Environmentalists should make good urbanists, since they understand systems, diversity, connectivity and interdependence.Caryl Terrell
This week, one of my favorite journalists, Chris Hayes, is broadcasting an excellent series on climate change. In the series, he traveled to various cities in the U.S. to report on the effects of climate change happening right now. One of the places he highlighted is Miami and Miami Beach.
In the segment, which both showed off the beauty of our cities as well as the seriousness of the sea level rise issue we face, the All In host interviewed Harold R. Wanless, chair and professor in the Department of Geology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami; Ben Kirtman, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Miami; Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine; Wayne Pathman, environmental land use attorney; and Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Southeast Advocacy Coordinator for Climate & Energy for the Union of Concerned Scientists
The title of the Miami episode – ‘we as a people will become afraid of the ocean’ – is from comments made by Professor Wanless at the end of the segment. He predicts that at some point mid-century, Miami may face a dystopian future of sea level rise – with a resulting inability to finance, insure or sell our houses – if we fail to act now.
Each night on the Emmy Award-winning ‘All In’, Chris Hayes partakes in lively conversations and debates with his guests. Hayes covers not only the biggest news stories of the day, but also the issues that are personally important to him including social justice and the environment.
“WELL” is a relatively new concept focused on improving “the people live by developing spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life“. The WELL Building Standard encompasses seven categories of human well-being – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind – and the building must perform in each to receive certification.
And now, “Delos®, the pioneer of Wellness Real Estate™, and Strategic Property Partners announced a partnership to create the world’s first WELL Certified™ city district in Tampa, Florida. Through this project, Delos, Strategic Property Partners and the City of Tampa will not only create a roadmap for how cities worldwide can be designed and developed to support public health, they will also demonstrate the concept on a $2 billion, 40-acre urban mixed-use development project.”
All buildings within the Tampa city district will pursue WELL Certification, including new buildings such as a 400-500 room hotel, a 650,000 square foot signature office tower, the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, and approximately 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. Additionally, the community itself will become the world’s first WELL Certified city district and will feature design and technology strategies including enhanced walkability, abundant green space including low pollen trees, sound barriers to support acoustic comfort, access to healthy foods, green infrastructure, daily monitoring and reporting of district air quality, and access to the amenities of an urban waterfront – all of which contribute to the wellness and quality of life of the people who live and work in the development.
By combining smart city technologies and design strategies such as comprehensive air quality monitoring, low-emissions transportation, green infrastructure and walkability, the Tampa wellness city district will show that people have the choice to not only create cities that can thrive in harmony with the natural systems, but also to build communities that proactively eliminate risk factors for chronic disease.
“More than half of all people in the world now live in cities, and we spend 90 percent of our time indoors,” explained Delos Founder Paul Scialla. “The built environment – our cities – are human habitat, and we have the knowledge to design them to sustain our health, not to harm it.”
The Tampa Wellness City District will break ground in 2016 with Phase One expected to be completed within 5 years. project is targeted to break ground in 2016 with phase one to be completed within five years.
It is estimated that approximately 7,500 people will directly benefit from the wellness community through living and working environments. Importantly, an additional three million people per year who are users and visitors to the Tampa wellness city district will also be positively affected.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn noted, “Tampa is proud to be the first city in the world to be home to a WELL Certified District and to be the pioneer for this exciting initiative. Together, we will demonstrate that city design – not just building design – can be healthy and sustainable, making Tampa a leader in the wellness industry and our downtown, a destination. We look forward to participating with our partners Delos and SPP to play a role in crafting a WELL Community Standard that will become the basis for similar projects in other cities.”