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Climate gentrification: From theory to empiricism in Miami-Dade County, Florida


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This article provides a conceptual model for the pathways by which climate change could operate to impact geographies and property markets whose inferior or superior qualities for supporting the built environment are subject to a descriptive theory known as 'Climate Gentrification.' The article utilizes Miami-Dade County, Florida (MDC) as a case study to explore the market mechanisms that speak to the operations and processes inherent in the theory. This article tests the hypothesis that the rate of price appreciation of single-family properties in MDC is positively related to and correlated with incremental measures of higher elevation (the 'Elevation Hypothesis'). As a reflection of an increase in observed nuisance flooding and relative SLR, the second hypothesis is that the rates of price appreciation in lowest the elevation cohorts have not kept up with the rates of appreciation of higher elevation cohorts since approximately 2000 (the 'Nuisance Hypothesis'). The findings support a validation of both hypotheses and suggest the potential existence of consumer preferences that are based, in part, on perceptions of flood risk and/or observations of flooding. These preferences and perceptions are anticipated to be amplified by climate change in a manner that reinforces the proposition that climate change impacts will affect the marketability and valuation of property with varying degrees of environmental exposure and resilience functionality. Uncovering these empirical relationships is a critical first step for understanding the occurrence and parameters of Climate Gentrification.
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Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Climate gentrification: from theory to empiricism in
Miami-Dade County, Florida
Jesse M Keenan1,3, Thomas Hill1and Anurag Gumber2
1Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, 407 Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA, United States of America
2Harvard University, Kennedy School of, Government, Cambridge, MA, United States of America
3Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
24 January 2018
19 March 2018
3 April 2018
23 April 2018
Original content from
this work may be used
under the terms of t he
Creative Commons
Attribution 3. 0 licence.
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Keywords: climate change, Climate Gentrification, economics, housing, resilience, adaptation, real estate
Supplementary material for this article is available online
This article provides a conceptual model for the pathways by which climate change could operate to
impact geographies and property markets whose inferior or superior qualities for supporting the built
environment are subject to a descriptive theory known as Climate Gentrification.The article utilizes
Miami-Dade County, Florida (MDC) as a case study to explore the market mechanisms that speak to
the operations and processes inherent in the theory. This article tests the hypothesis that the rate of
price appreciation of single-family properties in MDC is positively related to and correlated with
incremental measures of higher elevation (the Elevation Hypothesis). As a reflection of an increase in
observed nuisance flooding and relative SLR, the second hypothesis is that the rates of price
appreciation in lowest the elevation cohorts have not kept up with the rates of appreciation of higher
elevation cohorts since approximately 2000 (the Nuisance Hypothesis). The findings support a
validation of both hypotheses and suggest the potential existence of consumer preferences that are
based, in part, on perceptions of flood risk and/or observations of flooding. These preferences and
perceptions are anticipated to be amplified by climate change in a manner that reinforces the
proposition that climate change impacts will affect the marketability and valuation of property with
varying degrees of environmental exposure and resilience functionality. Uncovering these empirical
relationships is a critical first step for understanding the occurrence and parameters of Climate
This article provides a conceptual model for the path-
ways by which climate change could operate to impact
geographies and property markets whose inferior or
superior qualities for supporting the built environment
are subject to a descriptive theory known as Climate
Gentrification(hereinafter, CG). To provide empir-
ical resolution to a theory of CG, this article utilizes
Miami-Dade County, Florida (MDC) as a case study
to explore the potential existence of consumer prefer-
ences that are based, in part, on perceptions of flood
risk and/or observations of flooding. These prefer-
ences would be anticipated to be amplified by climate
change in a manner that reinforces the proposition
that climate change will affect the marketability and
valuation of property with varying degrees of exposure
and resilience functionality. It is speculated that com-
paratively high- and low-elevation properties in MDC
will be more or less valuable overtime by virtue of a
propertys capacity to support habitation in the face of
nuisance flooding and relative sea level rise (SLR).
This article tests thehypothesis that the rate of pos-
itive price appreciation in MDC from 1971–2017 is
positively related to and correlated with incremental
measures of higher elevation of the underlying proper-
ties (the Elevation Hypothesis). As a reflection of an
increase in observed tidal nuisance flooding and SLR
since 2000 (Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change
Compact 2015), the second hypothesis is that the rates
of price appreciation in the lowest elevation cohorts
are below the rates of appreciation of higher elevation
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
cohorts since 2000 (the Nuisance Hypothesis). Both
hypotheses are evaluated across MDC, as well as within
various jurisdictions within MDC.5If validated, these
hypotheses would provide partial evidence that market
preferences reward and penalize properties with higher
and lower elevations, respectively. While a validation
of these hypotheses is by no means definitive in estab-
lishing a link between the perception of flood risk and
consumer preferences, the inference of such a relation-
ship would highlight one of multiple pathways b y which
CG may manifest to disrupt economically vulnerable
The relevance of a theory of CG is defined
by the need to promulgate a broader awareness of
the processes shaping socioeconomic vulnerabilities
and not just physical environmental exposure (F¨
2007,ONeill et al 2014). Likewise, it highlights the
dynamic and dependent relationships of elements of
the built environment (e.g. housing, transportation,
public facilities) that may either exacerbate vulner-
abilities associated with climate change impacts or
are themselves exacerbated by such impacts (R¨
et al 2016,Walkeret al 2016). As climate adapta-
tion planning internalizes the implications of resource
constraints (North and Longhurst 2013)andduepro-
cess (Sovacool and Linn´
er 2016) within the context
of distributive and procedural justice (Bulkeley et al
2013,Shiet al 2016), the onus of the public sector is
to contextualize existing institutional parameters that
define both the vulnerability and exposure of sensi-
tive populations (Anguelovski et al 2016,Chuet al
2017). In this case, understanding the institutional
and economic mechanisms of property markets are
arguably critical for long-term planning. Whether it
is land use or affordable housing planning, the com-
mon denominator is the relative availability and price
of property and real estate. If CG proves to be an accu-
rate description of economic processes and behaviors,
high-elevation property, shaded or wind-cooled prop-
erty, fresh water resourced property, geologically stable
property, ecologically diverse property, pollution-free
property, and property with resiliently design build-
ings will all provide attributes of market valuation
that complicate the existing capacities of society to
house and shelter its most vulnerable populations.
