Working As a Community to Make More Resilient Cities

Major cities worldwide are seeing rapid population growth, which leads to an extensive need for housing and infrastructure for support. As Miami continues to grow, the city is facing complex issues like urban sprawl, rising sea levels, and extreme weather. However, like all problems engineers face, there isn’t one that can’t be solved. There are already efforts underway to make more sustainable and resilient cities that improve the quality of life for the people living in it.

Coastal Problems

The rising sea levels are a consistent problem for all coastal environments. According to the Florida Climate Institute, sea levels in Florida rise by an inch every three years. It seems like it’s not a noticeable amount, but it changes how land and buildings are used, and increases the need for more frequent inspections for waterfront properties. Rising sea levels make it more difficult for floodwater to dissipate into the groundwater or evaporate, which causes significant damage to older buildings.

It’s not over yet as engineering trends work on solutions to deal with more complicated environmental factors. For example, some projects utilize “green” infrastructure that incorporates the elements into the building environment. Rain gardens can help absorb stormwater runoff and reduce the likelihood of flooding. Buildings are utilizing both indoor and outdoor elements to work harmoniously within their environment. This makes them more resilient to extreme weather conditions like hurricanes.

Expansive Land Use

With rapid population growth, there is a greater need for housing. The concept of “urban sprawl” may sound familiar; where cities tend to spread out instead of up. This provides a lot of challenges for developers because it usually leads to increased traffic with a surplus of commuters. Although public transportation systems do a pretty good job of helping with this, it’s also possible to make more unified spaces through building design

Engineers and architects are trying to find the answer on how to include the best of both suburbs and high-rise buildings for residential and commercial designs. New concepts in urban design call for environments that pay close attention to the way people move within them. It uses a community-based approach to developing building plans that work harmoniously with the physical and sensory needs of the people that live, work, or move within it.

In spite of any challenge southern Florida may be facing, with excellent engineering and building practices, any obstacle can be overcome by bringing communities together. For example, the 17th Street Causeway Bridge in Fort Lauderdale was initially designed to replace an outdated drawbridge. It caused excessive traffic and made traveling around the city inconvenient for drivers. Emphasizing the community’s needs by including bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks, made drastic improvements to traffic and safety for everyone who uses it.

As we like to say, “A structure is only as strong as the people that support it,” which makes collaboration in the engineering and architecture worlds that much more important. With the right approach, Miami and cities like it can continue growing successfully as long as it’s built with the community in mind. If your team is in need of an experienced structural engineering firm that can bring long-term dreams to life, our team at DDA Engineers, P.A. is here to help. For project management, inspection services, and project peer reviews, call (305) 666-0711 today.

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