In 2014 Florida International University (FIU) and the City of Miami Beach forged a partnership leveraging unique assets within their organizations. The four anchors of this collaboration include Arts, Culture, and History; Florida Coastal Resilience and Adaptation; Youth and Education Development and Transportation. Since the beginning of this partnership many milestones were reached with regards to sea level rise and resiliency:
- In July 2015, FlU launched the Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC), which is dedicated to designing and implementing short- and longt erm adaptation strategies for a prosperous South Florida. SLSC advances the understanding of sea level rise and its impacts, and converting this into actions that benefit society on a global scale. The City of Miami Beach is a key practitioner partner.
- In September 2015, the City of Miami Beach and FlU hosted Vice President AI Gore and the Climate Reality Project at the 30th Cl imate Reality Leadership Corps training. The former Vice President was engaged in a 90-minute private meeting to discuss the challenges and successes of adaptation planning in the City of Miami Beach.
- The French Consulate, the City of Miami Beach, the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and FlU hosted the French Ameri-Can Climate TalkS (FACTS) conference. Held in twelve cities in the United States and Canada involving renowned scientists, civil society representatives, NGOs, political figures, journalists and entrepreneurs, FACTS aims to mobilize public opinion on the issues of sea level rise and its impact on local communities.
- FlU Professor Nancy Scanlon presented at the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan using the Miami Beach Costal Resilience model with data provided by the City of Miami Beach. Her presentation discussed solutions, highlighting the efforts of Miami Beach around resilience and adaptation- citing the City’s water pumping stations, which pump flood waters out of the streets.
South Florida’s predisposition to weather extremes renders the region’s infrastructure acutely vulnerable. But weather extremes are not exclusive to South Florida. The Urban Resilience to Extreme Weather-Related Events Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN), a newly formed team of researchers, is addressing these challenges on an international scale. FIU biologists Evelyn Gaiser, John Kominoski and Tiffany Troxler are part of the 50-member team of researchers.
Hurricanes, flooding, droughts, heat waves and other extreme events can cripple crucial infrastructure that enables transit, electricity, water and other services in urban areas. With these types of events becoming more common, it is increasingly important to develop infrastructure in different, more sustainable ways.
Representing 15 institutions from nine cities in North and South America, the researchers will evaluate the social, ecological and technical systems related to infrastructure. Their efforts will take into account key stakeholders, including citizens who rely on the infrastructure and city officials, as well as the natural environment in which the infrastructure operates.
The team will evaluate available technology and develop a suite of tools to support the development of urban infrastructure that is resilient and tailored to particular cities.