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close this bookCrucibles of Hazard: Mega-Cities and Disasters in Transition (UNU, 1999, 544 pages)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Introduction - James K. Mitchell
View the document2. Natural disasters in the context of mega-cities - James K. Mitchell
View the document3. Urbanization and disaster mitigation in Tokyo - Yoshio Kumagai and Yoshiteru Nojima
View the document4. Flood hazard in Seoul: A preliminary assessment - Kwi-Gon Kim
View the document5. Environmental hazards in Dhaka - Saleemul Huq
View the document6. Natural and anthropogenic hazards in the Sydney sprawl: Is the city sustainable? - John Handmer
View the document7. Disaster response in London: A case of learning constrained by history and experience - Dennis J. Parker
View the document8. Lima, Peru: Underdevelopment and vulnerability to hazards in the city of the kings - Anthony Oliver-Smith
View the document9. Social vulnerability to disasters in Mexico City: An assessment method - Sergio Puente
View the document10. Natural hazards of the San Francisco Bay mega-city: Trial by earthquake, wind, and fire - Rutherford H. Platt
View the document11. There are worse things than earthquakes: Hazard vulnerability and mitigation capacity in Greater Los Angeles - Ben Wisner
View the document12. Environmental hazards and interest group coalitions: Metropolitan Miami after hurricane Andrew - William D. Solecki
View the document13. Findings and conclusions - James K. Mitchell
View the documentPostscript: The role of hazards in urban policy at the millennium - James K. Mitchell
View the documentAppendices
View the documentContributors
View the documentOther titles of interest

12. Environmental hazards and interest group coalitions: Metropolitan Miami after hurricane Andrew - William D. Solecki

Editor's introduction

On the wall of a well-known fast food restaurant in Miami Beach is a locally painted mural that features a great ocean wave rearing up and appearing to curl over high-rise hotels that line the shorefront. Whether the artist intended to communicate a more benign message about sea, sand, and relaxation is not known, but the image draws attention to the precarious situation of this low-lying mega-city on the edge of a frequently turbulent ocean. It is a view that is shared by many authors, from the novelist Joan Didion (1987) to the cartographer Mark Monmonier (1997). But the generally available literature on environmental hazards in Miami is surprisingly thin, despite the recent dire experience of hurricane Andrew. More attention is paid to the city's high crime rate and to its ethnic and social divisions than to its natural environmental risks. Yet all are part of the package of hazards that confronts residents and visitors alike and all periodically become mutually intertwined in public policy issues. As Bill Solecki shows, a joint approach to human and natural components of vulnerability can have significant implications and benefits for both scholars and managers. Also important in Miami's case is the potential for extending emerging notions of socially sensitive hazard management from the context of more developed mega-cities to less developed mega-cities, where they are perhaps most needed. Miami's role as de facto capital of the Caribbean Basin assures it high visibility as a model suitable for emulation elsewhere.

Introduction

Megacities are often defined as cities that contain populations in excess of 10 million. With more than 3 million residents, greater Miami does not qualify as a true mega-city but it shares many characteristics of its larger brethren, especially a remarkable human heterogeneity. Like most contemporary big cities, Miami contains a jumbled mix of contrasting populations whose daily lives and outlooks are quite different. Because of this social fragmentation it is often described as a city "on the edge" - behaviourally as well as locationally (Portes and Stepick, 1993). Some analysts believe that social cleavages and contending social visions weaken the urban fabric by promoting deprivation and marginalization (Davis, 1995; Ezcurra and Mazari-Hiriart, 1996; Linden, 1996). Others argue that diverse populations and outlooks provide the energy that fuels continued growth and makes institutional reform possible (Cohen et al., 1996; Sassen, 1993). For students of environmental hazards and disasters these interpretations are not just the opposite sides of an academic debate; the effectiveness of mega-city programmes for disaster recovery, reconstruction, and reduction hangs in the balance.

This chapter examines the capabilities of subpopulations and institutions for coping with hazards and disasters in south Florida's Dade and Broward counties (fig. 12.1). The underlying thesis is that vulnerability to hazards is socially constructed. Societal processes make certain places and certain people more vulnerable to hazards than others; such inequities are crucial contributors to the increasing vulnerability of mega-cities. But vulnerability is not fixed, especially in big cities. The social structures of mega-cities are always developing inequities, undergoing progressive reform, fracturing, and then achieving new cohesion. Here the dynamics of social heterogeneity are examined through the experience of interest group coalitions that emerged in the wake of hurricane Andrew (1992). Attention is directed to how these coalitions were differentially affected by the hurricane as well as to their roles in the response and recovery process and the consequent effect on Miami's overall vulnerability. The presentation is organized in five sections. First, I elaborate the concept of mega-city vulnerability. I then discuss interest group coalitions and their effects on urban change, and provide information about the development of coalitions in metropolitan Miami. After detailing the local history of environmental hazards, I finally examine coalition interactions in the aftermath of hurricane Andrew, as well as resulting changes in vulnerability.


Fig. 12.1. The state of Florida

Megacities: Big places, big problems

Broadly speaking, there are two interconnected sets of explanations for the growth of mega-cities. The first sees them as products of processes that are internal to specific countries - processes that drive the concentration of people, wealth, and power. The second attributes their growth to the operation of global capitalism, which has created a supervening world system that requires certain functions to be performed in very large cities (Knox and Taylor, 1995; Sassen, 1994; Urban Geography, January - February 1996).

Although big cities and smaller ones both suffer from similar types of social and environmental problems (e.g. crime, pollution, inequity, infrastructural decay), the scale of mega-city problems is distinctive. For a start, sheer size begets complexity and other so-called diseconomies of scale. Western liberal scholars and planners often describe these cities as too large to manage in a coherent fashion (Cohen et al., 1996; Haughton and Hunter, 1994; World Resources Institute, 1996). Huge mega-city populations and rapid rates of growth pose potentially overwhelming problems for managers who are responsible for regional resource bases and for the physical environment. Secondly, mega-cities experience a heightened degree of social, economic, and political fracturing. Particularly important are divisions of income (rich and poor), race and ethnicity (often exacerbated by recent immigration), and political affiliation (multiple jurisdictions) (Clark and McNicholas, 1995; Mitchell, 1995).

Mega-cities are also more vulnerable to environmental hazards than are smaller cities. It is inherently difficult to develop a hazard-management plan for a mega-city (Mitchell, 1995). Size, dynamism, societal dissonance, and lack of basic knowledge about local hazards are particular barriers. Moreover, the impact of a mega-city disaster may spread to affect adjacent rural areas and even an entire country. In poor nations, the potential for deaths, injuries, and other losses is heightened because so much of the country's population and wealth is usually located in its mega-cities. The psychological and economic impacts of devastation may also extend well beyond the local level, especially for the international banking, financial, and trade institutions that typically cluster in mega-cities. For example, if the central economic institutions of Miami were to be devastated, the implications for business and commerce would be global in scope.

Vulnerability and its opposite - resilience - are central topics of mega- city hazards research (Blaikie et al., 1994; Dow, 1996; Hewitt, 1984; Liverman, 1990a, 1990b; Timmerman, 1981). Although formal definitions of these terms are elusive, vulnerability can be defined as the likelihood that an individual or group will be exposed to and adversely affected by a hazard (Cutter, 1993). Resilience can be defined as the ability of an individual or group to respond to - and recover from - a hazardous event. It is possible to make a distinction between vulnerable places and vulnerable people; different, yet potentially overlapping, sets of factors contribute to both types of vulnerability. These include biophysical characteristics (e.g. earthquake frequency, climatic variation) and societal characteristics (e.g. social inequity, access to education, poverty).