Climate gentrification
While CG has been popularized in the media (Flavelle
2016,Bolstad2017), there has been limited scholar-
ship defining the parameters of this emerging theory
(Keenan and Weisz 2017). CG is based on a simple
proposition: climate change impacts arguably make
some property more or less valuable by virtue of its
5In the US, not all portions of a county are part of a municipal
jurisdiction. As such, unin corporated portions of a count y are entirely
governed and serviced by the county.
capacity to accommodate a certain density of human
settlement and its associated infrastructure. The impli-
cation is that the price volatility associated with rent
seeking, speculative investment, or superior purchas-
ing power is either a primary or a partial driver of
the patterns of urban development that lead to dis-
placement (and sometimes entrenchment) of existing
populations consistent with conventional framings of
gentrification (Slater 2006, Lees et al 2013). While geo-
graphic exposure of property is a primary locational
and environmental attribute of CG, the relative degree
of engineered resilience within buildings and infras-
tructure systems on such property may also provide
a secondary axis of analysis that may explain why
two equally exposed property markets of similar con-
structed attributes may perform differently over the
long-term in the face of climate change (Hollnagel
CG may arguably manifest in one of several path-
ways, as represented in figure 1.Thefirstpathwayis
what primarily frames this article. It relates to the sub-
stitution of property from an inferior to a superior
location. This may also be viewed as a selection of
properties with superior locational and environmen-
tal attributes among alternative investment options
with inferior qualities. For purposes of representa-
tional simplification in figure 1, it is assumed that
there are only two local options for settlement and
investment, and it is assumed that there are two pop-
ulation wealth cohorts—high-income (i.e. rich) and
lower-to-moderate income (i.e. not rich). Superiority
of one option to another is adjudicated by a propertys
comparatively lower level of physical environmental
exposure or its high level of constructed attributes
for engineered resilience and/or hazard mitigation. In
this article, superiority is informally hypothesized to be
high-elevation geographies (e.g. Little Haiti in Miami)
who are less vulnerable to flooding, in part, because
of a known reliance on gravitational flows to man-
age water in MDC. More fundamental to the theory,
it describes a behavior of moving financial capital to
a geography that offers superior risk-adjusted returns
for accommodating real estate and infrastructure. It
may also offer superior attributes for accommodat-
ing communities and not just assets. This pathway
comes with the caveat that some households may
otherwise be trapped for a lack of resources to relo-
cate (de Sherbinin et al 2011,Blacket al 2013)or
because of outstanding mortgage liabilities (Bricker and
Bucks 2016). This pathway is collectively referenced as
the Superior Investment Pathway.
As represented in figure 1, the Superior Investment
Pathway is shown within the context of two options. In
reality, there may be many local and non-local options.
It is conceptualized that households—particularly
low-to-moderate income households—would grad-
ually move from the coastal barrier islands (e.g.
Miami Beach) to the mainland of MDC where ele-
vations are significantly higher. However, as economic
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Figure 1. Pathways to Climate Gentrification.
productivity and jobs may be undermined by SLR, pop-
ulations may leave MDC altogether (Hauer et al 2016).
As such, CG may operate across multiple scales (i.e.
neighborhoods, municipalities, states, regions, coun-
tries). For instance, SLR impacts in MDC may lead to
CG in central Florida, which is much less physically
exposed. Likewise, Atlanta may be subject to CG stem-
ming from coastal SLR on the east coast of the US
because of its superior labor and housing opportuni-
ties (Hauer 2017). While these networks, transfers and
transitions are difficult to model, emerging research in
demographics suggests that CG may operate at mul-
tiple scales beyond those simplified representations in
figure 1(Curtis and Schneider 2011,Neumannet al
2015). Interview data suggests that speculative prop-
erty investors are already hedging on south Floridas
gradual exodus to central and north Florida.
The second pathway for CG relates to the dete-
rioration of environmental conditions such that the
overall cost of living can only be feasibly borne by
wealthier and wealthier households, as climate change
impacts manifest in greater frequency and intensity.
Gentrification happens inversely by the fact that vul-
nerable populations are unable to afford to live in situ.
This would be primarily due to the increased costs of
insurance, property taxes, special assessments, prop-
erty repairs, transportation and consumer goods, as
well as a loss in overall productivity (e.g. sitting in traf-
fic in water-clogged streets). For comparatively wealthy
households, prior research has suggested that the risk
of coastal flooding seems inconsequential in determin-
ing property values due to the substantial premiums
that appear to be associated with proximity to coastal
water(Bin and Kruse 2006, p 137). For those house-
holds who are more sensitive to the carrying costs
associated with such hazards, there may be no alter-
native but to relocate. Those that remain are those who
are either trapped or have invested speculative capital
that they can affordto lose. An example of this is in
Venice, Italy where environmental conditions, includ-
ing relative SLR and unabated tourism, have resulted
in a total cost-burden that has undermined class diver-
sification (Moretti 2012). This pathway is collectively
referenced as the Cost-Burden Pathway.
