Increasing the Resilience of Miami’s Downtown and Urban Waterfront

The Miami River at night.

I chaired a week-long Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Service Panel, June 2 – 7, 2019, on increasing the resilience of Miami’s downtown and urban waterfronts to sea level rise, urban flooding, and extreme heat. The panel was sponsored by the City of Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority, with the goal of developing meaningful recommendations for the protection and enhancement of Miami’s economic, natural, and human resources in the urban waterfront area. ULI assembled an amazing team of experts from across the country and it was a pleasure working with and learning from them.

Our panel met with the sponsors and was briefed on the urban waterfront background, toured the site to experience it ourselves, interviewed 80 local stakeholders representing various government agencies, the real estate sector, environmental experts, and community organizations. The interdisciplinary panel then deliberated on the greatest challenges and opportunities and practical recommendations.

We presented our findings to a packed room at the city council chambers on Friday, June 7, 2019. Our key recommendations to the City of Miami and Miami DDA included:

The ULI advisory service panel with Commissioner Ken Russell after the presentation of recommendations.
  • Embrace the legacy of the waterfront through design to protect from water, live with water, and create value from water.
  • Return to Miami’s history and embrace sensitive transit-oriented development (TOD) on the ridge for future growth.
  • Bring existing plans and visions together, act on strategies, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Pursue a portfolio of financial strategies to become the world leader in resilient finance, investment, and construction.
  • Reduce uncertainty for the community and private market through predictability, transparency, and accountability.
  • Incremental actions can lead to transformational changes.

The full 1.5 hour video of our panel recommendations is online at

Additional coverage and information on our ULI Advisory Service Panel:

The full ULI Advisory Service Panel report of our findings and recommendations to the City of Miami and Miami Downtown Development Authority will be available in the fall of 2019.

Interview with KJZZ’s The Show on Urban Heat Island Mapping

I had the opportunity to share my CLIMAS urban heat island mapping research with Mark Brodie of Phoenix radio station 91.5 KJZZ’s The Show. We discussed the current state of urban heat island map and their uses in urban planning, including the challenges and opportunities in improving their use to increase heat resilience in cities.

Listen to the full interview here!

America Adapts: End-of-the-Year Holiday Special

Recording the America Adapts holiday special episode.

I joined Doug Parsons, the America Adapts host and Shaun Martin, Senior Director, Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience at WWF, for the third annual holiday special episode! We discussed our top climate stories, favorite America Adapts episode, and the state of climate adaptation in 2018.

Listen to the episode on the America Adapts website, Spotify, or iTunes.