For many Florida cities, climate change not only leads to risks from sudden catastrophe, but to an accumulation of smaller events such as nuisance flooding, housing shortages and water quality issues that cumulatively cause larger impacts. Such acute and chronic concerns place a demand on municipal officials to act in the short term, pushing long-term resilience off for another day. This is especially true for municipalities without large planning staffs or resilience efforts led by nongovernmental organizations.
Florida Resilient Cities (FRC) is a new research program helping communities across the state develop the capacity to be more prepared for and more resilient to increased risk. The program bridges community needs with design research through the College of Design, Construction and Planning, partnered with faculty from departments across the university.
The FRC approach involves three specific strategies:
- Taking a design thinking approach. Design projects can connect the values and goals of a broad range of stakeholders to strong and optimistic community visions.
- Applying the best science for effective problem-solving. Achieving long-range resilience requires baseline data and forecasts that support redirecting investments into areas facing less risk from future events.
- Building local adaptations toward statewide transformation. Successful local projects build local support to champion, fund and implement adaptation that provides the best practices for statewide policy.
The program aims to develop sustained base funding to: 1) support work in at least one community each year; 2) build and maintain a network of Florida communities around resilience and adaptation; and 3) create a public, web-based resource where individual examples are presented as best practices.
Through generous support from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, the first FRC project is focused on the City of Port St. Joe and the surrounding region’s storm recovery and long-term resilience. In 2020/2021 we are looking to continue work in Port St. Joe. We are also currently pursuing grant funding for Daytona Beach and Jacksonville and exploring opportunities in Key West and West Palm Beach.