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The Clear Choice for Coral Gables

On Resiliency and Sustainability

Global temperatures increased between 1.1 and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the period from 1906 to 2005 [1], driving changes in climate patterns across the world.  The local impacts in South Florida are already evident, and we can expect additional changes in the future.  The Unified Sea Level Rise projection for Southeast Florida estimates between 14 to 34 inches of sea level rise in 2060 and 31-81 inches of sea level rise by 2100 [2].  Higher sea levels translate to more flooding during rain events, and increased temperatures translate to more powerful hurricanes.  Knowing what lies ahead, we can enhance our resiliency by improving stormwater capacity, identifying the vulnerability of our infrastructure to sea level rise projections, and implementing monitoring devices to address vulnerabilities as they arise.  We can work collaboratively with FEMA and insurance agencies to communicate the City’s preparedness for the challenges ahead, so they can properly evaluate the risk to our community taking into account our good planning practices.  As an MIT-trained civil engineer, I have the background and experience to help guide the City through these challenges, and to prepare our community for a sustainable future.  As commissioner, I will support

Green Infrastructure – Improve roads and maintain healthy drainage to build more water storage capacity to help mitigate flooding during extreme weather events.  Also, green stormwater infrastructure design helps with traffic calming because many designs use curb extension to create planter boxes.

Advance Planning – Evaluate the City infrastructure vulnerability based on sea level rise projection.  Monitor progress of sea level rise and plan projects, and funding for projects, based on expectations of when infrastructure will be impacted.

Improved Roads – Reduce the number of impervious surfaces; this can be done at city-owned parking facilities by adding or upgrading to permeable pavements and applying green infrastructure

Internet Mesh Networking – Create a city-wide internet mesh network to keep our community connected during hurricane events.  In the event of a power outage, solar power ensures network accessibility via redundant connections across distributed access nodes.

Coastal Preserves – Maintain and expand city-owned coastal preserves – ensuring the health of the ecosystem at these preserves and creating living shorelines that act as a buffer against storm surge to reduce flooding.

Tree Trimming – Expand the city’s tree trimming maintenance to help reduce tree damage from hurricanes and storms.

Solar Energy – Expand city solar energy projects – Coral Gables added 11 new solar powered benches, allowing people to charge electronic devices even in the event of major power outage events.

Green Buildings – Maintain and expand the city’s green building code ordinances to ensure new buildings and developments are built to include consideration of the future impacts of sea-level rise.

Improved Emergency Response – Review and improve the city’s emergency response plan, and provide additional opportunities to train city staff for emergency events.

[1] “Global Warming,” NASA Earth Observatory,, accessed on 2/18/2019.
[2] “Unified Sea Level Rise Projection – Southeast Florida,” Sea Level Rise Work Group,, accessed on 2/18/2019.

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Elect Carmen Olazabal on April 9th, 2019 - #45

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