It would be anticipated that over time such a phe-
nomenon would occur on the barrier islands of MDC,
such as Miami Beach. However, research models sug-
gest that adaptation investments in risk mitigation
likely have a threshold by which even informed (and
comparatively wealthy property owners) will eventu-
ally abandon their investments (McNamara and Keeler
2013,Treueret al 2018). As such, it should be qualified
that the pathways to CG are limited in their duration
and intensity, as threshold dynamics are highly unpre-
dictable (Haer et al 2017). Eventually, in the face of
SLR, it can be argued that even the most-wealthy will
likely have to abandon Venice and Miami Beach.
The third pathway relates to the unintended
consequences of making public investments in the
engineered resilience of buildings and infrastructure
(Ayyub 2014,Cer
eet al 2017). As a consequence of
these investments, the underlying property increases
in value by virtue of the fact that the positive exter-
nalities associated with performance of the resilience
investments represents a superior outcome to the
status quo—even when netted-out by any costs
associated with the taxes for building and maintain-
ing the resilience infrastructure (Bunten and Kahn
2017). Therefore, any tax consequences associated with
the investments would be absorbed by increases in
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
property valuation and/or rent payers. This pathway
is a derivative of the well-developed concept of Green
Gentrification,wherein investments in sustainability
amenities and infrastructure are unevenly distributed
or otherwise associated with gentrification (Checker
2011, Curran and Hamilton 2012,Bryson2013,Sand-
berg 2014, Curran and Hamilton 2017,Gouldand
Lewis 2017,Anguelovskiet al 2018). Although not
widely studied, the exemplar case for this pathway is
the St. Kjeld Climate District in Copenhagen where
a broader resilience strategy to revitalize a neigh-
borhood led to some displacement from increased
rents (Kjaer 2015) and the marginalization of existing
homeowners (Baron and Petersen 2016). This pathway
is referenced as the Resilience Investment Pathway.
However, there is an alternative hypothetical sce-
nario wherein resilience investments operate to reduce
risk and exposure to such an extent that it reduces
long-term tax and insurance liability. In Copenhagen,
the resilience investment brought the neighborhood
real estate up to market rate.However, in this
alternative-scenario, the market value becomes more
competitive among alternative substitutes because of
the comparatively lower carrying costs (e.g. taxes
and insurance).
Each of the three pathways represent possi-
ble behaviors that may lead to CG. They do not
independently represent deterministic conditions, as
exogeneity in property markets often defy current
methodologies for pinpointing long-term valuation
trends or preferences. CG is referenced as a descriptive
theory for understanding emerging trends otherwise
referenced as conventional gentrification. Climatic
impacts should be understood within a broader
array of influences driving gentrification, including
historic racial segregation, income inequality, and
the spatial distribution of jobs, transportation, and
housing. However, with CG, it can be argued that
climatic influences will increasingly play an impor-
tant role in the weighted factors driving investment
and locational decisions of households, investors, and
financiers. The empirical portion of this article seeks
to identify potential methodologies and measurements
that may validate the underlying behaviors inherent
in the Superior Investment Pathway.
Research design and methodology
The research design of this article is based on a mixed-
methods approach undertaken in two distinct phases:
(i) theory development and (ii) empirical data anal-
ysis and hypothesis testing (Creswell 2013). In the
first phase, exploratory research was undertaken in
MDC as it relates to vulnerability assessment and the
identification of existing resilience activities and capac-
ities. MDC was selected as a case study based on its
popular and scientifically determined vulnerability to
climate change impacts, including increased nuisance
flooding and SLR inundation (Yin 2013). As part of the
theory development phase, semi-structured interviews
were conducted with numerous (n= 48) local officials,
researchers, real estate developers, investors, financiers,
residents and activists. Interviews suggested a con-
sensus that high-elevation property would increase in
value over the long-term with SLR and that prefer-
ences relating to flood risk (climate change related or
not) were increasingly being recognized among con-
sumers and real estate actors. Interviews confirmed
that speculative investment in certain high-elevation
communities is well underway. The empirical aspects
of this article seek to identify whether a validation
of the hypotheses could partially explain behaviors
consistent with a Superior Investment Pathway.
Detailed property sales information was obtained
from the Miami-Dade County Property Appraisers
Office. The dataset contained approximately 800 000
properties and included records for property type, unit
count, lot and building size, property and building
values, year-built, bed and bath counts, market and
property tax assessment values, exemptions, owner
name, address, zoning, and the last three transactions
(the Property Dataset). Property records with incom-
plete or misregistered values were culled. In order
to understand how patterns might be conditioned or
contextualized by elevation, the analysis involved com-
bining the Property Dataset with elevation data (1/9th
arc-second) for Miami-Dade County sourced by the
United States Geological Survey (Elevation Dataset)
(USGS 2017).
The economic analysis comprised of two prin-
ciple steps. First, a price index was constructed to
allow a comparison of price appreciations of properties
across the entire Property Dataset. This normaliza-
tion of price appreciation allowed for a more resolute
apples-to-apples comparison of price appreciation
by and between different property characteristics.
Second, a linear mixed effects model was con-
structed and coded to understand how the relationship
between elevation and price appreciation varied across
jurisdictions—holding various other explanatory vari-
ables constant (i.e. square footage, sale date, and
construction year). Both the price indexing and the
regression analysis were conducted in parallel using
the programming languages R and Python.
Empirical modeling and findings
From the cleaned Property Dataset, properties contain-
ing single-family homes were isolated. The resulting
Property Dataset was reduced to 107 984 properties.