Several attempts have been made to identify different components of vulnerability. Liverman (1990a) presents one summary list. This includes: environment (e.g. climatic variability, biodiversity, deforestation); technology (e.g. infrastructure, energy use, indigenous knowledge); social relations (e.g. income, gender, race, ethnicity), demographics and health (e.g. population growth rate, age structure, nutrition); land use and ownership (land tenure, property regimes); and economic processes and institutions (e.g. access to markets, price structure, effectiveness of government policies). Kasperson (1994) identifies three broad categories of factors that are important in determining relative vulnerability. These are: ecosystem sensitivity (e.g. local and regional ecological shifts associated with environmental change); economic sensitivity (e.g. cascading of environmental change impacts through an economic system and its ability to respond); and social structure sensitivity (e.g. response capabilities of particular social groups to environmental change). Blaikie et al. (1994) articulate a three-step progression of societal conditions and processes that explain vulnerability: (1) root causes (e.g. access to power, dominant social ideology) affect (2) dynamic contextual pressures (e.g. lack of local investments, rapid population growth), which have outcomes in the form of (3) unsafe conditions (e.g. failing local infrastructure, low income levels).

It is widely believed that vulnerability changes gradually in step with modifications of societal structures. But other scholars have begun to focus on specific moments when vulnerability changes dramatically (Dow, 1996) and on broader enabling changes in Nature - society relations. Merchant (1989), for example, presents a history of ecological revolution in New England that involves three shifts of so-called "production paradigms" over a period of 400 years. This approach provides a broad context for understanding other changes in hazard perceptions and hazard-management practices that can be traced to single events (Cooke, 1984; Solecki and Michaels, 1994). The latter studies argue that aftermaths of disasters often facilitate the adoption of new hazards policies and plans by individuals and/or coalitions with vested interests. Such initiatives can, in turn, change the vulnerability of society to future events.

Interest group coalitions in mega-cites

Interest group coalitions are "temporary alliances [of interest groups] for limited purposes... which are constructed to pool limited resources and coordinate strategies" (Knoke, 1990, p. 209). They attracted the interest of resource geographers and other social scientists during the 1970s and 1980s (Clarke, 1990; Cox and Mair, 1988; Jonas, 1992, 1993; Logan and Molotch, 1987; Mollenkopf, 1983; Molotch, 1976). A central research issue has been the role of coalitions in developing and maintaining social inequities. Much early work focused on the politics of urban growth coalitions, which were made up of members of local élites who were attempting to perpetuate their own privileged economic and political positions. Most of this research adopted a political economy perspective, focusing first on class conflicts and then on ethnic and racial conflicts. More recently, natural resource conflicts have become a focus of study (Blaikie and Brookfield, 1987; Roberts and Emel, 1993).

Several common themes have emerged from the literature. A primary finding is that most coalitions focus on control, power, and capital accumulation - whether driven by individual or collective ambitions. Secondly, coalitions are quite flexible and can form or dissolve quickly as requirements change, especially in advanced capitalist Western countries. Thirdly, a coalition intersects with other coalitions at varying spatial scales (i.e. local, regional, state, national, and international). In summary, both nested relationships and alliances among coalition partners are common, and fluid connections are the rule. Conversely, such fluidity also permits frequent conflicts about interests or ideology among former coalition partners. Coalitions are particularly important in cities of the postmodern era because such communities are fractured by processes of change and spatial mobility, especially along lines of class, income, and ethnicity (Mollenkopf and Castells, 1991; Soja, 1995). People who live in these cities depend on coalitions to make local politics work. Three types of coalition are common: ethnic- and/or racial-based coalitions; place-based coalitions; and production-based coalitions. Ethnic- or race-based coalitions are organized around different groups (e.g. African-Americans, Italian-Americans, or Korean-Americans; business, political, or social groups). Place-based coalitions are defined by bounded spaces (real or subjective) such as neighbourhoods, municipalities, regions, or types of landscape (e.g. downtown business associations, municipal chambers of commerce). Production-based coalitions form around particular methods or modes of production, such as primary, secondary, or tertiary industries (e.g. home-builder leagues, farm cooperatives), or around other defining factors, such as site-based versus situation-based industries (e.g. tourism vs. trade) or fixed capital industries versus mobile capital industries (e.g. pulp and paper industry versus telecommunications).

All these types of coalition are present in metropolitan Miami. Different ethnic and racial groups coalesce and spin apart as their needs change. Although African-American, Cuban, and White populations represent the best-known groups, the city also has many other well-defined ethnic and racial entities (e.g. Haitians, Jamaicans, Jews). In addition there are marked land-use and occupancy interest groups (e.g. urban, suburban, exurban, and agricultural), with differing and often competing interests or agendas. These may come together or split apart around different questions at different times. The city also contains some coalitions that reflect different political aspirations of industries that are closely tied to a location (e.g. tourism) and others that are more mobile (e.g. banking, finance, insurance). Together, the coalitions and their activities both take their form from, and contribute to, the complex and dynamic character of social relations in Miami.

Development of metropolitan Miami

Birth of a city

Until the end of the nineteenth century much of south-east Florida remained a settlement frontier.1 With the opening of a coastal railway to Miami in 1896, the area became accessible to tourists and potential residents. In 1900, apart from distant Key West, which had a population of 18,000, only 5,000 people inhabited the seven counties south of Lake Okeechobee. The largest node was Miami (300), founded in 1896 (Chapman, 1991). Fewer than 10 named settlements were present in what would eventually become metropolitan Miami. All were located close to the coast, no more than a mile from estuaries and beaches. Little land was in agricultural production and yields were correspondingly low (Snyder and Davidson, 1994).

1 This section summarizes information from the following sources: Blake (1980); Boswell (1991); Derr (1989); Gannon (1996); Smiley (1974); Tebeau (1971).

By 1930, the population of Dade and Broward counties had grown to approximately 163,000, as retirees, tourists, and other settlers flooded in. Growth rates in the region during this time were some of the highest recorded by the US Census, exceeding 100 per cent per decade from 1900 to 1930 (see table 12.1). The population influx to coastal areas encouraged the construction of major water- and flood-control systems that made possible additional growth. But the vast majority of new settlers remained tightly clustered within a few miles of the Atlantic coast where they valued the natural amenities. Only near Miami did significant settlement occur further inland. Encouraged by a state law that permitted groups of 25 registered voters or freeholders to establish municipalities, many cities were incorporated during this early period, thereby laying the basis for the fractured political landscape of today (fig. 12.2). In 1990, there were 56 incorporated municipalities in metropolitan Miami, with the largest (the city of Miami) containing approximately 10 per cent of population. Moreover, roughly a third of the population live in unincorporated areas, outside municipal governmental control (table 12.2). By 1930, agriculture was also a firmly established economic activity. In Dade and Broward counties, two large agricultural districts had developed on lands just beyond the urban fringe. Winter vegetables, such as string beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and celery, were dominant crops south of Miami and in a discontinuous zone stretching north between the cities from Miami to Palm Beach County.

Population growth slowed somewhat in the 1930s and 1940s but the resident population reached 580,000 by 1950. By 1950 the general regional pattern of land use had not changed, although urban areas were beginning to expand (fig. 12.3). Much of the increased residential growth occurred as filling-in of unoccupied areas or agricultural land around Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.


Fig. 12.2. Place boundaries in south Florida (Source: Florida Resources and Environmental Analysis Center and the Florida State University Department of Geography)

Post - Second World War expansion

Metropolitan Miami has grown enormously since 1950, propelled by several forces. Chief among these in the 1950s and 1960s were (1) increased national demand for winter vegetables and fruits, and (2) shifts in tourism and residential preferences, particularly among retirees. Strong non-local markets for Florida's winter vegetables and fruits developed throughout the United States as the city's transportation and product distribution system became more integrated into Northern and Midwestern markets. The value of agricultural product sales in south Florida as a percentage of all farm sales in the United States more than doubled during the period from 1949 to 1968 (Winsberg, 1991). In the meantime, south Florida had become the destination of choice among a very large section of the nation's retirees.

Table 12.1 Population of metropolitan Miami, 1900-2000

Year

Broward County

Dade County

Total

% growth per decade

1900

-

500 est.

500 est.

n.a.

1910

-

11,933

11,933

n.a.

