Weekly Journal

Florida: The High Cost of Erosion | Business

Beach replenishment may be necessary to protect coastal areas now, but it is not sustainable in the long run because sea level rise is accelerating

In the face of climate change and the resulting rise in sea levels around the world, coastal communities need to be proactive, not only to do their part in mitigating the environmental damage to planet Earth, but to also prepare for the “inevitable.”

Salty Urbanism design of what Fort Lauderdale could look like in the future. >Courtesy Brooks+Scarpa

That is the message behind Salty Urbanism, a multifaceted urban-design framework that “connects all the dots” related to rising sea levels and how coastal communities should adapt to this new reality. “It’s a holistic framework encompassing ecologists, ocean engineers, architects, urban planners… including green-building issues,” said Jeffrey Huber, an architect with Brooks+Scarpa in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Coastal communities need to adapt and, since we are in South Florida, our initial focus has been on Fort Lauderdale.”

During an interview with THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, Huber, who is also a professor at Florida Atlantic University, explained the vision behind Salty Urbanism. The new framework accepts the inevitability of climate change and sea level rise and provides a new urban framework that includes various features: new archipelago communities comprised of little islands, canal-like streets similar to those in Venice, and deliberately marshy waterfronts, supported by new infrastructure that could allow cities to thrive even under conditions of extreme flooding, while mitigating the effects of future severe weather events.

During this year’s convention by the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, to be held Oct. 18-19 in San Juan, Huber will be a featured speaker on the theme of “RE/IMAGINE our built environment,” when he will present his vision of Salty Urbanism. Other topics to be discussed include the problem of coastal erosion in Puerto Rico and how architects, urban planners and other related professions can best respond to this new reality.

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