Single-family homes were selected to the exclusion
of condominium and cooperative properties because
these properties are arguably less sensitive to the nui-
sance and risk of loss from intermediate flooding
because of their varied base floor elevations and insur-
ance structures. Second, condominium development
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Figure 2. (a) Range of elevations for municipalities and unincorporated portions of Miami-Dade County. (b) Map of elevations for
municipalities and unincorporated portions of Miami-Dade County.
patterns were spatially concentrated and did not offer
much insight for patterns across time and elevation.
Commercial real estate was also removed because val-
uations are largely dependent on net operating income
and investment cycles (Geltner 2015).
Figure 2represents the range of elevations found in
each of the selected municipalities and the unincorpo-
rated portions of MDC. Not all municipalities in MDC
were selected for analysis because certain municipali-
ties did not have either a meaningful internal variation
in elevation or a robust level of data. With the revised
Property Dataset and the Elevation Dataset, two com-
putational strategies were deployed. As is discussed in
the Supplemental Methodology, the first was to con-
struct a multiplicative price index (Bailey et al 1963,
Hill 2013) and the second was to conduct a linear
mixed effects regression on modified samples within
the subject datasets (Peng and Lu 2012, Reddy 2015).
Rate of appreciation and elevation findings
Figure 3represents a range of jurisdictions wherein
the indexed valuation multiple was decomposed for
elevation cohorts measured in 1 meter increments.
Measurement anomalies below sea level (<0 meter)
were spot-checked and either culled or grouped
into the lowest elevation cohort. The values on the
y-axis are multiples indexed to 1971. The total sam-
ple size of properties broken down by elevation
cohort is found in supplemental table 1 available at For all subject
properties, figure 3(a) demonstrates that properties in
the 2–3 meter and 3–4 meter cohorts have had slightly
higher rates of price appreciation relative to the 1–2
and 0–1 meter cohorts. This finding would be con-
sistent with a validation of the Elevation Hypothesis.
While properties in the 4–5 meter and 5–6 meter ele-
vation cohorts have lagged the group, this finding is
less relevant or impactful because these properties rep-
resent just 1.41% (n= 1518) of the entire sample. This
marginal distribution holds true across all of the eval-
uated jurisdictions. As such, elevation cohorts above 4
meters can generally be ignored.
Figure 3(b) highlights a similar pattern for unin-
corporated parts of MDC, which accounts for 58%
(n= 58 804) of the sample. Unincorporated portions
of MDC suggest a slightly stronger relationship to ele-
vation than the entire sample represented in figure
3(a). As a general observation, the 3–4 meter cohort
has slightly outperformed the 2–3 meter cohort. The
2–3 meter cohort has slightly outperformed the 1–2
meter cohort and the 1–2 meter cohort has outper-
formed the 0–1 meter cohort. This spread has been
particularly pronounced since approximately 2000.
Specific to the City of Miami, figure 3(c)represents
a similar but less conclusive pattern to those found
of figures 3(a)and(b). While the 0–1 meter cohort
has lagged the group for most of the time period,
the relationships between cohorts are less clear than
unincorporated MDC. In particular, there has been a
recent increase in rates of appreciate in the 0–1 meter
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Figure 3. Indexed valuation multiple by elevation cohort.
cohort. This might be explained by properties bene-
fiting from their proximate location to a recent boom
in luxury coastal high-rise properties. Overall, the City
of Miami accounts for just 6.70% (n= 7234) of the
Consistent with a validation of the Nuisance
Hypothesis, the 0–1 meter cohort has significantly
lagged the group since approximately 2000 for all prop-
erties in MDC in figure 3(a). A similar pattern is found
among unincorporated properties in figure 3(b), with
a precipitous drop in price appreciation in approx-
imately 2015 for the 0–1 meter cohort. In addition,
7 of the 12 jurisdictions represented in supplemental
figure 1 all demonstrated a similar pattern wherein the
lowest elevation cohorts (i.e. either 0–1 or 1–2 elevation
cohorts) tracked the general group until approximately
2000, at which point they begin to underperform rela-
tive to the general track of the elevation cohorts.
As represented in figure 3(d), properties in the
City of Miami Beach have expressed a notably negative
relationship between elevation and price appreciation.
This is likely explained by the proposition that spatial
proximity to the water has a positive impact on bot h val-
uation and rate of appreciation, at least as long as those
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Figure 4. (a) Random effect regression coefficients for elevation effect on price appreciation by jurisdiction. (b) Regression results for
elevation effects on price appreciation by jurisdiction.
bodies of water are deemed to be amenities (McNamara
et al 2015). Supplemental figures 1 and 2 contains sets
of figures for those municipalities that demonstrated
varying degrees of positive and negative relationships
between price appreciation and elevation. Overall,
11 jurisdictions accounting for 76% (n= 82 068) of
the overall sample demonstrated some measure of
positive relationships. By contrast, 5 jurisdictions
accounting for 13% (n=14 014) of the sample were
founded to have some negative relationship. While 17
jurisdictions had either inadequate elevation granu-
larity or inconclusive relationships, these jurisdictions
accounted for 11% (n= 11 798) of the sample.
Regression findings
Utilizing a linear mixed effects model, the price appre-
ciation index was regressed for elevation, construction
year, date of sale, and square footage, within each
of the jurisdictions and the unincorporated portions
of MDC with each variable representing a differ-
ent group. Thereafter, the method sought to obtain
the specific effect of elevation on price appreciation
for each of these jurisdictions, excluding municipal-
ities (n= 6) with less than 200 single-family units
(n=672). Elevation was found to have a positive
effect on price appreciation in 24 of the 25 jurisdictions
under study. Those 24 jurisdictions represent 98.1%
of the 107 312 properties subject to the regression.
