A woman walks past the First International Haitian Church in Little Haiti.
Photo courtesy of The Root

As sea levels rise and Miami’s wealthier residents flee inwards, neighborhoods like Little Haiti may become victims of climate gentrification.

Miami’s neighborhood of Little Haiti is 75 percent black and beginning to gentrify. As The Root’s Jessica Moulite reports in a new video, that gentrification is happening in tandem with climate change.

The average elevation in Miami is almost six feet above sea level. In contrast, Little Haiti sits 10 feet above the water, which will serve it well as oceans rise: Studies have predicted that South Florida will be under water by 2025. Some scientists warn that there’s no way to know whether these neighborhoods are truly victims of “climate gentrification,” but the Yale Climate Opinion Maps suggest that residents of South Florida are especially attuned to the dangers of global warming, and it is possible that many are making housing decisions based on those fears.   

Meanwhile, home prices in Little Haiti have risen almost 19 percent since 2016, according to Zillow. The median income in the neighborhood is just over $21,000, making it impossible for most residents to buy property (the vast majority of residents are renters). In most American cities, poorer communities often live in the lowest-lying neighborhood. But in Miami, where beachfronts are the most desirable properties, segregation and discriminatory zoning laws forced black residents inwards; Miami’s black residents were not allowed at the city’s beaches until 1945. Now, as beachfront properties are threatened by rising seas, Miami’s wealthier residents are looking to move into spaces that have historically been occupied by black and Caribbean communities.

Learn more in the video below:

This video originally appeared on The Root and was made with support from Participant Media, the creator of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

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