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Project Summary / Overview
This project was inspired by the growing recognition that Florida is on the front line of the consequences of climate change, especially with regards to significant sea level rise, more intense and frequent hurricanes, more severe droughts, and more frequent periods of torrential rains.
Florida's extreme vulnerability to climate change impacts requires that urgent planning, policy, and management tools be developed for communities and state government. This project emphasizes the need for information sharing in adaptation planning.
Florida is especially vulnerable to significant sea level rise, more intense and frequent hurricanes, more severe droughts, and more frequent periods of torrential rains. The Florida Planning Toolbox includes agriculture land conservation, benchmarking, coastal planning, diversity and social equity, economic development, education and health, housing, infill and redevelopment, land use planning and development, military community growth planning, natural systems conservation, public involvement and education, and water resource planning. All these tools are cross cutting and are integrated in the climate change tools section for use by communities during adaptation planning.
The Florida Planning Toolbox was created to provide descriptions and examples of tools that protect and enhance natural resources, promote economic growth, and support sustainability. It was originally developed in 2006 for the Committee for a Sustainable Emerald Coast. From 2006 until the present, it has served as a repository of planning tools for the entire state. The Climate Change Tools section of the Toolbox provides a compilation of climate impacts information and includes planning by sectors, including adaptation, building (facilities and operations), economic development, education and outreach, land use planning, renewable green energy, transportation, urban landscapes, waste management, and water and wastewater; within each sector are priority recommendations. For example, the adaptation section calls for the involvement of stakeholders, planners, and scientists in the development of a plan. This section includes two main documents to help the state start developing adaptation strategies: the South Florida Regional Planning Council's Climate Change Community Toolbox created to assist the Miami-Dade Climate Change Task Force, and Florida's Resilient Coasts: A State Policy Framework for Adaptation to Climate Change, created by the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) at Florida Atlantic University.
Project Outcomes and Conclusions
This project serves as a great resource for Florida planning. It has compiled in one place the most recent information on climate change and community planning. However, the CUES closed in 2010 due to state budget cuts and it is unclear whether the Florida Planning Toolbox and Climate Change Tools will continue to be updated. In 2009, the Florida Atlantic University's Center For Environmental Studies initiated an Integrative Collaboration on Climate and Energy (ICCE) program to continue advancing climate change adaptation and mitigation through an emphasis on stakeholder involvement and partnership with both government and non-governmental organizations, business communities, and the public. The ICCE is building on the momentum created by the CUES and is focusing work on regional climate scenario models to support adaptation planning.