1920

5,135

42,753

47,888

301.3

1930

20,094

142,955

163,049

240.5

1940

39,794

267,739

307,533

88.6

1950

83,933

495,084

579,017

88.3

1960

333,946

935,047

1,268,993

119.2

1970

620,100

1,267,792

1,887,892

48.8

1980

1,018,257

1,625,509

2,643,766

40.0

1990

1,255,488

1,937,094

3,192,582

20.8

2000

1,474,228

2,083,029

3,557,257

11.4

Source: US Bureau of the Census.

Another factor that affected growth patterns was a series of massive, hurricane-related floods in the late 1940s. These gave increased impetus to the expansion of regional water projects. As water-management goals shifted from drainage to flood control, the United States (federal) government built many dykes and levees. A prominent example was the Eastern Protective Levee, which was designed to prevent flood waters in the Everglades from flowing east towards developed areas. The levee became a physical and psychological boundary that separated the remaining natural Everglades from developed areas. It in effect moved the location of the normal flood-free area 5 to 10 miles further west and established a boundary beyond which lay large tracts of the former natural hydrological system that were barred to farming and urban development.

By the late 1960s, Greater Miami had taken on the character of a large diverse metropolitan region. It possessed a fully developed infrastructure, including a system of major highways and canals that facilitated continued expansion and intensification. It also acquired some other trappings of big-city life in America, such as a major professional sports team (Miami Dolphins, in 1966), a national political convention (Republican Party, in 1968), and race riots. A new urban political structure began to emerge characterized by lack of an entrenched patrician class, a marginalized African-American community (Mohl, 1995), and rapid upward economic and political mobility for wealthy in-migrants (Portes and Stepick, 1993).

Table 12.2 Population of metropolitan Miami by municipality type, 1940-1989

Year

Miami

Miami Beach

Ft. Lauderdale

Other municipalities

Unincorporated area






Total

Broward County

Dade County

1940

172,172

28,012

17,996

47,064

45,289

3,738

41,551

1950

249,276

46,282

36,328

122,587

124,534

14,796

109,738

1960

291,688

63,145

83,648

134,879

490,433

138,216

352,217

1970

334,859

87,072

139,590

664,615

661,757

124,464

537,293

1980

346,681

96,298

153,279

1,080,744

966,764

167,711

799,053

1989

371,444

98,047

150,631

1,349,502

1,145,902

157,682

988,220


Fig. 12.3. Land use/cover in south Florida, 1953 (Source: Department of Geography, Florida State University)

Agricultural expansion and increased demand for warm weather retirement living have remained important components of regional growth during the past two or three decades but they have now been joined and overtaken by other stimuli. Metropolitan Miami has increasingly become a destination for international migrants, and a centre for international banking, finance, and trade, especially within the Caribbean and Central America. The Cuban Revolution provided an initial catalyst that set off mass migration of mainly middle- and upper-income Cubans to Miami. When Cuba's new communist leader, Fidel Castro, came to power in 1959, Hispanics accounted for 5.3 per cent (50,000) of Dade County's population; in 1990, they comprised 47.5 per cent (916,000). The Cuban impact on metropolitan Miami, particularly Dade County, has been profound. Building on their former class status, many Cubans quickly became prominent members of the local economic and political system.

By the late 1970s, metropolitan Miami was composed of several different population subgroups: a large Cuban community, northern US transplants (including a substantial Jewish population), southern US African-Americans and Whites (Boswell, 1991; Mohl, 1982a, 1982b; Moore, 1994; Portes and Stepick, 1993). During the 1980s and 1990s, the ethnic and racial make-up changed again as new streams of migrants arrived. These came mostly from the Caribbean basin and Latin America. By the early 1990s, sizeable numbers of people from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Puerto Rico had taken up residence. The degree of spatial clustering varied among and within these groups. Generally, higher-income families moved to class-defined neighbourhoods rather than ethnically defined ones. Whereas some groups - such as the Haitians and Nicaraguans - subsequently remained tightly clustered in well-established enclaves, other migrant groups - such as the Colombians - dispersed more widely throughout the region. Regardless of residential location, members of different nationalities today usually maintain strong intra-ethnic social and political ties, which have served as bases for the numerous ethnically organized coalitions that are present in the region.

Continued rapid population growth during the past several decades has put additional pressures on the local environment and on social systems. By 1990, the population of Dade and Broward counties had almost reached 3.2 million. Most people lived in land-intensive, low-rise, single-family dwellings. In-migrants, both retired and working, increasingly sought out lower-rent, inland locations. Tourists still clustered near the coasts, and non-residential developments with detached homes and landscaped lots near amenities such as golf courses began to increase dramatically. By 1973, an almost continuous strip of urban development stretched along the Atlantic coast. As Atlantic coast rural land was converted to urban use, other parcels in inland locations were converted to agricultural uses. Agriculture was increasingly confined to isolated pockets situated between the urban fringe and publicly owned conservation lands to the west (including the Everglades) (fig. 12.4).


Fig. 12.4. Land use/cover in south Florida, 1988

Table 12.3 Farming in 1992

County

No. of farms

Land in farms (acres)

Change in land, 1987-1992

Land in cropland (acres)

Irrigated land (acres)

Size per farm (acres)

Market value per farm (US$)

Total market value of agricultural product (US$)

Broward

393

23,735

-12,174

(D)

3,388

60

315,376

34,742,000

Dade

1,891

83,681

+620

68,795

52,363

44

389,694

356,967,000

Total

2,284

107,416

-11,554

n.a.

55,751

n.a.

n.a.

391,709,000

Source: Census of Agriculture: State and County Data, Florida, US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

D = not disclosed because of confidentiality restrictions

Table 12.4 Land use in 1993: Assessed value (US$ million)

County

Residential

Commercial

Industrial

Agricultural

Institutional

Miscellaneous

Broward

40,658.00

8,338.00

2,722.00

114.47

1,129.92

3,563.18

Dade

47,886.72

13,096.60

4,444.63

520.96

1,923.59

8,187.95

Total

88,544.72

21,434.60

7,166.63

635.43

3,053.51

11,751.13

Source: Department of Revenue, State of Florida, unpublished data; printed in Florida Statistical Abstract 1995, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, College of Business Administration, University of Florida, Tallahassee, FL: University Press of Florida.

Changes of land use and land cover are evidence of increased competition for space between agricultural and urban interest groups in metropolitan Miami (Walker et al., 1997). As the urban land cover area has increased, agricultural interests have moved operations to newly opened areas, particularly interior locations. Other tensions between the agricultural and urban interests also have emerged. Points of contention include: water pollution from agricultural chemical runoff; pesticide spraying; and allocation of water resources. These problems, along with rising costs and increased foreign competition, have placed metropolitan Miami farmers under tremendous pressure. Continued land conversion and increased land speculation have raised concerns about the long-term viability of farming in the region (Dunlop, 1995; Winsberg, 1991). Only a relatively small amount of land in Dade County still remains in cultivation, mostly in the south (table 12.3). Broward County too is rapidly losing its remaining agricultural land and the value of agriculture (both land and products) is an increasingly small contributor to the regional economy (tables 12.3 and 12.4).

Expansion of the economic base

By 1970, the economy of the city had three mains components: agriculture, tourism, and federal government transfer payments to retirees and others. This is one of the few areas of the United States where crops can be grown in winter. Retirees were attracted on the one hand by warm winters, beaches, and a slow, pleasant pace of life and on the other by low tax rates and a concentration of services for senior citizens, particularly health care.

Since 1970 the economy of the region has been transformed to capitalize on its situational characteristics. Most important is Miami's relative location vis-a-vis markets in Latin America and North America. Market advantages operated for both conventional and unconventional economic products. For example, a narcotics boom occurred in the mid-1970s and Miami became a drug capital for much of the world. It was estimated that more than 70 per cent of the US supply of heroin, cocaine, and other illegal substances flowed through the region. This traffic brought drug-related crimes and wealth to Miami. An influx of "hot" dollars quickly made Miami a major financial centre by the early 1980s, with banks and multinational corporations being lured there by the huge cash flows. Cash came directly from Latin America and from large retail sales of drugs in cities such as Chicago and New York. Throughout the 1980s, the Federal Reserve Bank of Miami reported surpluses of US$ 4 - 6 billion per year. Money laundering and cash surpluses were conservatively estimated to have added between US$ 1 billion and US$2 billion dollars to the Miami economy every year (Cartano, 1991).

