I’m very excited to share that I was a guest on the America Adapts podcast for its first episode focused on extreme heat! America Adapts is a podcast hosted by my colleague and friend, Doug Parsons, with over a hundred episodes exploring climate change, its impacts, and our responses with scientists, activists, policymakers, and climate communicators.
In the extreme heat episode, we discuss the contributors to extreme heat including climate change and the urban heat island effect; the impacts of extreme heat on public health, the economy, urban ecology and more; some strategies that cities are using to increase their resilience to increasing extreme heat risk; and more broadly how urban planning is addressing climate change as a discipline. We only had time to scratch the surface of all that is going on in research and practice for extreme heat, but my hope is that the episode serves as a good introduction for those interested in the topic.
The City of Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority asked the Urban Land Institute to conduct an Advisory Services panel to provide recommendations for addressing waterfront resilience and mitigating the effects of sea level rise along Biscayne Bay and the Miami River. They asked us to focus on four key areas: design, finance, policy, and implementation. As a part of the five day process, the panel toured sites along the bayfront and riverfront and interviewed over 80 stakeholders. The panel came up with strategic, independent recommendations that take a holistic approach to resilience for the urban waterfront with specific recommendations around waterfront design guidelines, infrastructure finance, community engagement, and leveraging past plans and studies into actions moving forward.
Summary 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.
My colleague Sara Meerow, PhD, Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, and I are studying how urban planners address extreme heat. Our goal is to survey planning professionals from a wide range of U.S. communities to better understand how extreme heat risk perceptions, current planning activities, and barriers to action vary across the country. This information will be useful for practitioners and researchers in the effort to create more extreme heat resilient communities.
This survey should only take about 10 minutes and participants will be eligible to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards upon completing it. Please take it, share it with your urban planning colleagues, and let me know if there is a network you are a part of that we can share the survey with!