By: Ismael Rodriguez
Real estate investors are buying into the speculation that sea-level rise will draw hordes of developers to scramble for lower-cost, higher-elevation areas of inland Miami.
The speculations have gathered concrete evidence from anthropologist Hugh Gladwin at Florida International University, who has documented how sea-level rise is already playing a role in real estate on Miami’s inland.
Little Haiti is among the neighborhoods flushed with a new wave of real estate investors seeking a path to less occupied areas like Wynwood and downtown Miami.
And like Little Haiti, other historically black neighborhoods have a geological advantage over the commonly desired waterfront areas in Miami— This advantage is in the location, since most urban areas are located along a limestone ridge that runs west of the water across South Florida.
Teri Williams, president of black-owned OneUnited Bank, said over the radio, when asked about the topic, that racially discriminatory zoning and regulation laws during the Jim crow era, preventing blacks from living outside of the urban core, has now led to Miami’s predominantly black neighborhoods becoming prime real estate locations.
Survey data conducted at Harvard University also shows that many middle-class Miamians are leaving Miami Beach and other waterfront areas that might be prone to flooding.
Jesse Keenan, a Harvard University professor that teaches adaptive approaches to climate change, told the press that 20 percent of the population in Miami Beach could potentially move out of the city within the next 20 years, especially if the city suffers from storms like that of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The science has prompted few real estate investors to talk and measure the potential dangers of sea-level rise on the ecology and economy. But government officials in areas like Miami Beach have formulated plans like installing pumping systems that flush storm water into Biscayne Bay in order to keep investors worry-free and the population safe.