Another major source of capital came from exporters, retailers, and realtors who catered to the more than 2 million Latin Americans who visited Miami each year from 1976 to 1983. Fearful of volatility in their home countries, élites used Miami as a safe haven for their money as well as an entertainment and shopping centre. After the collapse of many Latin American economies in the early 1980s, the rate of growth slowed significantly. None the less, by 1990 Miami had become a major international centre of trade. Air traffic (both passengers and cargo) was the most significant factor in this change. Whereas the Miami customs district handled only 2.1 per cent of US trade in 1990 (US$ 19.1 billion), it processed approximately 40 per cent of the trade to Central and South America and the Caribbean (Nijman, 1996). The aspiration to make Miami a world-class trading centre has continued to be expressed and acted upon throughout the 1990s. For example, the most recently elected (24 July 1996) Mayor of Miami, Joe Carollo, has called for construction of a world trade centre to capitalize on the city's desire for prominence in global trade as well as trade with Latin America. He has argued that Miami might take over Hong Kong's role after that city returns to Chinese rule in 1997 (Anon., 1996a).

Fire, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) industries have lately assumed high prominence in Miami, but tourism still plays an important role in the local economy and the employment sector. For example, Broward and Dade counties together maintained 76,641 hotel and motel rooms (Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, 1994). More than 25,000 people were employed by hotels and motels and another 20,000 were employed in amusement and recreation services. Federal money transfers are also still important to the local economy. Metropolitan Miami garnered close to US$ 13 billion in federal government transfers and grants during 1992. The almost 400,000 retirees in Broward and Dade counties together receive more than US$ 262 million of social security payments every month.

Hazards of metropolitan Miami

Water-related hazards abound in Miami because water is ubiquitous here and the boundaries between land and water are blurred (Blake, 1980). For example, most of the metropolitan area receives more than 60 inches of rain per year and the highest spot is just a few feet above sea level. But water is dynamic; according to Craig (1991), before large-scale water use began in the early twentieth century, the hydrostatic head of fresh water coming down to the coast via the western Everglades system was so great that artesian springs existed at numerous offshore locations in the shallows of Key Biscayne. These no longer function but the entire region remains almost totally surrounded by water. To the east lies Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, to the west are the seasonally inundated Everglades, and to the south is Florida Bay and the Florida Straits. The pre-settlement water table was close to the surface and underlying rock formations are honeycombed with karst features. The visually inconspicuous Atlantic coastal ridge is the only above-ground solid geological stratum that connects Miami with the rocks of the US mainland. As Craig's comments about the now-defunct artesian springs make clear, human impacts on Miami's hydrosphere have been extensive. In particular, construction of the dense network of canals and levees has dramatically changed local hydrology, draining some areas and making others subject to increased flooding (Blake, 1980).

The watery character of Miami is reflected in misleading characterizations of the city as a tranquil paradise. Instead it is highly vulnerable to violent meteorological events that are characteristic of its subtropical climate. Most people live on what is actually a long thin peninsula rising just a few feet above the water and jutting out into the path of severe storms, especially hurricanes. A few miles inland the eastern Everglades are distinguished by intense heat, heavy rain, and swarms of mosquitoes. Nineteenth-century explorers described it as a desolate region that should be avoided (Derr, 1989). Although hurricanes are the most significant local environmental hazard, the region is also subject to lightning, floods, tornadoes, waterspouts, drought, and freezes. The history of Miami has been punctuated by extreme events such as the great freeze of 1895, the 1926 hurricane, the drought of the early 1960s, and hurricane Andrew (1992). These and other extreme events are discussed next (table 12.5).

Hurricanes

Dozens of hurricanes have swept through south Florida in the past 125 years. Before 1992, the most significant was that of 1926, which directly struck Miami Beach and Miami. Then national headlines proclaimed, "Miami Beach is wiped out" (Chapman, 1991). That storm killed hundreds, injured thousands, caused more than US$ 100 million worth of damage, left 47,000 homeless, and established a benchmark of loss that was not surpassed for two-thirds of a century (Parks, 1986).

Between 1926 and the arrival of hurricane Andrew, the region's vulnerability to hurricanes changed. Risks of death or injury declined dramatically as warning systems and evacuation procedures improved, but the economic costs of damage continued to rise. At around US$ 30 billion, economic losses attributable to hurricane Andrew confirmed this trend, although the storm was not the worst that could be envisaged. It is believed that the so-called "big one," a large hurricane that directly strikes a heavily populated urban coast, could cause up to US$ 50 billion in losses. Hurricane Andrew gave some clues about the likely effects of such a superstorm. It struck in August 1992, cutting across a relatively narrow swathe of southern Dade County. As a category 4 storm (on the Saffir/Simpson scale) it might well have caused extensive water damage and significant flooding in low-lying coastal areas. In fact, wind caused most of the problems. Andrew destroyed or rendered uninhabitable 80,000 homes, made more than 250,000 people homeless, and destroyed or damaged 82,000 businesses. In Dade County alone, 15 deaths were directly attributed to Andrew, and another 25 perished from indirect causes. More than 700,000 people were evacuated as it approached. Local crops, particularly limes and avocados, suffered heavy damage (Pielke, 1995; Tait, 1993).

In many respects, Andrew was an unusual hurricane. It was compact and relatively fast moving. The area of extreme damage was quite small, extending outward about 10 - 15 miles from the point of landfall (fig. 12.5). Downtown Miami, approximately 25 miles from this location, suffered relatively minor damage, mostly from blown-out windows. The surge was only 5 - 8 feet, in comparison with the 13 - 18 feet typically associated with category 4 storms. Moreover, the storm's rapid forward speed (approximately 20 mph) kept rainfall totals low. Andrew produced about 2 - 7 inches of rain in locations throughout south Florida and caused only minor inland flooding.

Table 12.5 Selected hazards and disasters affecting metropolitan Miami, 1900 to present

Event

Year

Killed

Injured

Damage (US$ million)

Descriptiona

Hurricane

1904

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 1

Hurricane

1906

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1906

129

n.a.

n.a.

Strikes Florida Keys (category 2)

Hurricane

1909

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 3

Hurricane

1916

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1924

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 1

Tornado

1925

5

35

n.a.

Miami's deadliest (F3 intensity) skirts north-east edge of city

Hurricane

1926

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1926

243

n.a.

115.1

Severe damage in Miami area (category 4)

Hurricane

1928

1,836

n.a.

26.2

Focused on Lake Okeechobee region

Hurricane

1929

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 3

Drought

1930-31

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Muck fires

mid-1930s

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Extensive fires throughout Everglades resulting from drought and water table lowering

Hurricane

1935

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1935

408

n.a.

11.5-40.0

"Labor Day" hurricane - record low barometric reading. Keys hit hard (category 5)

Hurricane

1941

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1945

4

n.a.

54.1

Damage in Dade County (category 3)

Hurricane

1947

17

n.a.

51.9

Damage in Broward County/Ft. Lauderdale (category 4)

Hurricane

1947

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 1

Hurricane

1948

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 2

Hurricane

1949

2

n.a.

45.0

Gold Coast hurricane. West Palm Beach (category 3)

Hurricane King

1950

3

n.a.

31.6

Damage in Miami (category 3)

Freeze

1957-58

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Freezing temperatures throughout south Florida

Hurricane Donna

1960

11

n.a.

305.0

Hits extreme southern Florida and the Keys (category 4)

Drought

1961-63

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Hurricane Cleo

1964

0

n.a.

n.a.

Along east coast (category 2)

Hurricane Betsy

1965

8

n.a.

139.3

Extensive flood damage in Miami and Keys (category 3)

Hurricane Inez

1966

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 1

Tornadoes

1968

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

5 funnels strike Miami

Race riots

1968

3

n.a.

n.a.

