action Plan 2.0 developed by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.

Miami Forever Climate Ready is the product of collaboration.

Residents, business owners, non-profits, universities, City of Miami committees and staff, and other key stakeholders helped us identify our greatest climate change challenges, and proposed and prioritized actions to respond. Supported by partners throughout the City, we collected input for this strategy through activities including:

  • Eight expert workshops on topics including stormwater master plan, housing affordability, climate gentrification, resilience hubs, and parks.
  • Eight community workshops across the City to gather input from over 160 residents and businesses on their concerns for Miami’s future, and their ideas for initiatives to respond to climate change-related challenges.
  • An online survey on climate risks, priorities and initiatives, which reached approximately 500 Miami residents, business owners and others.
  • A collaboration with Florida International University to develop individual maps of risks from heat, sunny day flooding, and storm surge for each of the City’s neighborhoods.
  • An advisory panel from the Urban Land Institute, which informed our thinking on waterfront resilience, outreach and information sharing with community members, and laying additional groundwork for adaptive neighborhoods.
  • A Climate Resilience Committee workshop, which involved an exercise ranking proposed actions by ease and impact of implementation.
  • Within City of Miami government, the creation of an interdepartmental Resilience Action Group and the identification of liaisons in every department to lead collaboration and communication on resilience efforts going forward.

We believe continued learning and collaboration are critical to the successful implementation of this strategy. So, we have built outreach and input processes into Miami Forever Climate Ready, with the hope that Miami residents and all our partners will continue to provide their ideas and insights in the years to come.

The principles guiding how Miami tackles the increasing challenges posed by climate change are equally foundational as the goals, objectives, and actions themselves. Incorporating these 8 principals will deliver on Miami’s vision of transforming our climate risk into an opportunity to build a thriving City for all.

  1. Maximize multiple benefits. Effective climate resilience initiatives reduce risks from climate hazards, reduce greenhouse gases, and create other benefits. Flood mitigation measures that also provide recreational open space, increased shade, upgraded roadways, and/ or provide public access to Biscayne Bay, represent examples of multiple-benefit solutions. Non-physical interventions also can offer multiple benefits, such as programs that help businesses and households make operational changes to reduce their flood risk while also lowering utility costs or reducing insurance premiums. Multiple-benefit approaches enable Miami to address some of the other pressing challenges that it faces beyond climate risks.
  2. Use public resources efficiently and maximize partnerships. Use analysis on the cost of inaction versus the cost of resilience investments to clearly demonstrate value. Pursue state and federal funding, maximize public/private partnerships, and seek innovations in public finance. Consider all potential adaptive solutions for mitigating risk, including infrastructure, land use and building codes, and retreat.
  3. Incorporate local involvement in design and decision making. Effective resilience initiatives require on-the ground knowledge and sustained community support. Local stakeholders can help illuminate critical resilience opportunities in their communities and generate creative ideas for solving multiple challenges at once.
  4. Address equity. Climate change will have a greater impact on socioeconomically vulnerable populations. According to the most recent A.L.I.C.E. Report from United Way of Florida, 70 % of Miamians are struggling to make ends meet due to limited living wage jobs and the high cost of housing. According to the Prosperity Now Scorecard, over 58% of Miami households have insufficient liquid assets to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income. For this population, loss of income due to a hurricane could significantly disruptive.
  5. Utilize technology and innovation. Smart sensor and digital communication technologies enable us to better and more cost effectively understand our vulnerabilities, monitor results, manage our assets, and engage multiple stakeholders.
  6. Leverage and protect our natural systems. Miamians and our visitors are attracted to live, work and play here because of our tropical ecosystem, beautiful beaches, and Biscayne Bay. Adaptive solutions must also enhance water quality, deliver ecosystem benefits, and advance our transition to a sustainable, carbon neutral city.
  7. Create layers of protection by working at multiple scales. Addressing a single challenge at multiple scales can reduce the quantity and cost of work for an individual entity, allow for holistic problem solving, and build in practical redundancy. For instance, Citywide land use planning, district-scale integrated adaptation approaches, and site-specific designs can all mutually support reduction of flood risks over time.
  8. Design in flexibility and adaptability. Climate conditions and projections about the future will continue to change over time; we must build and design today with the ability to integrate new information and adapt to new realities. For example, buildings today can be built with high ground-floor ceilings so that the ground floor can be raised as sea levels rise over time.

The Miami Forever Climate Ready team would like to thank the following individuals, departments and community partners for their contributions to the development of this strategy.

City of Miami

  • Departments and staff in the Miami Forever Climate Ready working group, for their innumerable contributions to creating and refining this strategy: Resilience and Public Works, Planning, Communications, Emergency Management, the Office of Capital Improvements and the Office of Resilience and Sustainability.
  • All departments and offices in the Resilience Action Group, for their commitment to coordination and collaboration on resilience efforts City-wide.
  • All Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET) offices and the Communications Department, for their help informing residents about the Miami Forever Climate Ready community workshops.
  • Deputy City Manager Joseph Napoli, for helping elevate Miami Forever Climate Ready as a City-wide priority.
  • Chief Resilience Officer Jane Gilbert and team -- Alissa Farina, Melissa Hew, Reinaldo Rodriguez, Kate Stein and Alyssa Hernandez – who led the development of Miami Forever Climate Ready and the accompanying process of outreach and engagement.

External partners

  • The City of Miami Climate Resilience Committee, for the time and insight they’ve committed to ensuring Miami’s longterm resilience, and for helping prioritize and review actions in this strategy.
  • The Miami Foundation and Partners for Places -- a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, for their financial support of community outreach efforts and other work on Miami Forever Climate Ready.
  • Catalyst Miami fellows Ashley Cover and Nyame Nti Nsibienakou-Fawohodie, for their assistance in facilitating the community workshops.
  • The City of Boston, for insights from their Climate Ready Boston strategy.
  • The numerous non-profits, neighborhood groups and other community partners who helped spread the word about the Miami Forever Climate Ready workshops and survey.
  • Miami-Dade County and City of Miami Beach, for their sustained partnership and commitment to building a Resilient305.
  • All Miami residents, businesses, and other stakeholders who contributed input to the strategy’s development.