Will Miami Be New New Amsterdam?
May 14, 2015 May 14, 2015
Live in Miami long enough and you won’t be alarmed at the common summer-time sight of canoes and paddle boards floating down flooded streets. Lately, however, experts are really shining the global warming spotlight on Miami. Miami Beach sits on the forefront of storms and some reports warn of possible tidal surges. Other reports place Miami under water by 2100 due to rising sea levels.
While such reports might be enough to call for major changes in the city planning paradigm, the real estate market seems to be taking it pretty well. Both, buyers and developers seem unmoved. After all, the year 2100 seems so far away and global warming impact reports vary quite a lot. We’re not all in denial, however, as Miami Beach city planners, officials and authorities are develop solutions to combat the situation.
New zoning laws requiring all future constructions to be set three to four feet above the current sea level have been enacted by Miami Beach Planning director Thomas Mooney. And Miami Beach Public Works director Eric Carpenter has already begun the installation of storm pumps to keep water off the streets. Researched to function better than gravity-based drains, the plan is to install 75 to 80 new pumps worth $300-$500 million by 2020 to buy precious time for a more permanent solution to keep the city above water.
Carpenter has offered a very Amsterdam-ish solution to adapt to rising sea levels, which is why Miami will be in the process of elevating some of its lowest roads and sidewalks along West Avenue by 1.5 to 2 feet. The first phase of the project is already under construction between 17th Street and Lincoln Road.
While cities such as Amsterdam are a major beacon of hope in adapting to environmental challenges, it should also be noted that Miami isn’t the only coastal city addressing climate change and rising sea levels. There’s a major community of those who understand strategic measures will be taken by city officials to prepare for global warming and keep their real estate investments safe. This may be why Asian, European and Latin American buyers are still paying top-dollar for units without showing any signs of slowing down. They’ve got record-breaking prices and sales numbers to show for it each month.