Liberty City (Miami)

Drought

1970-71

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

South Florida experiences worst water deficiency in 200 years

Freeze

1977

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Snow in Miami; agricultural disaster

Hurricane David

1979

<5

n.a.

5.0 approx.

Along east coast - category 2 when hit Florida

Race riots

1980

19

hundreds

n.a.

Liberty City (Miami)

Drought

1981

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Race riots

1982

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Overtown (Miami)

Flooding

1983

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

High rain in south Florida

Freeze

1984

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Extensive throughout south Florida

Drought

1985

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Brush fires

1985

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Die-off - sea grass

1987

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Extensive die-off of sea grass first noticed in Florida Bay

Hurricane Floyd

1987

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Category 1

Drought

1988-91

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Freeze

1989

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.


Race riots

1989

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Miami

Biological

1989

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Biologists claim 200 exotic plant species have invaded region

Muck fires

1989

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Smoke produces unhealthy conditions in Miami

Hurricane Andrew

1992

17

n.a.

20,000-30,000

Southern Dade County, 250,000 homeless (category 4)

Sources: Doig (1996); Fernald and Patton (1984); Henry et al. (1994); Nash (1976); Winsberg (1990),

a. Saffir/Simpson Damage Potential Category.


Fig. 12.5. Path of hurricane Andrew at landfall (Source: Pielke, 1995)

As mentioned above, it was the wind that caused most damage in south Dade County. At the time of landfall, sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts of approximately 200 mph were recorded. The hardest-hit cities were Homestead and Florida City, both farming and working-class retirement communities about 25 miles south-west of Miami. Virtually every building in Homestead was damaged or destroyed. Many unincorporated communities in the sprawling suburban and exurban area between Miami and Homestead also were hard hit. Middle- and upper-income areas of Kendall and Cutler Ridge were some of the most affected. Hurricane Andrew severely disrupted the southern portion of Dade County. There, as elsewhere, it shattered the daily lives of residents (Smith and Belgrave, 1995). Like its predecessor in 1926, Andrew profoundly jarred Miamians into the realization that their city could be devastated by a hurricane. Electric power and water were unavailable for days, and in some cases weeks. Damaged homes were laid bare to the late August heat and humidity of south Florida. Looting of seemingly abandoned properties became a problem in some areas. Initial emergency responses at all governmental levels appeared slow and chaotic. Not until almost a week after the hurricane struck did a coordinated governmental response take shape.

A sense of disorientation was perhaps the most distressing impact for local residents (Smith and Belgrave, 1995). Street signs, vegetation, and other landmarks were destroyed or were buried under piles of debris. Many people became lost in what was often a landscape of total devastation (Kleinberg, 1992). The level of psychological stress faced by those who experienced the storm and its damage was found to be extensive (see special issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and numerous articles in recent issues of Psychosomatic Medicine). Response and recovery were made worse by the spectre of criminal activity.

Soon after Andrew died away, it became evident that levels of damage were only approximately related to hurricane wind speeds. Some areas suffered heavier damage than others that had higher winds. Micro-bursts and other highly localized wind features probably explain some of these differences. Shoddy construction and failure to enforce building codes explained the rest of the damage pattern (fig. 12.6) (Leen et al., 1993; Pielke, 1995). The latter problems were widespread throughout the region, and the case of mobile homes deserves special mention. When built according to approved codes, mobile homes remain vulnerable to high winds; when not built to codes, the potential for disaster is great. Hurricane Andrew destroyed 97 per cent of the mobile homes in Dade County (Silverstein, 1995). Some houses were blown apart by winds and sudden pressure changes, while others were swept off their moorings and sent crashing into solid objects.


Fig. 12.6. Areas of highest wind speeds and residential damage resulting from hurricane Andrew (Source: Pielke, 1995, adapted from Miami Herald)

Price gouging and confidence tricksters were also prevalent following hurricane Andrew. During the first several weeks, basic household and building supplies were in very short supply. The area became infested with charlatan building contractors who either never performed repairs they were paid for or did inadequate work.

Other hazards

Acute events

Rain-driven floods are associated with storms and hurricanes, but rainfall totals in Miami vary widely among events and many storms pass without serious repercussions. Flooding can also occur after prolonged wet periods and remain a problem for weeks or months thereafter. Average annual precipitation in this region ranges from 46.8 inches (119 cm) to 61.8 inches (157 cm) (US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1987). In specific years it has been as low as 33.8 inches (86 cm) or as high as 88.1 inches (224 cm) (Sculley, 1986).

Other meteorological events that occur in the region have a much lower potential for damage. Tornadoes occur but do not pose a very high risk, and only two major tornado episodes have been recorded in Miami. Lightning also is a common hazard, given the frequency of thunderstorms; but damage and health threats do not approach those of hurricanes. Freezes also cause problems, particularly for local citrus, vegetable, and nursery growers. In central Florida, hard freezes occur every 10 - 20 years, but are much less frequent in Greater Miami. Freezes in central Florida have spillover effects on south Florida because displaced growers seek out new locations there that are less susceptible to frost. Throughout the twentieth century, citrus growers have been relocating ever southward in order to escape the potential for freezes (Winsberg, 1991). This movement helps fuel conflicts between farming interests and land developers in metropolitan Miami.

Chronic events

Metropolitan Miami is subject to a range of chronic hazards as well as acute ones. The most significant is drought, and droughts of varying severity occur in the region approximately every five to six years. Lack of rainfall is often not the main cause. Human alteration of the Everglades ecosystem and large increases in freshwater demands by agricultural users and urban residents have made the issue of water supply a major public policy matter. Since federal actions and regulations require that minimum water flow into the Everglades National Park be maintained at all times, conflicts among users are exacerbated. Tensions among the three main user groups (i.e. the Park, farmers, and home-owners) increase when there is either too little water (drought) or too much water (wet period) in the local hydrological system. Increasing population and the expansion of settled areas continue to make the potential for conflict more likely.

Changes in the natural hydrological system and the water-supply system have fostered additional hazards, particularly muck or grass fires and salt-water intrusions. Land drainage and water removal have lowered the water table throughout the south-east Florida - Everglades region, allowing the damp ground to dry out and increasing vulnerability to wildfires. Such fires were particularly disastrous during the 1930s in newly drained lands south of Lake Okeechobee (Bottcher and Izuno, 1994; Snyder and Davidson, 1994). Some of those fires burned for months. Property damage was minimal but many inches of fertile topsoil were burned, thereby threatening the long-term viability of agriculture in the area. Muck fires also have occurred closer to Miami, and stories of smoke over the city have been frequent in local newspapers. Increased withdrawals of groundwater have encouraged salt-water intrusions, especially in well fields close to the coast.

Levels of technological hazards such as air pollution are relatively low in Greater Miami. Little heavy industry is present in the region, and that which exists is isolated from populated areas. Water pollution is beginning to increase. Pollution of the Everglades system by mercury, nitrates, and phosphates mostly results from agricultural activities in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Miami, too, has been the site of serious biological hazards. Before the advent of pesticides and drainage programmes, the south Florida region was regularly affected by outbreaks of malaria and other water-related diseases. Miami currently also has one of the highest rates of HIV infection (AIDS) in the United States.

Vulnerability to hazards before hurricane Andrew

Before Andrew struck, people and property in Greater Miami were already vulnerable to environmental hazards for a number of reasons. First, disaster-response institutions and personnel had been largely untested by a major event for a long time. Secondly, since the previous disaster the area's population had grown enormously and urbanization had intensified. Thirdly, the local economy was in a fragile state, with government spending being cut back in the wake of a neo-conservative political revolution and agriculture already hard pressed by competing demands for land and water. Finally, local society was both highly fractured and contentious, as well as filled with subpopulations whose experiences of major local disasters and whose response capabilities were both limited (e.g. the aged, non-English-speaking immigrants).

