One of Urban Impact Lab's projects is Resilient Miami where we are taking initial steps at building community-driven resilience. Miami's standing as the nation's most climate vulnerable city provides plenty of impetus and inspiration for the work being done. One of the primary areas of focus for the Resilient Miami project is building a robust emergency preparedness and response network. While there are emergency response plans at the county (and certain city) level, we are seeing a general lack of preparedness, information and awareness at the community level.
In climate-vulnerable cities such as Miami, preparedness often means evacuating. Knowing when to evacuate, where to go and how to get there are some (but not nearly all) of the basic elements of preparedness. On May 2 and 3, we were assisted by the amazing folks from Code for Miami, Ernie Hsiung and Rebekah Monson, at the eMerge Americas Hackathon in creating the beginning stages of a mobile app that would provide information on evacuation routes, bus stops, open shelters and news updates. The app also featured a localized chat room so people could assist others in their vicinity. The chat space is divided into NEED and OFFER so if, for example, a neighbor needed a ride out they could post and find someone close by that could offer a seat in their automobile.
The app is still in its very, very early stages, and we hope to add additional functionalities such as social media integration (especially for the chat piece), car sharing, more robust transit information and CERT team leader identification within neighborhoods. We look forward to working with the Code for Miami team and the Miami Dade Emergency Operations Center in helping this app become a reality. For Urban Impact Lab it was an incredible learning experience, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have attended.