Nowadays everything in Miami is about height, height, height.
Some scientific models predict that by 2100, polar ice will melt at least 10 feet above sea level to South Florida, while only a modest 12-inch Miami will make 15% uninhabitable, and most of this coastal property is America’s among the most valuable ones.
Even now, as more and more “king tides” swell from Florida’s porous limestone, pushing fish through sewers and streets, its residents are more and more aware that their city is built on the fluctuating shelves, ridge and canyons of a fossil sea floor.
“The water returns to where it flowed years ago,” said Sam Purkis, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Miami University. “The irony that happened 125,000 years ago will now dictate what will happen to your home.”
Variable fluctuations between city blocks can mean the difference between survival and withdrawal, and the increase in altitude cost causes a noticeable change in community activism and municipal budgets.
Neighbors in Pinecrest established America’s first Underwater Hosts Association (completed with height courtyard signs) and elected the marine scientist as its president.
Miami Beach spends millions of risers, upgrading pumps and modifying building codes to allow residents to upgrade their mansion five feet.
But in working class, immigrant neighborhoods like Little Haiti, the sea level rise in the daily sea struggle is disappearing every year, and most of them had no idea that they lived three meters higher than wealthy people in Miami Beach.
They learned that the developers started searching from everywhere.
“They were calling from China, Venezuela. They come with money!” says community organizer and long-resident Marleine Bastien. “We thought of the fact that the charm of Little Haiti is close to the city center, both the airports and the beach. In our opinion, because we are located at a higher altitude.”
Pointing to a number of vacant stores, he removes the names of a dozen small business owners whom he says are struggling with rising rents and unknowingly lists others who say he has received low-ball offers without understanding the housing crisis.
“If you sell your home in Little Haiti, you think you’re making a big deal, and you just realize that after selling it and then ‘Oh, I can’t buy it elsewhere.”
After being priced from three different buildings, the community center and the day school caught the wind of plans to build the $ 1 billion Magic City development spanning the edge of Little Haiti, which includes a promenade, high-level retail stores, high-rise apartments, and high-rise apartments. It was imagined by the consortium of local investors, including the founder of Cirque du Soleil.
Magic City developers insist that they select the site by location rather than altitude.
They promised to protect the spirit of Little Haiti and give the community $ 31 million for affordable housing and other programs, but it was not enough for Bastien. “This is actually a plan to erase Little Haiti,” he says. “Because this is where migration and climate gentrification collide.”
He fought the development with all the protesters and signed with hand signs he could collect, but after a debate that lasted up to 1, commission members approved the permit with 3-0 votes at the end of June.
“The area we took was entirely industrial,” says Max Sklar, Vice President of Plaza Equity Partners and a member of the development team. “There was no real developing economy around these warehouses or empty lands, and so our goal is to create this economy.
“Can we relax everyone? It’s not 100%, it’s not possible. It’s not realistic. But we listened to them.”
He repeats his promise of giving $ 6 million of trust to a Little Haiti community without even grounding, and as a sign that he has listened to at least one request, he admits that the complex will now be called Little Haiti in Magic City.
But while Bastien accepts defeat, his neighbor and other organizer Leonie Hermantin welcomes the investment and hopes for the best. “Even if Magic City has not arrived today, the speed of gentrification is so fast that our people will still not be able to afford homes here.” “Magic City is not a government. Affordable housing policies have to come from the government.”
“Mayor of Miami (Climate gentrification) is something we watch very closely.” “But we haven’t seen any direct evidence yet.”
Suarez is a rare Republican who passionately advocates climate mitigation plans and helps defend the $ 400 million Miami Forever bond, which is approved by voters to finance the action to protect the city from the destruction of higher seas and stronger storms.
“In fact, we created it in the first slice of Miami Forever, the sustainability fund for people to renew their homes to stay in their property without having to sell their property,” he says.
But this fund is a relatively small $ 15 million, not enough to destroy a growing housing crisis with each heat wave and hurricane, in a city where more than a quarter of residents live below poverty.
Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said there is evidence of how the climate crisis affected the rich and the poor differently.
He pointed out that the most injured were probably the least responsible. “Often, while people in poverty are responsible for only part of global emissions, they will bear the burden of climate change and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” said Alston last month.