To casual observers, however, Miami residents seemed ready and able to ensure their own safety during a major disaster. Evacuation routes and shelters had been identified and marked; the public was informed about other appropriate precautions, including emergency supplies and protective measures. But, as events proved, most Miamians were not ready for the psychological, social, and economic devastation and disruption that are the mark of a major disaster. Instead they were preoccupied with what they perceived as more pressing problems.

During the early 1990s many residents, political leaders, and social commentators felt that metropolitan Miami was moving swiftly towards a state of crisis. The city of Miami and its surrounding area were described as a troubled paradise in which signs of societal stress were omnipresent. An already loose social fabric was beginning to be torn by internal tensions and problems. Chief among these were income and racial divisions. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Whites had glaringly different average incomes and contrasting rates of poverty and unemployment. African-Americans and Whites occupied opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum, with Hispanics in the middle. Moreover, the African-American community's position was deteriorating relative to that of Hispanics, who were rapidly emerging as a major political force. Miami residents elected the first Cuban-American mayor in 1985. Frustration and desperation in the African-American community had helped fuel race riots in 1980, 1982, and 1989.

Rising crime was another obvious problem. It had several contributory factors: the legacy of cocaine drug wars in the late 1970s and early 1980s; a North American economic recession in the early 1980s (coupled with serious problems in the economies of many Latin American countries); the 1980 Marielito boatlift, which brought several thousand Cuban criminals to Miami; a widening income gap among different ethnic groups; and a broad range of other contemporary urban ills (Dunham and Werner, 1991). Well-publicized criminal attacks on tourists provided graphic evidence of Miami's social problems and severely stung the local tourist industry by driving away visitors.

The declining appeal of Miami for tourists was accentuated by increasing recognition that nearby beaches and waters were becoming polluted. This was just one of several troubling signs of environmental deterioration. Events such as the precipitous decline of sea-grass beds in Florida Bay were seen as signals of an ominous future. The Everglades were drying and dying, urban sprawl was swallowing up farmland and open space, and groundwater supplies were being overused and contaminated. Proposed solutions were controversial and caused sharp conflicts among the various interest groups. Ensuing debates further fractured regional politics along lines such as: old-timers versus newcomers; some ethnic and racial groups versus others; growth interests versus environmental conservation interests; agricultural versus urban interests; coastal versus non-coastal interests; and Native Americans versus all others.

Extra-regional issues also continued to play a major role in Miami. The future of Cuba's communist regime hung over city politics not least because the large local Cuban community were strong vocal opponents. Political change in Cuba, through either violent or peaceful means, was ardently sought, and local residents were well aware that this might have major implications for the future of Greater Miami. As events of the early 1990s seemed to bring the prospect of a new Cuban government closer, Florida's Governor, Bob Martinez, initiated a study commission (1990) to determine the potential impacts on south Florida. The weakness of Latin American economies added to Miami's problems. Although most countries had recovered from the depths of the early 1980s' recession, their economies continued to languish, which, in turn, acted as a drag on the economy of metropolitan Miami. Growth continued but at a sluggish pace.

In summary, Miami was tense and troubled in the summer of 1992. The perceived snubbing of Nelson Mandela by the city's Hispanic leaders because of his favourable stance towards the Cuban government had sharpened tensions between the African-American community and the Hispanic community. The manslaughter trial of a Colombian-American police officer charged with shooting an African-American man seemed to exacerbate the divisons. The White community also felt increasingly threatened by growth of the immigrant community in general and of the Cuban community in particular. Moreover, the regional economy was stagnant and the city of Miami was reeling from the loss of four of its largest and most prestigious employers, including Eastern Airlines and Pan American Airlines. Finally, south Florida had just experienced one of its worst droughts.

Thus was the scene on the eve of hurricane Andrew. Greater Miami had experienced fast-paced social change for several decades and was riven with serious problems. In a postscript to their seminal book about Miami, City on the Edge, Portes and Stepick (1993) assert that Andrew may have thrown the rate of change into "high gear." Now, four years after the event, that early evaluation can be critically assessed.

Coalition responses to hurricane Andrew

After hurricane Andrew moved away, its impacts became grist for the pre-existing interest group coalitions in Greater Miami, which sought to respond to the new realities that it had unleashed. This section looks at responses made by the three basic types of coalition.

Ethnic- and race-based coalitions

Demographic changes that were already under way sharply accelerated in the wake of hurricane Andrew. A spatial realignment of ethnic and racial groups in metropolitan Miami had been taking place before the storm arrived. Throughout the 1980s, Dade County became more Hispanic. Whites, and to a lesser extent African-Americans, had increasingly moved out of the more urbanized parts of Dade County. Many Whites resettled in Broward County to the north, while others relocated to predominantly White, unincorporated, middle- and upper-class enclaves in southern and western Dade County, particularly Kendall, Kendall Lakes, and Cutler Ridge (fig. 12.7). As a result, southern Dade County was a patchwork of different social groups in 1992. Large neighbourhoods of low-, middle-, and upper-income residents were present along with small pockets of intense poverty and wealth (fig. 12.8). A majority of the population was White, but sizeable numbers of African-American and Hispanic residents also lived in the area affected by Andrew (figs. 12.9 and 12.10). However, the largest African-American and Hispanic communities lay further north. Mobile home residents were clustered at the southern end of Dade County, in and around the cities of Homestead and Florida City (fig. 12.11). These were primarily occupied either by migrant farm labourers and their dependants or by less affluent retirees. Like much of the rest of metropolitan Miami, social and community bonds in south Dade were not strong. Most residents were newcomers who thought of other places as home, whether in Havana, Cuba, Long Island, New York, or Sonora, Mexico. Differences of income, ethnicity, race, and birthplace dampened interactions among the various subpopulations.

During a few hours, Andrew changed forever this suburban and exurban landscape and the social relations of its residents. In the initial chaotic aftermath, all residents and groups felt they were victims and that they shared a common plight (Kleinberg, 1992). Faulty construction and building code violations occurred in both wealthy and poor neighbourhoods. Older and smaller homes, owned by poorer residents, sometimes withstood the winds better than newer, more expensive ones (Pielke, 1995). Initially, as is often the case in disasters, disparate strands of the community came together. Commenting on the change, one victim stated that, "after the hurricane, there was this message - unity. Before there was a lot of segregation: among friends, ethnic groups. Immediately afterward, no one seemed to care - black, white, Spanish, Latin, or what." But the so-called "therapeutic community" did not last long. One week after the storm, people who were left homeless streamed out of south Dade County, sometimes seeking refuge beyond the county entirely. This movement was fuelled by recognition that it would - at best - take many years to restore everyday life. However unwillingly, hurricane Andrew had provided many residents with an opportunity to move.


Fig. 12.7. White population in metropolitan Miami, 1990 (% by Census tract) (Source: author and US Census)

Residents of damaged homes and neighbourhoods belonged to three categories. Some had considered moving in the past and immediately took advantage of the devastation to do so. Others resisted moving at first and then eventually acquiesced. Still others fiercely resisted moving and remained at their original locations, occupying damaged homes for extended periods or, more frequently, staying in trailers brought to the sites (Bell, 1994; Lambert et al., 1994; Smith and Belgrave, 1995; Smith and McCarty, 1996). Over the first several months, tens of thousands of people resettled out of the area; estimates typically exceed 40,000. Most did not go far and remained within commuting distance of existing jobs in Dade County. Many others moved to south-west Broward County (Bader, 1993; Smith and McCarty, 1996; Winsberg, 1994).


