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As Miami Faces Threats From Sea Level Rise, Some Worry About Climate Gentrification

Miami faces a major threat from sea level rise. But there are parts of the city that don't flood, and that's becoming a selling point for real estate developers. Nadege Green of member station WLRN reports.

NADEGE GREEN, BYLINE: Miami is open about its challenges with climate change. The city organized this recent community meeting for neighbors to talk about how it's affecting their lives. David McNamara is sitting at a table with a handful of other men.

DAVID MCNAMARA: I'm in a flood zone and pay for flood insurance for my home in Morningside. I feel like any moment now - you know, I'm sort of on borrowed time.

GREEN: McNamara's home is in an affluent neighborhood just steps away from Biscayne Bay.

MCNAMARA: Sea level rise comes in at some point there. It's - no one's going to buy it.

GREEN: James Valsaint is sitting right across from him. Valsaint grew up about a five-minute drive away from McNamara in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood.

JAMES VALSAINT: We have a higher elevation, so thankfully, flooding is one of the least of our problems.

GREEN: Little Haiti is a working-class, predominantly black immigrant community. It doesn't flood there, but Valsaint tells McNamara he's also concerned about the rising water.

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Read also On Higher Ground, Miami’s Little Haiti Is the New Darling of Developers (WSJ, April 22, 2019)

Read also As Seas Rise, Miami’s Black Communities Fear Displacement From The High Ground (WLRN, NOV 4, 2019)