In Miami these days, it’s all about height, height and height.
While some scientific models predict enough polar melting to bring at least 10 feet of sea level rise to South Florida by 2100, only a modest 12 inches would make 15% of Miami uninhabitable, and much of this property is on the beach. It is among the most expensive in America.
Even now, with the number of “tidal” occurrences increasing across the porous limestone in Florida and pushing fish through sewers to the streets, residents are becoming more aware that their city is built on stepped shelves, hills and canyons of a fossil seabed.
“Water is simply returning to the same places it flowed long ago,” says Sam Burkes, head of the Earth Sciences department at the University of Miami. “The irony is that what happened 125,000 years ago will determine what is happening to your home now.”
The fluctuating ripples between city blocks can mean the difference between survival and retreat, and the high cost of elevation is causing a noticeable shift in community activity and municipal budgets.
Pinecrest’s neighbors formed America’s first underwater homeowners’ association (complete with signs of altitude square) and appointed a marine scientist as president.
Miami Beach spends millions to raise roads, upgrade pumps and change building codes to allow residents to raise their palaces by five feet.
But in working-class migrant neighborhoods such as Little Haiti, sea-level rise from year to year is lost in the daily struggle, and most of them had no idea they lived three feet higher than the wealthy Miami Beach.
Find out when the developers started calling from everywhere.
“They were calling from China and Venezuela. They came here with cases of money!” Marilyn Bastin, a long-standing community and community organization, says. “We used to believe that Haiti’s small attraction was the fact that it is close to the city center, close to airports, and close to the beach. Without our knowledge, because we are in a higher position at a height.”
Pointing to a row of vacant stores, the names of a dozen small business owners who say they were forced out because of the high rents are erroneous, and lists others who say they inadvertently received low-cost offers without understanding the Miami housing crisis.
“If you are selling your home in Little Haiti, you think you are making a big deal, and that is only after the sale, then you realize,” Oh, I can’t buy anywhere else. “
After its community center and day school are priced from three different buildings, Wind has discovered plans to build the sprawling Magic City project on the edge of Little Haiti, which includes promenade, upscale retailers and high-rise apartments imagined by a group of local investors, including the founder of Cirque du Soleil.
Magic City developers insist they chose the site based on location, not height.
They promised to preserve the spirit of Little Haiti and give $ 31 million to the community for affordable housing and other programs, but it was not enough for Garden. “This is a plan to really wipe out little Haiti,” she says. “Because this is the only place where migration collides and the climate improves.”
I fought evolution with all the protesters and handwritten signs that could rally, but after a debate that lasted until one in the morning, the commissioners agreed to authorize a 3-0 vote at the end of June.
“The area that we all took was industrial,” says Max Sklar, Vice President of Plaza Equity Partners and member of the development team. “There was no real booming economy around these warehouses or vacant lands. So our goal is to create this economy.
“Can we please everyone? Not 100%, this is not possible. It is unrealistic. But we listened to them.”
He reiterates a promise to give $ 6 million to the confidence of the tiny Haitian community before the Earth was broken, and as a sign that he listened to at least one request, he acknowledges that the complex will now be called Magic City Little Haiti.
But while Bastian mourns defeat, her neighbor and fellow organizer Leoni Hermantin welcomes the investment and hopes for the best. “Even if Magic City does not come today, the speed of improvement is so fast that our people will not be able to afford the homes here anyway,” she says with a head shake. “The magic city is not the government. Affordable housing policies must come from the government.”
“(Improving the climate) is something we are watching closely,” says Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “But we haven’t seen any direct evidence of that yet.”
Suarez is a rare Republican who has passionately defended climate change mitigation plans and helped defend the $ 400 million Miami Forever Bonds, which voters have approved to fund measures to protect the city from the ravages of the high seas and stronger storms.
“We have already created, in the first tranche of Miami for Ever, a sustainability fund for people to renovate their homes so that they can stay on their property instead of having to sell their property,” he says.
But this fund is a relatively small sum of $ 15 million, and it is not enough to avoid the housing crisis that grows with every heat wave and hurricane, in a city where more than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty level.
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said there is already evidence of how the climate crisis affects the rich and poor differently.
He pointed out that the most affected are the least responsible. Alston wrote last month: “Although the poor are responsible for a fraction of the global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change and have the least capacity to protect themselves.”