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Miami's Looming Climate Change Disaster

Many experts believe that a property crash, as a result of Hurricanes or sea level rise, on the coast of South Florida is inevitable. But that hasn't deterred the suppliers or the consumers in the Miami real estate market.
February 24, 2016, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sean Pavone

A longform article by Nathalie Baptiste asks a big question of Florida's second-most populated city: "Why is Miami—America’s most vulnerable metropolis to sea-level rise—having yet another beachfront development boom?"

Baptiste begins by noting the current growth trend in the local development market: "The previous boom halted briefly after the 2008 collapse, but by 2011 it was on again. As of June 2015, more than 355 new towers have been proposed in South Florida." But the current optimism comes with great risk, which both consumers and suppliers seem completely blind to—whether willfully or not. Baptiste includes many pithy paragraphs to make this point, including the following:

The great cliche of the real estate business is that location is everything. That’s especially the case with buildings vulnerable to climate change. A truly green building is structurally sound, energy-efficient, low-cost, and in an area that isn’t vulnerable to sea-level rise and climate-change impacts. So a green building in a bad place is a bad building. In a place like greater Miami, the problem is both too many buildings in the wrong places, and standards that aren’t stringent enough.

Despite the billions of dollars in spending and years of planning it will take to prepare the Miami area for the effects of climate change is almost the opposite of what's happening in Miami, according to the story told in this article. Instead of planning and building safety measures, Miami is subsidizing flood insurance and incentivizing developers in risky areas. 

Full Story:
Published on Friday, February 19, 2016 in The American Prospect
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