Rising sea levels are turning Miami’s highlands into hot properties

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Miami
CNN

In a city where “sunny floods” have increased by 400% in ten years, rising sea levels are changing the old real estate mantra of “location, location, location”.

Today in Miami, everything is related to altitude, altitude, and altitude.

Long before melting ice caps washed Ocean Drive, one of the most vulnerable major cities in the United States has become a test case for the gentrification of the modern climate.

Although some scientific models predict that by 2100, the polar ice will melt enough to raise the sea level in South Florida by at least 10 feet, but just 12 inches will make 15% of Miami uninhabitable, and most of the beachfront property is the most valuable in the United States of.

Read: Research shows that millions of American families are at risk of chronic flooding this century

Even now, with more frequent “king tides” bubbling in the porous limestone of Florida, pushing fish into sewers and streets, residents are becoming more aware that their cities are built on the rippling shelves of the fossil seabed, On the ridges and canyons.

Sam Purkis, head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Miami, said: “The water just returned to where it flowed a long time ago.” “The irony is that what happened 125,000 years ago will determine what will happen to your house now.”

The volatile fluctuations between city blocks can mean the difference between survival and retreat, and the cost of rising altitude is triggering a significant shift in community activism and municipal budgets.

In Pinecrest, artist Xavier Cortada installed a mural that shows how many feet the sea level crosses.
CNN

In Pinecrest, artist Xavier Cortada installed a mural that shows how many feet the sea level crosses.

Pinecrest’s neighbors established the first underwater homeowners’ association in the United States (with a sign) and appointed a marine scientist as its chairman.

Miami Beach is spending millions of dollars to upgrade roads, upgrade water pumps, and change building codes to allow residents to raise their mansions by 5 feet.

But in working-class immigrant communities like Little Haiti, the year-on-year sea level rise is neglected in daily struggles, and most people don’t know that their lives are three feet above the beaches of the wealthy in Miami.

They found out when developers started calling from all over.

“They are calling from China and Venezuela. Come here with money!” said Marleine Bastien, a community organizer and long-time resident. “We used to think that the charm of Little Haiti lies in its proximity to the city center, its proximity to two airports and its proximity to the beach. We don’t know, this is because we are located at a higher altitude.”

She pointed to a row of vacant shops, sketched out the names of a dozen small business owners who she said were forced to move out due to rising rents, and listed others she said unknowingly without knowing the housing crisis in Miami People who accepted a low price offer.

“If you sell your house in Little Haiti, you will think you have done a big thing, and only after you sell it will you realize,’Oh, I can’t buy it anywhere else.'”

Marleine Bastien (center) protests the Magic City project with residents and activists.
Joe Riddle/Getty Images

Marleine Bastien (center) protests the Magic City project with residents and activists.

After her community center and day school set prices in three different buildings, she heard about the construction of a $1 billion Magic City development project on the edge of Little Haiti, including promenades, high-end retail stores, and high-rise apartments. And a consortium of local investors, including the founder of Cirque du Soleil.

The Magic City developers insisted that they chose locations based on location rather than altitude.

A bird’s-eye view of downtown Miami and South Beach from an airplane shows past waterfront development.
Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

A bird’s-eye view of downtown Miami and South Beach from an airplane shows past waterfront development.

They promised to protect the soul of Little Haiti and provide the community with $31 million for affordable housing and other projects, but this is not enough for Bastian. “This is a plan to truly eliminate Little Haiti,” she said. “Because this is where immigration and climate gentrification conflict.”

She fought all the protesters and the handwritten signs she could convene, but after a debate that lasted until 1 am, the commissioners approved the permission with a 3-0 vote at the end of June.

“The area we occupy is all industrial,” said Max Sklar, vice president and development team member of Plaza Equity Partners. “There is no really prosperous economy around these warehouses or open spaces. So our goal is to create this economy.

“Can we comfort everyone? It’s not 100%, it’s not feasible. It’s unrealistic. But we have listened to their opinions.”

He reiterated his commitment to provide $6 million to the Little Haiti Community Trust Fund before groundbreaking, and acknowledged that the integration will be called the Little Haiti Magic City, which shows that he has listened to at least one request.

But when Bastian grieved for the failure, her neighbor and organizer Leonie Helmandin welcomed the investment and hoped for the best results. “Even if the magic city does not come today, the speed of gentrification will be too fast, and the people here can’t afford a house anyway,” she said helplessly, shaking her head. “Madu is not the government. Affordable housing policy must come from the government.”

A woman shades herself with an umbrella while walking on a hot day in Miami.
Bill Weir/CNN

A woman shades herself with an umbrella while walking on a hot day in Miami.

“(Climate gentrification) is something we pay close attention to,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told me. “But we haven’t seen any direct evidence.”

Suarez is a rare Republican. He enthusiastically defended the climate change mitigation plan and helped support the $400 million Miami perpetual bond, which was approved by voters to help protect the city from the high seas. The action of the storm.

The Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, supports a plan to deal with the effects of the climate crisis.
Joe Riddle/Getty Images

The Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, supports a plan to deal with the effects of the climate crisis.

“In fact, we created a sustainability fund in the first payment for Forever in Miami for people to renovate their homes so that they can stay in their properties without having to sell them,” he said.

But the relatively small amount of US$15 million is not enough to alleviate the housing crisis exacerbated by heat waves and hurricanes, in a city where more than a quarter of residents live below the poverty line.

What is happening in Little Haiti may be just one example of the UN warning about the imminent “climate apartheid”, where there will be a gap between the rich who can protect themselves from the effects of climate change and the poor who are left behind.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said that there is already evidence that the climate crisis affects the rich and the poor differently.

He pointed out that the person who has suffered the most is probably the person least responsible. Alstom wrote last month: “On the contrary, although the poor are only responsible for a small percentage of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change and will be the least able to protect themselves.”

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