South Florida by the numbers: Pushing back the rising sea

“South Florida By the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

The facts can no longer be denied: sea levels are rising, and South Florida is becoming more vulnerable to flooding with each passing year. With a population that continues to grow by roughly 8 percent each year, expanded commercial and residential real estate and the annual threat of hurricanes, the challenges facing our region are significant.

A recent report from the Risky Business Project, which quantifies the nation’s economic risks from climate change, estimates that losses of existing property in Florida will likely range between $5.6 billion and $14.8 billion by 2030, to between $14.8 billion and $23.3 billion by 2050. The good news? South Florida’s business and political leaders are finally facing the problem head-on, and taking steps to make their projects and communities more resilient. Let’s review these proactive local efforts to combat rising seas levels in this month’s South Florida by the numbers.

$192 million: Portion of a $400 million bond approved by city of Miami voters to fund storm drain upgrades, flood pumps, and sea walls. Miami officials have also promised to start funding an additional $1 billion in projects to prepare the city for the effects of climate change. [TheRealDeal]

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9: Number of professionals in engineering, real estate, urban planning and other disciplines who (under the guidance of the Urban Land Institute) will form a panel to review the city of Miami Beach’s 10-year, $500 million program plan to combat flooding. Some of the aggressive tactics of the plan include new pumps and raised roads, but there are growing concerns about the impacts of these efforts on private property and the environment. [MiamiHerald]

100: Number of municipalities in the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” program, including Greater Miami and the Beaches and the Dutch cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. There is significant collaboration between the two distant regions, with local leaders applying principles from the Netherlands on multi-functional design (such as a resiliency project at Maurice Gibb Park in Miami Beach) and Dutch leaders utilizing South Florida’s expertise in hurricane planning and preparations. [WLRN]

$850,000: Budget of international design initiative launched by the Van Alen Institute in November, which seeks innovative solutions to protect Miami and South Florida from the consequences of sea-level rise. “Keeping Current: A Sea-Level Rise Challenge for Greater Miami” has support from Target, The Rockefeller Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Miami Foundation. The program invites interdisciplinary design teams to propose implementable and replicable solutions for three sea-level rise challenges that also address regional issues of economy, ecology and equity. [Curbed]

$1 billion: Cost to build Miami’s Brickell City Centre, a leading example of progressive, adaptive, and resilience-minded real estate development. The 9-acre complex of stores, restaurants, offices, condominiums and a hotel was built higher than the current flood plain, has flood gates that seal off the underground garage, an elevated seawall, and sustainable features like green roofs, native plants, and a “climate ribbon” that captures winds to cool the structure and lower energy costs. Sure enough, one resident described the entire complex as “unscathed” by Hurricane Irma. [BBC] [TheNextMiami]

This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.