Only North Miami Beach exhibited a negative relation-
ship between elevation and price appreciation, albeit a
weak one.
Figure 4highlights the regression results and the
range of elevation regression coefficients for the subject
jurisdictions. As figure 5represents, the 3 jurisdictions
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
Figure 5. Map of random effect regression coefficients for elevation on price appreciation by jurisdiction.
with the strongest coefficients are all on the coast.
Overall, 13 (54%) of the 24 jurisdictions with posi-
tive coefficients are land-locked, although nearly all of
the land-locked jurisdictions have significant collec-
tions of lakes and drainage canals. The largest single
jurisdiction represented in the sample, unincorporated
MDC (n= 58 804; 54%), showed a positive corre-
lation. Overall, the sample of all subject properties
showed a positive correlation between elevation and
appreciation when controlling for the aforementioned
It is difficult to identify the effect of elevation on price
appreciation independent of other variables and loca-
tional factors. There are many spatial qualities that
cannot be easily controlled for. The historical devel-
opment patterns of MDC are complex, and uneven
patterns at different elevations runs in contradiction
to many American cities where the historical patterns
of development dictated concentrations of wealth on
high elevations. Since elevation was the only locational
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
factor, it is possible that the results simply demonstrate
a correlation between location and price apprecia-
tion. However, the jurisdictions that exhibit a positive
relationship between elevation and price appreciation
represent the vast majority of all housing units in MDC.
This overall positive correlative effect provides evi-
dence in support of validating the Elevation Hypothesis.
This evidence is in addition to the observations of
positive relationships between price appreciation and
elevation cohorts in jurisdictions accounting for 76%
(n= 82 068) of the sample population. However, infer-
ential connections between the results of the two mode s
of analysis is inconclusive for some jurisdictions. In the
case of Miami Beach, there was an observed negative
relationship between price appreciation and elevation
cohorts, yet the city had the second highest regres-
sion coefficient. This could be explained by the two
different analytical methods, wherein elevation breaks
in the regression were more precise than the coarse 1
meter cohorts. However, more precise elevation mea-
surements may be inconsequential in the real world
wherein the path of water may not be obstructed by
such nuances in elevation. Future research will need
to find resolution between observations and mean-
ingful breaks and location of elevation. That is to say
that not all elevation represents equal units of risk or
nuisance given the underlying bathymetry and surface
water management capacities of MDC.
There is robust evidence supporting a validation
of the Nuisance Hypothesis. The logic behind the for-
mulation of the Nuisance Hypothesis was based on
the proposition that increased nuisance flooding may
have been negatively impacting low elevation proper-
ties in the market. Interviews with real estate brokers
suggested a certain intelligence about high nuisance
portions of MDC among the brokers. While the find-
ings support the hypothesis, they do not necessarily
speak to a validation of the causal logic. However,
in some areas, lower elevation properties are grossly
underperforming relative to other elevation cohorts.
Likewise, this trend appears to have accelerated in and
around 2000. While measurements of SLR on the East
Coast of the US were observed to accelerate in the
1990s (Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force 2014,
Davis and Vinogradova 2017), observed incidents of
increased flooding in MDC appear to have accelerated
just after 2000 (Wdowinski et al 2016). This pattern
of acceleration was observed not just in a majority of
the sample, as represented in figures 3(a)(AllProp-
erties), figure 3(b)(unincorporatedMDC),and,toa
lesser extent, in figure 3(c) (Miami), but also in areas
such as El Portal, Miami Shores, and North Miami
Beach, which are subject to ongoing tidal flooding and
King Tides (see supplemental figures 1(b), (d)and(e),
The evidence supports a validation of the Eleva-
tion Hypothesis with the broader inference that higher
elevation properties may have a slight advantage in
terms of higher rates of price appreciation that may
be increasing with time. By contrast, the evidence
supporting a validation of the Nuisance Hypothesis
suggests that the lowest elevation properties may be at a
price disadvantage. In relating these find ings to a theory
of CG, the Elevation Hypothesis provides support for
the long-term occurrence of the Superior Investment
Pathway. Over time, it could be argued that higher ele-
vation properties in MDC will become more attractive
because of their superior rates of appreciation.
This may also be viewed within the context of
the Nuisance Hypothesis wherein the lowest elevation
properties are not appreciating at the same rate and
therefore are inferior investments—assuming that rate
of appreciation is a significant factor for investment.
The heuristics of real estate investment suggest that
this rational maximization through long-term appre-
ciation does not always hold (Salzman and Zwinkels
2017). If investors/owners see a relative disadvantage
or opportunity cost to their lower elevation properties,
then this may be one of many other factors that lead to
spatial relocation or the disposition of a particular asset.
Arguably, this may reinforce a Cost-Burden Pathway
if lower-to-moderate income households have more at
stake in terms of their overall net-wealth. The cost bur-
den may be increased by virtue of a cycle of declining tax
rolls and fewer and fewer tax payers. In all cases, this
article provides support for the proposition that cli-
mate change impacts could exacerbate environmental
and locational effects and qualities in property that may
already be reflected to a certain extent in the housing
Uncovering these effects and qualities is a critical
first step for monitoring the incremental occurrence of
CG. What can the public sector do to mitigate the
negative consequences? Land use regulators will be
tasked with evaluating the consequences of relocation
and densification, particularly on higher-elevations
(e.g. inclusionary zoning). As previously theorized,
resilience investments will also have socioeconomic
consequences that should be accounted for. The chal-
lenge for the public sector is to build a sensitivity to the
economic effects of climate change and climate change
adaptation on property markets within existing policy
Whether it is through a superior investment among
substitutes; a function of being driven-out through
increased consumer cost-burdens; or, a matter of public
resilience investments that drive up the value of prop-
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Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (2018) 054001
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and investors. In particular, there is a need to under-
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... A survey of realtors in the city found a majority of buyers did not ask about climate change when purchasing property (Bendixen and Amandi International 2017). Keenan et al. (2018) found that higher elevation properties within flood prone areas experienced higher rates of appreciation, indicating Miami has also been experiencing "climate gentrification." Between 2005 and 2016, the Miami-Dade real estate market was estimated to have lost $465 million from SLR-affected inundation risk (McAlpine and Porter 2018). ...
