U.S. Department of Commerce designates South Florida as climate resilience tech hub

by | Oct 23, 2023

  • President Joe Biden has designated South Florida as a climate resilience tech hub, one of 32 sites nationally, under the federal Tech Hubs program.
  • The declaration opens South Florida to federal funding to boost its infrastructure against environmental challenges like hurricanes and coastal flooding.
  • The hub, led by the Miami Dade County Innovation and Economic Development Office, will prioritize sustainable and weather-resistant infrastructure, tapping into the region’s resources like coastal and marine infrastructure, clean cement industries, energy efficiency sectors, and research institutions.

President Joe Biden on Monday formally declared South Florida, alongside 31 other sites nationally, as a climate resilience tech hub as part of the federal Tech Hubs program.

The South Florida Climate Resilience Tech Hub, with the Miami Dade County Innovation and Economic Development Office serving as the lead agency, will work to advance sustainable and weather-hardened infrastructure in the region, which frequently faces large-scale hurricanes and coastal flooding. The designation additionally positions South Florida to become eligible for millions of dollars of federal funding.

“Building off the region’s unique combination of resources such as its coastal and marine infrastructure, cluster of clean cement and energy efficiency building industries, and academic and research institutions, this Tech Hub will jumpstart Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SRI) innovation by developing, commercializing, and scaling SRI technologies focused on climate adaptation and mitigation,” the Hub’s U.S. Economic Development Administration reads.

Chosen among 400 Phase 1 applicants, the White House referred to South Florida as having “high potential” within the infrastructure manufacturing sector.

“The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers,” the federal government said in a prepared statement. 

Damages from cataclysmic weather events have steadily climbed throughout the calendar year in Florida, with insured losses as a result of Hurricane Idalia reaching $263.9 million, as of Monday afternoon, including 16,265 residential claims following the storm’s landfall.

Similarly, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in Broward County in April due to severe flooding caused by record-breaking rainfall. A subsequent Executive Order reported that critical infrastructure, including major state and county roadways, airports, hospitals, and schools were impacted, warranting activation of the Florida National Guard to assist in emergency recovery.

Looking ahead, approximately one million properties in Florida are expected to face frequent flooding, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Cornell and Florida State University. Report findings indicate that the at-risk properties contribute to nearly 30 percent of the local income for more than half of Florida’s cities and project the state to lose a total value of $619 billion in property value by the end of the century.


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