Higher Ground

Building the cities we need for climate change

What is Higher Ground all about?

Climate change is already impacting cities around the world, including where people are moving and why, the housing and real estate markets, and nearly every aspect of life in cities. In partnership with the City of Orlando, NewCities is excited to launch our initiative, Higher Ground. Through a virtual event format, we will explore and analyze climate adaptation, resilience, and politically off-the-table until recently, managed retreat away from coastlines, floodplains, and other high-risk areas. Convening public officials, policymakers, engineers, planners, real estate professionals, patient capital, and climate migrants, we will discuss how cities are leading the way and planning for a future inland.

The two-day virtual event will feature high level keynotes, engaging panel discussions, and interactive workshops and networking. We will convene our extensive network of public, private, non profit, and academic leaders – from Orlando and other cities in Florida, cities across the United States and Canada, and even international experts in climate migration.

Sneak Preview: Higher Ground Panel at the Wellbeing Cities Forum 2020

Why Higher Ground?

As the pandemic, compounded by a devastatingly harsh wildfire and hurricane season, has further uncovered the challenges we face, we think it is absolutely essential to develop our mitigation and resilience toolkit alongside planning imminent migration strategies. Simply allowing natural disasters and market forces to expel vulnerable residents from their communities achieves nothing other than hurting those who need help the most.

Preparing North American cities for equitable migration will require new regulations and incentives to manage retreat; building new resilient districts nearby, and developing attraction strategies for “climate refugees” further inland. All three will require a broad coalition of public and private stakeholders. Our LIVE format is a great way to welcome experts from all sectors and geographies to convene and discuss the urgent and impending climate crisis, all while broadening the accessibility of our events.


What topics will we cover?

Higher Ground aims to shape the conversation around cities and climate change by convening a global network of stakeholders to bring climate migration and managed retreat to the forefront of adaptation strategies; feature data-driven tools, tactics, projects, and policies for cities and public officials grappling with these challenges; and disseminate findings and successes through convenings, toolkits, and consultations to cities striving for transformation. We will explore when to adapt and when to retreat, planning for long-term, sustainable and equitable growth, financing new resilient infrastructure and communities, city-led business and migrant attraction strategies, and more.


Why should you attend?

For the last decade, NewCities has brought people together and we are excited to continue our work, calling on new ways to engage, interact, meet, learn from each other, and work together. Are you a public servant, engineer, architect, tech entrepreneur, community organizer, researcher, urban planner, or a concerned citizen? Join us to foster lasting connections, learn from others, and share your work!

Together, we will build a platform for cities, the business community, non profit and community-based organizations, and our most forward-thinking researchers to devise innovative solutions to our imminent climate crisis.

How will it work?

  • Step 2: Your registration will be confirmed via email along with important details about how to fill out your personal profile to help you connect with other attendees!
  • Step 3: Show up on the day-of ready to engage, learn, and listen!

Some sessions will also be recorded and available on our website and social media channels.

Interested in joining the trailblazers of climate migration? Please contact greg.lindsay@newcities.org for sponsorship opportunities or general enquiries.


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