Powerful Miami Affordability Project tool now updated with data, visuals showing the impacts of extreme heat

Author

Megan Ondrizek

Source(s)
EurekAlert
Miami
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At a launch event at HistoryMiami this morning, the Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) at the University of Miami unveiled the Climate and Equity Mapping Platform (CAMP), the latest collection of resources from CCE’s Miami Housing Solutions Lab aimed at providing data and policy recommendations to help protect Miamians from the growing impacts of extreme heat.

Among the tools included as part of CAMP is the newest iteration of CCE’s Miami Affordability Project (MAP), which offers users a powerful, data-driven mapping tool to identify areas of need for affordable housing and environmental justice investment. CAMP, supported by a multi-year investment of nearly $1.4 million from JPMorgan Chase, provides local community organizations, planners, and municipal decision-makers with a suite of free and accessible resources that demonstrate the dangerous impacts of extreme heat on Miami’s underserved communities.

In April 2022, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava declared a housing emergency fueled by skyrocketing housing costs that increased nearly 60 percent over two years during the pandemic. Well before COVID-19, Miami was already challenged by unaffordable home prices, with more than half of renters in Miami-Dade County spending more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing.

At the same time, extreme heat is responsible for claiming more lives than any other extreme weather event in the U.S. The number of extreme heat days in Miami-Dade County considered dangerous to public health is projected to almost double in the next 30 years. The affordability and urban resilience issues come to an inflection point when Miami’s cost-burdened residents are forced to make difficult decisions between paying rent or turning on the air conditioning and bracing for the bill. Access to safe, sustainable, and affordable housing in neighborhoods that are resilient to climate impacts is critical to the health of Miami-Dade residents.

The CAMP project builds upon the updates to the MAP tool in 2020 that provided data on sea-level rise projections and potential flooding impacts in relation to existing affordability indicators. This new update features heat-related data such as tree canopy, permeable surfaces, extreme temperature data, and other factors to demonstrate the geographically specific impacts of extreme heat in Miami-Dade County. The expansion of MAP to visualize extreme heat-related indicators in concert with existing affordability, climate, and socioeconomic data offers the first analytic mapping tool that examines climate risks associated with extreme heat, sea level rise and flooding as they relate specifically to Miami’s affordable housing stock. These important MAP updates reveal that extreme heat is felt by neighborhoods throughout the region and has important implications for equitable development and protection.

Funding for CAMP also enabled the creation of the Extreme Heat Policy Toolkit, a companion to CCE’s growing library of policy toolkits aimed at identifying best practices and potential policy considerations to address extreme heat impacts at the individual, household, neighborhood, and community levels.

“We are thrilled to launch this enhanced online mapping platform and new policy toolkit that put the issue of extreme heat front and center in our considerations of equitable climate adaptation and mitigation,” said Robin Bachin, founding director of the University’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement. “Alongside UM’s inauguration of the Climate Resilience Academy, the CAMP project highlights UM’s commitment to working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to address the impacts of climate change in South Florida and beyond.”

“The CAMP tool will help Miami-Dade County and its many partners target its increased investments in home weatherization and housing retrofits to meet the needs of those most at-risk and energy burdened,” said Jane Gilbert, chief heat officer for Miami-Dade County.

Another important element of the CAMP project is a Resilience Communications toolkit, offering a blueprint by which other municipalities or organizations can begin to build relationships and compile research to inform the creation of climate equity policies and tools in their own communities.

"The importance of addressing extreme urban heat with data-driven tools and community voice cannot be understated,” said Vivek Shandas, professor of climate adaptation, Portland State University. “Systematic efforts like the CAMP project will help to overcome decades of environmental injustice, particularly on historically under-served populations, and are essential to advance local actions that serve as a model for regions around the country."

“Increasing access to affordable and sustainable housing in our community starts with helping our leaders and developers identify viable and sustainable locations for our residents to live,” said Maria Escorcia, vice president of corporate responsibility and Florida program officer at JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud of our support for the development of CAMP, and the MAP tool, both of which are helping our city rise to the challenge of growing the supply of and access to sustainable, affordable housing in Miami Dade.” 

JPMorgan Chase also announced an additional grant of $250,000 to CCE for the “Listening and Learning: Understanding Climate Gentrification Pressures through Community-Guided Conversations” project. This one-year project will investigate how climate impacts such as extreme heat, sea level rise, and flooding contribute to the displacement of residents in historically under-resourced and redlined neighborhoods. Measures of climate gentrification developed as part of this effort will be combined with resident oral histories and community conversations in these neighborhoods to support capacity building efforts and guide sensitive and appropriate development.

The CAMP project tools were unveiled at an event on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Following a demonstration of the newest updates to the MAP tool, Lauren Evans from Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact moderated a discussion with Jane Gilbert, chief heat officer, Miami-Dade County; Dr. Catherine Toms, Health Care Without Harm; and May Rodriguez, executive director, South Florida Community Development Coalition.

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