Gentrification refers to the process whereby a neighborhood or area is transformed from an economically stressed area to a middle class or affluent neighborhood through the renovation of older buildings or construction of new buildings. The new residents have more money than previous residents, who are often displaced from the neighborhood.
“Climate” gentrification is a recent term that refers to the circumstances where well-off people move from their neighborhoods that become exposed to adverse climate changes, such as flooding coastal zones in urban areas. These impacts from climate change make an established, middle-class neighborhood no longer sustainable. The people then move to less developed areas that are higher in elevation and subject to fewer risks. They then gentrify the climate-safe neighborhood. Such transitions already have been identified in Miami, Florida, including in Little Haiti, a historically lower-income Haitian neighborhood about a mile back from the beach but on higher ground. In Los Angeles, it is people moving to areas with reduced risks from fires that is contributing to higher real estate prices.
In less developed countries, some coastal areas that are densely populated will be wiped out by rising sea levels and residents will have to abandon their homes and cities. In Miami, only parts of the city likely will be destroyed by rising seas, and the rich are staking out their claim to higher elevation properties to protect themselves. The existing residents of those elevated areas then have to fend for themselves, somewhere else.
Some further ideas to explore on Climate Gentrification:
Identify the most likely threat to your neighborhood from climate change?
Identify any impact the threat might have on your residence (owned or rented)?
If there is any potential impact from climate change on the place where you live, identify other places nearby or within a reasonable distance that would not be subject to the threat and determine whether that area is cheaper or more expensive than your current area.
“Gentrification,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. bit.ly/2kyMHtV
Thor Benson, “In Los Angeles, Climate-Change Gentrification Is Already Happening,” Daily Beast (25 Feb 2019). bit.ly/2Ez6OAf
Eillie Anzilotti, “Coastal cities are already suffering from ‘climate gentrification’,” Fast Company (20 July 2018). bit.ly/2uOW8re
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