Tampa outlines a roadmap to address climate risk and social inequalities

Tampa has an ambitious agenda to better prepare it for the effects of climate risks and to address long-standing economic and social inequalities.

The groundbreaking roadmap for Resilient Tampa introduces 58 bold initiatives to tackle the known and unknown of the 21st century.

As in cities around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have taken their toll on the coastal city of Florida – shock waves that are likely to be felt in years to come.

Resilience is an approach that helps cities to use their strengths to cope with the complex known and unknown challenges of the 21st century. Like many other cities, Tampa faces a number of challenges that could hamper its recent growth and have been compounded during the pandemic, the report said.

Climate change poses a serious threat as storms increase in frequency and intensity. Scientists predict a significant increase in the risk of hurricanes in the coming decades, with some predicting the probability will increase by about 30% over the next decade.

The key findings of a recent hurricane report from real estate analysis company CoreLogic show that storm surges threaten nearly 8 million single and multi-family homes nationwide, with combined rebuilding costs of more than $ 1.9 trillion.

“People continue to migrate to these affordable coastal areas, but their low-lying locations put homeowners at risk,” the report said.

At the state level, Florida, Louisiana, and New York have the largest numbers of homes at risk from storm surges and hurricane winds. Many low-income communities may not be able to afford insurance or understand the financial risk of hurricane damage.

Rising sea levels, increasing precipitation rates of tropical cyclones, and increasing frequency of tropical cyclones are all factors of climate change that contribute to the intensification of hurricanes.

The Resilient Tampa report finds that rising sea levels are placing critical urban infrastructure, homes and businesses at increasing risk.

The city had $ 4.5 billion in approved construction in 2020, up from $ 3.1 billion in 2019. The increase represents a 45 percent increase and marks one of the fastest growing growth periods in Tampa in such a short time. According to Advance Guide, Tampa gained more residents in 2020 than any year in the past decade, with the exception of 2016, which contributed to the housing shortage.

Tampa also faces the serious health effects of prolonged heat waves. By the middle of this century, the city has the potential to last a full four months with a heat index of over 100 degrees, creating unsafe outdoor working conditions for many residents.

The plan also aims to improve the opportunities and economic mobility of city dwellers. “While Tampa’s economy has begun to improve, there is more work to be done to ensure an equitable recovery for all residents,” the report said. “The lowest-income Tampans continue to face the economic impact of Covid-19, with their employment rate dropping 15.5% in January 2021 compared to January 2020.”

The report adds, “The impact of the pandemic on black and Hispanic communities is also exacerbating the long-standing racial inequalities that persist in Tampa as in other American cities. Colored residents are almost three times as likely to live in poverty and are 20 percentage points less likely to own a home than white Tampans and earn only 60% of the latter’s average wage. “

The report recommends measures such as workforce development, the creation of a communal land trust to ensure more affordable housing units are built, improving access to and use of Tampa’s regional transportation network, investing in green and open spaces to the extreme Mitigating heat and flooding, creating long-term career paths for young residents, reducing poverty by connecting Tampa residents to quality jobs and wealth-building opportunities, and accelerating the adoption of broadband internet, especially in minority communities.

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