Fig. 12.8. Persons below poverty level in metropolitan Miami, 1990 (% by Census tract) (Source: author and US Census)


Fig. 12.9. African-American population in metropolitan Miami, 1990 (% by Census tract) (Source: author and US Census)


Fig. 12.10 Hispanic population in metropolitan Miami, 1990 (% by Census tract) (Source: author and US Census)

Early indications suggest that most migrants belonged to middle- and upper-income groups. The loss of their income to Dade County could total as much as US$ 500 million (Winsberg, 1996). Other evidence seems to confirm anecdotes that many of those who moved out of the county were White (Winsberg, 1994). A local sociology professor who observed the migration in September 1992 assessed it as follows:

South Dade (the area hardest hit by hurricane Andrew) has been one of the few remaining areas of the county with an "Anglo" population majority. It has also been one of the few areas in Dade with affordable suburban housing. Other areas have experienced fast suburban growth... But those are predominantly Hispanic... For "Anglos" choosing to leave the hurricane-stricken zones, the areas that will prove attractive, in terms of housing prices and ethnicity, are not in Dade. (Perez, 1992, quoted in Portes and Stepick, 1993, p. 225)


Fig. 12.11. Number of mobile homes in metropolitan Miami, 1990 (by Census tract) (Source: author and US Census)

Increased migration out of Dade County provides an excellent example of how the storm reinforced existing social dynamics. Areas such as south-west Broward County were already growing quickly because of improved highway access, low interest rates, and the amenity appeal of a less urban location. Local residents commonly agreed that the hurricane had helped to push land development "years ahead of schedule." The overall result of storm-assisted migration and demographic reorganization has been increased spatial segregation of racial and ethnic groups and - to a lesser degree - increased economic segregation. Hurricane Andrew seems to have accelerated the Hispanicization of Dade County by enabling the movement of middle- and upper-income Whites to Broward County. Remaining non-Hispanic residents (i.e. African-American and White) are in general poorer than those who are leaving.

The post-storm migration has also begun to erase some of the social differences between Dade County and Broward County. While southern Dade County became more Hispanic and poorer, and therefore more like the rest of Dade County, migration to Broward County has tied the two counties closer together. The new residents of Broward, in general, maintain many more economic and social ties with Dade than do the rest of Broward County residents. This is particularly true of wealthier Cubans, who began to leave Dade County for Broward during this same period (Ramirez, 1994). Their business and social contacts remain firmly tied to Dade County (Sanchez and Viscarra, 1995).

Residents of the metropolitan region were linked together in other ways. Although the initially intense feeling of unity faded after several weeks, a lingering commitment to address and solve common problems has remained. In the early 1990s, many felt that Dade County and Broward County were drifting apart and that Dade County would become predominantly Hispanic and Broward County would remain predominantly White. Although underlying sentiments may not have changed, residents in each county recognize that their futures are inseparably linked (Portes and Stepick, 1993). The situation is summed up by the contrasting comments of Walter Revell, a business executive who is also a member of a Dade County reconstruction committee, and Chris Bezruki, assistant city manager of Homestead.

Is Dade [County] stronger, more united now? Revell thinks not - the size of the population and multitude of competing interests standing as barriers. Bezruki, on the other hand, is seeing a difference in his community. "We have had to believe in ourselves," he says. "And now we're showing some real concrete signs that, yes, it isn't a risk to invest here, that we will continue to build a stronger community." (Walsh, 1993).

Placed-based coalitions

The destruction of everyday life brought by hurricane Andrew fostered the development of various place-based coalitions. These appeared at three spatial scales: neighbourhoods or localities (e.g. Kendall, Homestead); subregion (e.g. south-west Broward County, Redland district of south Dade County); and region (e.g. urban zone, agricultural zone).

Differences at the local scale were perhaps most profound. Two years after the storm, some communities were better positioned for growth than before the hurricane, whereas others were worse off. For example, the city of Homestead came to regard hurricane Andrew as providing an opportunity for improvement through modernization and recapitalization (Walsh, 1993). Extensive damage in Homestead wiped out about 43 per cent of the city's tax base (Bell, 1994). By 1994, the population was still only three-quarters that of pre-Andrew days. Yet "St. Andrew" as it was referred to by many residents also brought more than US$ 200 million in state and federal grants, contributions, and insurance money to the city. Residents who stayed behind to watch Homestead rebuilt saw this re-investment turn a farm town into a new bedroom community (Bell, 1994; Lambert et al., 1994). City leaders and residents also viewed the recovery period as an opportune time to change Homestead's character by initiating a private home-ownership programme that eventually converted the community from predominantly renter-occupied (60 per cent) to predominantly owner-occupied (60 per cent) (Walsh, 1993).

Other communities did not bounce back so successfully. Some of southern Dade County's poorer neighbourhoods declined even further after the hurricane (Lambert et al., 1994). Many communities suffered a delayed economic impact when moderate- and higher-income residents took their insurance reimbursements and moved out of town. A higher percentage of the remaining residents were likely to be uninsured or underinsured (Coletti, 1992b), which meant that disproportionately less money flowed back to the poorer victims, and host communities had less to spend on recovery. Hurricane Andrew also heightened the conflict between agricultural interests and development interests in southern Dade County, particularly in the area of Redland (Dunlop, 1995). Redland faced development pressures long before Andrew; but the disaster brought matters to a head by presenting farmers who had lost hundreds of acres of lime, mango, and avocado groves with three choices: "Wait six years for new trees to produce fruit; develop a diversity of crops; or sell out to the fastest and last cash crop - subdivision housing. The first two take time and diligence; the third requires only the fancy footwork of getting a zoning change" (Dunlop, 1995, p. 47). The hurricane also opened a window of opportunity for local coalitions and groups interested in preserving the rural farming landscape. Citing increased land-development pressure in the aftermath of Andrew, these groups have tried to further their own agenda of controlling urban sprawl and initiating a long-term plan for the protection of Redland farmland (Dunlop, 1995).

Why did some communities make successful recoveries while others did not? There are several possible answers. The skills of local policy entrepreneurs are one likely reason. Sometimes such skills and other resources were imported from outside the affected communities. Local and national volunteer groups worked closely with community officials and residents. For example, the blue-ribbon local committee, "We Will Rebuild," was put together at the prompting of President Bush, who visited the site of the disaster twice in the first several months. One of the objectives of this group was to promote themes of unity and community solidarity. More research needs to be done in order to determine if other groups were ethnically based (e.g. Cuban), income based (e.g. focused on helping poorer individuals or communities), or needs based (e.g. help those in the greatest need first).

Production-based coalitions

Hurricane Andrew had a profound effect on economic activity in metropolitan Miami and on coalitions associated with specific economic sectors. As predicted by many economists (Coletti, 1992b), reconstruction brought an immediate economic upswing to the previously sagging regional economy. Damage was so great that relief and insurance payments injected large amounts of new cash (West and Lenze, 1994). About 71 per cent of the US$ 22.65 billion worth of damage resulted from losses to residential structures (including mobile homes) and their contents. Commercial enterprises sustained roughly US$ 2.2 billion worth of damage. Agricultural losses amounted to approximately US$ 0.5 billion dollars. Remaining losses were attributable to impacts on government and utilities as well as the destruction of cars, boats, and airplanes. It was estimated that US$ 15.44 billion of the damage was insured, and that the total amount of estimated reconstruction expenditures would be US$ 17.31 billion (US$ 10.36 billion to the repair and replacement of damaged structures; US$ 2.02 billion to repair non-structural items, e.g. cars and boats; and US$ 4.94 billion to purchase new items).

An upturn in the local economy began to be realized within a few months of the storm. By the end of 1992, the unemployment rate had started to fall from its post-storm peak of 30,000 (Coletti, 1992b), and more than US$ 2.38 billion had already been spent on reconstruction (West and Lenze, 1994). Reconstruction-driven economic recovery was fully under way in 1993 (Hersch, 1993a; West and Lenze, 1994), with estimated expenditures of almost US$ 8.0 billion and the creation of more than 28,000 jobs (table 12.6). By mid-1994, however, the recovery boom started to fade and a more permanent post-Andrew economy began to emerge. Trends toward growth in international trade and finance and stagnation in tourism and farming, which were already present in the early 1990s, reasserted themselves and in some cases accelerated slightly (e.g. loss of farmland in the Redland district).

