Climate Gentrification in Miami

With the threat of sea level rise, homes on higher ground in Miami are becoming increasingly desirable. But they are located in low-income communities of color, and residents are facing rising housing costs and displacement.
January 6, 2019, 5am PST | Camille Fink
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Mario Ariza reports that the effects of climate change have hit the real estate market in Miami. As wealthier residents seek to move inland away from flooding and other hazards, they are eyeing parts of town that developers have been marketing as climate resistant, says Ariza:

Working-class places like Overtown, Little Haiti, and Liberty City were created by redlining, a historically racist policy that denied mortgages to people of color outside of certain neighborhoods. They are now in rapid transition. And in Miami, those areas just happen to be on high ground.

Elevation is now a selling point, and these neighborhoods are vulnerable to what is being referred to as “climate gentrification.” As rents and home prices skyrocket, residents and businesses are forced out, often to places in South Florida that are closer to sea level.

Community advocates say affordable housing and policies to prevent displacement need to be priorities, since city codes make it difficult to protect existing residents. "That’s because of a provision for developers who acquire at least 9 contiguous acres and commit a small percentage to open space. Those developers can avoid height and density restrictions, move roads, and delay community consultation until late in the planning process," reports Ariza.

Some developers have voluntarily set aside affordable and workforce housing units, but inclusionary zoning mandates cover very little of the city. The city has plans to study affordable housing issues in Miami, but advocates say the situation is dire and more immediate action needs to be taken.

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Published on Friday, December 21, 2018 in Slate
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