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Climate change-induced sea level rise (SLR) will affect a range of coastal assets and prompt difficult decisions about coastal land use across the world. Several recent studies find that current and projected SLR is associated with relatively lower property values. We contribute to this growing body of research with a case study of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, which is famed for its beaches as well as valuable coastal real estate. We leverage a dataset that unpacks multiple types of SLR exposure and coastal parcel attributes. We apply property transaction data for the island of O‘ahu through 2019 to investigate the effect of current and expected SLR exposure on residential property prices. We find that exposed properties have already experienced declines in transaction prices, at 9 to 14%, attributed to expectations of exposure to chronic inundation (as opposed to seasonal flooding). The price declines are mainly for multi-dwelling homes as opposed to single family homes. The market response of residential properties to SLR has important implications for coastal management strategies, in particular the viability and timing of programs for retreat.
... mm yr −1 during 1971-2018, to 3.7 (3.2-4.2) mm yr −1 in 2006-2018, and mean rises of 0.77 (0.63-1.01) m by 2100 are expected under the business-as-usual scenario of the shared socioeconomic pathways 2 , with coastlines generally having larger rises 3 . SLR will directly threaten 200 million to 1 billion people living in the low-elevation coastal zone by 2100 4,5 , and will pose dire risks to marine coastal ecosystems 2 , property values, and infrastructure [6][7][8][9] . It is incumbent on science to investigate ways of mitigating, adapting and minimizing the consequences of SLR. ...
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The IPCC sixth assessment report forecasts sea level rise (SLR) of up to 2 m along coasts by 2100 relative to 1995–2014 following business as usual (SSP585) scenarios. Geoengineering may reduce this threat. We use five Earth System Models simulations of two different solar geoengineering methods (solar dimming and stratospheric sulfate aerosol injection), that offset radiative forcing differences between SSP585 “no-mitigation” and the modest mitigation SSP245 greenhouse gas scenarios, to analyze the impact on global mean thermosteric and dynamic regional sea levels. By 2080–2099, both forms of geoengineering reduce global mean thermosteric sea level by 36–41% (11.2–12.6 cm) relative to SSP585, bringing the global mean SLR under SSP585 in line with that under SSP245, but do not perfectly restore regional SLR patterns. Some of the largest reductions (∼18 cm) are on densely populated coasts of eastern Northern America and Japan and along vulnerable Arctic coastal permafrost.
... Given the history of discriminatory policies that have resulted in today's inequities-disparities in, for example, proximity to pollutants (and life expectancy), amount of tree cover, access to municipal resources, and poverty rates (Pulido, 2000;Elliott et al., 2009;Mohai et al., 2009;Faber, 2015;Rothstein, 2017;Hoffman et al., 2020;McDonald et al., 2021;Redfin News and Katz, 2021), the displacement effects of climate "gentrification" (Keenan et al., 2018;Aune et al., 2020), and the role housing plays in financial stability and intergenerational wealth, housing trends by race and ethnicity and their relationship to the compounding vulnerabilities associated with increased proximity to the coast must be equitably studied and mitigated. Due to the increased number of seniors (persons ages 65+) living in coastal communities (Climate Central, 2021) and the vulnerabilities of older residents (such as, a decreased ability to adjust to changes in temperature, lack of mobility, or stressors and difficulties of evacuating assisted living facilities and nursing homes), the aging trends in coastal communities should also be examined. ...
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Fine scale data collection on vulnerability metrics is necessary for just policy outcomes. Those most likely to be disproportionately affected by specific climate risks should be identified early so that the needs of vulnerable communities (especially historically marginalized communities) can be addressed and mitigated in accordance with climate justice principles. While there is a growing body of event-specific and place-based studies, systematic studies on coastal populations at risk have typically not applied equity principles and have often ignored attributes such as race and ethnic composition, age structure, urban/rural classification, and housing tenure. Additionally, assumptions about future population trends depend on understanding past spatial patterns of change, as well as demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the populations at risk, especially considering increasing coastal hazards. Yet, with few exceptions, research on coastal vulnerability has not analyzed changes in exposure over time and has not systematically addressed implications for communities of color over time. This paper seeks to fill these gaps. In this paper, using an equity lens and spatial demographic methods with the finest-resolution data available (census blocks), we estimate the extent of exposure and population change from 1990 to 2020 in the low elevation coastal zone in the continental United States. We find that the population of the LECZ has increased during this period, primarily by the growth of the urban population which has risen from about 22 million to 31 million persons. From 2000 to 2020, the urban population consistently grew at higher rates inside the LECZ than outside of it, reversing the pattern from the decade prior. We also examine changes in the population by race and Hispanic origin, urban and rural status, and a set of more expansive vulnerability themes. Our estimates, tabulated by counties and states, reveal the concentration and characteristics of exposure and changes to it over the past 30 years. Key findings include: residents of the LECZ are much older than average; Black residents are overrepresented in renter-occupied housing units in the urban LECZ; and from 2000 to 2020, Hispanic population growth was much higher in urban LECZ areas than urban areas elsewhere. These systematic insights into the demographic attributes of the populations most at risk of sea-level rise and associated coastal hazards can be used to ensure adaptation, mitigation, and disaster-related policies are tailored to the specific needs of these communities and actors at local, regional, and national scales. It also showcases how spatial methods can be used to understand demographic change and be put in place for future estimates of population in non-traditional units (e.g., coastal zones or other environmentally-vulnerable areas).