Table 12.6 Estimated economic impact of hurricane Andrew


1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

Direct jobs impact of reconstruction expenditures ('000 jobs)a

Construction

2.751

16.879

18.590

21.564

0.396

Services

0.362

5.271

4.607

0.193

0.000

Trade

0.828

6.715

4.707

0.531

0.000

Total

3.941

28.865

27.904

22.288

0.396

Modified direct jobs impact ('000 jobs)b

Construction

2.751

16.879

18.590

21.564

0.396

Services

-3.511

1.921

4.607

0.193

0.000

Trade

-2.767

2.670

4.707

0.531

0.000

Government

1.952

-0.352

-1.884

-1.884

-1.884

Total

-1.575

21.118

26.020

20.404

-1.448

Direct income impacts (US$ million)

Non-agricultural wages and salaries

362.9

940.6

236.2

27.9

0.0

Military income

-26.8

-109.2

-112.7

-116.5

-120.3

Farm income

-187.4

-152.2

-102.6

-76.1

-44.0

Transfer payments

268.0

403.3

0.0

0.0

0.0

Dividends/interest/rent

-2,149.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Total

-1,732.4

1,082.5

20.9

-164.7

-164.3

Source: West and Lenze (1994).

a. The "direct" impact of population dispersion into other parts of Florida is not well defined. The simulated jobs impact of this phenomenon was (in thousands of jobs): 0.0 in 1992, 6.0 in 1993, 7.5 in 1995, and 1.3 in 1996.

b. Modifications include jobs impacts of government expenditure on emergency and restoration and per diem expenditures of temporarily transferred personnel, plus estimated direct job losses.

Note: Although results are summarized here in broad industrial categories, detailed sectors of impact were used in their derivation.

Although the overall character of economic activity did not change significantly in metropolitan Miami, hurricane Andrew left some clear marks on its internal operations. The business community's perception of its own vulnerability to natural disasters is a case in point. The single most important component of Andrew's legacy was destruction of capital (e.g. loss of investments and production capacity). The amount of economic damage resulting from Andrew was staggering. Uninsured home-owners, renters, and businesses were devastated and found it difficult to recover their losses. Many had their life savings wiped out. Numerous small businesses, without significant cash reserves, went bankrupt.

Claims made by those that were insured caused a different type of impact. The local and national insurance companies that operated in Miami were overwhelmed. At least 8 firms went bankrupt, another 23 announced their intention to leave the state, and remaining firms are still in the throes of industry-wide restructuring (Hagy, 1993; Longman, 1994; McKinnon, 1995). Indeed, together with California wildfires and earthquakes in Northridge and Kobe, hurricane Andrew revealed serious flaws in the global insurance industry. In Florida, the industry generally underestimated the potential for claims from a major storm. Most industry representatives used hurricane Hugo, which struck the South Carolina coast in 1989, as a benchmark. That storm caused approximately US$ 4.2 billion of insured losses and, before Hugo, no hurricane had resulted in claims over US$ 1 billion. Price competition among companies operating in Florida compounded the problem because policy rates had not kept pace with the value of the insured property, and many companies did not have enough surplus to cover outstanding claims. Not only were the rates low in comparison with property values, the risk of hurricanes was also underestimated. Limited hurricane activity in the preceding 30 - 40 years, and especially in the 1980s, led actuaries to underestimate the risks (Longman, 1994).

The ensuing insurance crisis brought many policyholders - including those who had made no claims - face to face with several unpleasant alternatives: possible cancellation of policies, fewer coverage options, and dramatically increased rates. The Florida legislature passed several laws after Andrew that were designed to lessen the insurance crisis (McCabe, 1995; Westlund, 1995), but - as of August 1996 - it remained unsolved. The state of Florida has also developed a hurricane catastrophe fund to be used to pay off uncovered claims from future disasters and it continues to seek ways of dispersing the risk burden. For example, during the summer of 1996, the Florida Insurance Commissioner brought together peers from other states in an effort to generate momentum for a broad national catastrophic insurance fund (Anon., 1996b). Many policyholders found that it was easier to accept the industry's collapse than the fact that their own capital was so vulnerable both to the vagaries of the weather and to the failure of institutions that were designed to mitigate storm impacts. The hurricane delivered two key lessons to residents, businesses, and municipal officials. First, a category 4 or 5 storm was a real threat and it could cause damage far greater than expected. Secondly, more should be done to protect capital, and insurance was only one of the mechanisms that could be used. It was recognized, for example, that stricter building codes, proper enforcement of existing codes, and new mechanisms to protect emerging local industries were all urgently needed.

Home-owners and developers were some of the first to act. Demands for stronger and better-enforced building codes were numerous (Pielke, 1995). Creation of the International Center for Hurricane Damage Research and Mitigation at Florida International University institutionalized some of the local concerns (Lambert, 1995). Although part of the Center's mission is to encourage better emergency-response plans, most of its focus is on proper construction techniques and building codes, and improved ways for dispersing and using disaster relief funds. Agriculture and tourism, the other primary site-based, fixed-capital industries, were not actively involved in hurricane-preparedness and mitigation reforms. Both industries are currently preoccupied with what they perceive as larger and more pressing threats. Agricultural groups have focused on the threat of increased foreign competition, particularly with the advent of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the continued loss of farmland. Tourism interest groups are more worried about negative press reports about local crimes and an enduring economic recession in Latin America.

Situation-based, mobile capital industries were much more responsive to disaster concerns. Many of the finance, insurance, and real estate businesses in metropolitan Miami upgraded disaster-response plans or developed new ones (Coletti, 1992a; Hersch, 1993b; Knab, 1992). Planned or proactive responses, and non-planned or reactive (ad hoc) responses were both engaged in by many corporations in Greater Miami (Rupp, 1995). Some information-based companies increased the protection of electronic networks and digital data. Others developed a new-found appreciation of connections between themselves and the metropolitan region. Many corporations recognized that, even though their businesses might not - like the tourism industry - be fixed in place, they are profoundly dependent on the local community. For example, corporate facilities might have escaped the hurricane, but they were indirectly affected when employees' homes and communities were devastated. Workers would return home each night to a disorienting and stressful home life (Smith and Belgrave, 1995) that subsequently undercut their effectiveness on the job. Employers recognized the importance of restoring employees' home lives as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

Hurricane Andrew had the potential to be a watershed event in metropolitan Miami, but it did not fundamentally change the nature of the city's everyday life. Post-disaster reconstruction helped the metropolitan area get past its immediate economic crisis and accelerated the existing direction of social, economic, and political change. In this way, it might be said that the hurricane helped to set the stage for the resolution of some of Miami's most profound internal conflicts. Before the storm, farms and farming were disappearing from Broward County and from parts of Dade County - now, they are fading more quickly. Already the Hispanic community, particularly the Cubans, were rapidly becoming a dominant political power in Dade County - now, this transition will probably happen more quickly.

As well as speeding these social and economic transitions, the hurricane brought the residents of the metropolitan area closer together. Local people had lived through a terrible ordeal that revealed that they were dependent on others in the city not only for recovery from the hurricane but also for future economic growth. This burgeoning collective consciousness, although still relatively weak, may encourage better and more coordinated hazard responses and mitigation planning, thereby lowering the vulnerability of the city, as a whole, to future disasters.

But certain subpopulations and locations might now be even more vulnerable to disasters. The poorest neighbourhoods of south Dade did not fully recover from hurricane Andrew, and today appear more vulnerable to hurricanes than before. More research needs to be done on why communities such as Homestead were able to respond positively to the hurricane experience, whereas others were pushed to the edge of decline.

Did hurricane Andrew signal a transition in the vulnerability of metropolitan Miami to hurricanes? In many ways, it is still too early to tell because recovery is still going on (Provenzo and Fradd, 1995). It certainly demonstrated that capital investments are vulnerable to disasters. Both the material damage and the resulting insurance crisis underscore this conclusion. While not recommending any reduction in efforts to safeguard human safety, it seems clear that more attention needs to be directed to the reduction of property losses. Researchers should devote increased efforts to understanding the vulnerability of capital to disasters, to systems for protecting capital, and to measures that would enable individuals and groups to recover from their losses. The need is especially pressing in mega-cities, where a major disaster could easily cause more than US$ 50 billion of damage. This scale of loss could devastate the economies of most countries, and would significantly affect the economy of wealthier countries such as Japan and the United States.

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