... Meanwhile, scholars increasingly consider emerging geographies of both devaluation and potential revaluation across housing markets under climate change (e.g., Knuth, 2019;Taylor & Aalbers, 2022). These include speculative property market actor-driven strategies which exploit emerging geographies of risk and devaluation within and beyond particular urban neighborhoods, as relatively less exposed sites become targets for new forms of "climate gentrification" and inequitable patterns of restructuring (e.g., Keenan et al., 2018;Taylor & Aalbers, 2022;Thompson et al., 2023). For example, Taylor & Aalbers (2022) demonstrate how a range of property-finance stakeholders, from local land speculators to transnational reinsurance companies, craft and act on perceptions of (future) risk in ways that speculatively produce, rather than solely respond to, geographies of housing devaluation and revaluation in South Florida. ...
Amidst growing concerns for climate risks to US housing markets, strategies to physically retrofit homes are gaining attention-including within debates over how to resolve intersecting crises of housing re/insurability and affordability in highly exposed sites like Florida. We consider an important but under-studied example of this "climate-proofing" strategy unfolding today: Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). While PACE historically financed decarbonization retrofits, it is increasingly deployed to facilitate hurricane risk reduction in Florida. In this paper, we introduce PACE: its basic characteristics, evolving uses, and controversies. Exploring the Florida case, we examine two deeper but as yet under-examined financial tensions: PACE's intersections with other forms of property-linked finance (and potential systemic breakdowns) and rising affordability breakpoints as homeowners encounter its new debt amidst other growing and intersecting climate/climate response costs. These issues call for more transformative imaginaries of urban retrofitting and its resourcing.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The environmental risk factors that worsen cancer risk and outcomes are often overlooked and these factors are disproportionately concentrated in communities that have been subjected to marginalization. This chapter provides an overview of discriminatory systems, policies, and practices that contribute to cancer disparities and perpetuate environmental injustice. Using two major sources of environmental exposures as examples (i.e., industrialized food systems and the fossil fuel infrastructure), we discuss how systems of power restrict the choices available to communities targeted for marginalization and lead to worse cancer risk and outcomes for the entire population. We intentionally incorporate environmental justice principles throughout the chapter by moving beyond reporting disparities and by centering the voices of those who are disproportionately impacted—especially when identifying potential solutions—while recognizing that environmental hazards have detrimental health consequences for the entire population. We also highlight the important role of public health professionals in promoting environmental justice given their roles and spheres of influence. We conclude with a call to shift from a settler colonialism mindset of domination and hegemony towards a kinship mindset as a means of reducing cancer disparities and promoting the health of the entire population.KeywordsEnvironmental justiceCancerHealth disparitiesSettler colonialismSystemic racism
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Although the most dire societal impacts of sea-level rise typically manifest toward the end of the 21st century, many coastal communities face challenges in the present due to recurrent tidal flooding. Few studies have documented transportation disruptions due to tidal flooding in the recent past. Here, we address this issue by combining home and work locations for approximately 500 million commuters in coastal US counties from 2002--2017. We find tidal flooding delays coastal commuters by approximately 25 minutes per year, increasing to between 200 and 650 minutes by 2060 under various sea-level rise scenarios. Adjustments in residential and work locations reduce the growth in commuting delays for approximately 40\% of US counties. For residents in coastal counties, sea-level rise isn't a distant threat - it is already lapping at their toes.
To equip students to analyze and create infographics with a rich understanding of rhetorical dynamics and sensitivity to how difference and equity issues are communicated, I propose a pedagogical approach to infographics drawn from Karen Barad’s concept of performative enactment and describe its implementation in a required writing classroom.
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Resilience, in general, is widely considered as a system's capacity to proactively adapt to external disturbances and recover from them. However, the existing resilience framework research is still quite fragmented and the links behind various studies are not straightforwardly accessible. The paper provides a critical state-of-the-art review of both quantitative and qualitative considerations of resilience, approached from a built environment engineering perspective, with a focus on geo-environmental hazards. A research gap is identified and translated into a holistic and systemic approach to conceptualise resilience, factoring in related concepts such as vulnerability, adaptive capacity and recoverability. A generic built environment resilience framework is proposed informed by a critical and comprehensive review of the related literature. The paper concludes with insights into four key strategic areas requiring further research, namely: (a) risk based cost optimal resilient design and standards of buildings and infrastructures, (b) model based evaluation and optimisation of buildings and infrastructures, (c) integrated risk modelling, inference and forecasting, and (d) heterogeneous disaster data acquisition, integration, security and management.
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To date, little is known about the extent to which the creation of municipal green spaces over an entire city addresses social or racial inequalities in the distribution of environmental amenities – or whether such an agenda creates contributes to green gentrification. In this study, we evaluate the effects of creating 18 green spaces in socially vulnerable neighborhoods of Barcelona during the 1990s and early 2000s. We examined the evolution over time of six socio-demographic gentrification indicators in the areas close to green spaces in comparison with the entire districts. Our results indicate that new parks in the old town and formerly industrialized neighborhoods seem to have experienced green gentrification. In contrast, most economically depressed areas and working-class neighborhoods with less desirable housing stock and more isolated from the city center gained vulnerable residents as they became greener, indicating a possible redistribution and greater concentration of vulnerable residents through the city.
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The tide-gauge record from the North American east coast reveals significant accelerations in sea level starting in the late 20th century. The estimated post-1990 accelerations range from near zero to ∼0.3 mm yr−2. We find that the observed sea-level acceleration is well modeled using several processes: mass change in Greenland and Antarctica as measured by the GRACE satellites; ocean dynamic and steric variability provided by the GECCO2 ocean synthesis; and the inverted barometer effect. However, to achieve this fit requires estimation of an admittance for the dynamical and steric contribution, possibly due to the coarse resolution of this analysis or to simplifications associated with parameterization of bottom friction in the shallow coastal areas. The acceleration from ice loss alone is equivalent to a regional sea-level rise in one century of 0.2 m in the north and 0.75 m in the south of this region.
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Many sea-level rise (SLR) assessments focus on populations presently inhabiting vulnerable coastal communities, but to date no studies have attempted to model the destinations of these potentially displaced persons. With millions of potential future migrants in heavily populated coastal communities, SLR scholarship focusing solely on coastal communities characterizes SLR as primarily a coastal issue, obscuring the potential impacts in landlocked communities created by SLR-induced displacement. Here I address this issue by merging projected populations at risk of SLR with migration systems simulations to project future destinations of SLR migrants in the United States. I find that unmitigated SLR is expected to reshape the US population distribution, potentially stressing landlocked areas unprepared to accommodate this wave of coastal migrants - even after accounting for potential adaptation. These results provide the first glimpse of how climate change will reshape future population distributions and establish a new foundation for modelling potential migration destinations from climate stressors in an era of global environmental change. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
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The durability of the real estate capital stock could hinder climate change adaptation because past construction anchors the population in beautiful and productive but increasingly-risky coastal areas. But, coastal developers anticipate that their assets face increasing risk and this creates an incentive to seek adaptation strategies. This paper models climate change as a joint process of (1) increasingly destructive storms and (2) a risk of sea-level rise that submerges coastal property. We study how forward looking developers and real estate investors respond to the new risks along a number of dimensions including; where they build, the choice of capital durability, capital mobility (modular real estate) and their investment in the maintenance of existing properties. The net effect of such investments is a more resilient urban population.
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div> This article explores the controversies that exist in urban climate change adaptation and how these controversies influence the role of homeowners in urban adaptation planning. A concrete ‘Sustainable Urban Drainages System’ (SUDS) project in a housing cooperative in Copenhagen has been used as a case study, thereby investigating multiple understandings of urban climate change adaptation. Several different perspectives are identified with regard to what are and what will become the main climate problems in the urban environment as well as what are considered to be the best responses to these problems. Building on the actor-network inspired theory of ‘urban green assemblages’ we argue that at least three different assemblages can be identified in urban climate change adaptation. Each assemblage constitutes and connects problems and responses differently and thereby involve homeowners in different ways. As climate change is a problem of unknown character and outcome in the future, we argue that it can be problematic if one way of constituting urban climate change adaptation becomes dominant, in which case some climate problems and adaptation options may become less influential, even though the enrolment of these could contribute to a more resilient city. Furthermore, the case study from Copenhagen also shows that the influence and involvement of homeowners might be reduced if the conception of future climate problems becomes too restricted. The result would be that the potential benefits of involving urban citizens in defining and responding to problems related to climate change would be lost. </div
Sea level rise threatens coastal communities around the world. Proactive investments in adaptive flood protection could reduce financial vulnerability, however it is unclear if local governments and homeowners will be willing to make those investments before it is too late. In this research we explore this issue by focusing on the case of South Florida, which is one of the most financially vulnerable regions in the world. We report the results of a novel online simulation that accelerates 348 South Florida homeowners thirty-five years into the future so that they can ‘live’ the effects of sea level rise. The results contain a mix of optimism and caution for the prospects of future adaptation. On the positive side, over 75% of participants indicated a willingness to support bond issues to pay for adaptation, even as the costs of the measures and effects of sea level rise increased over the years. Likewise, we find little evidence that politically conservative residents who normally have more skeptical views about climate change are any less inclined to support adaptation, or only look to information sources that downplay the threat. On the negative side, the number of homeowners interested in moving out of the region increases steadily over time as the sea level rises. This is driven by an increase in worry associated with viewing more information within the simulation.
The decision of buying residential property may be one of the most important transactions people will ever make, and the emotional attachment when houses become homes is inevitable. Nevertheless, this stylized fact appears to be underrepresented in the literature. While its importance is undeniable, the consumption function, as well as the social and emotional perspective of real estate are often neglected. We provide an overview of the current state of affairs of the main themes in which the behavioral approach intersects with real estate to gain a deeper understanding of the built environment. It seems to be a general consensus that behavioral studies can help to provide insight into property markets, but that a large component of behavioral decision making is left undefined.
This article reviews the state of the art in real estate price indexing and the state of knowledge about real estate price dynamics, with a focus on investment property, or income-generating commercial property. Investment properties form a large component of the national wealth and of capital markets and represent a major investment asset class. They are characterized by various types of heterogeneity, including among assets, markets, and data sources, making the study of real estate pricing uniquely challenging. Yet in recent decades, urban economists and econometricians have pioneered major new price indexing methodologies that, combined with new types of data sources, are shedding light on the nature of commercial property price dynamics, revealing both important commonalities and unique differences compared with equities and fixed-income securities pricing. Keywords: commercial property; real estate; price indexing; price dynamics; asset markets