Climate change is a common term used to refer to “a change in global or regional climate patterns.” It is often used in conjunction with the greenhouse effect and reports of rising sea levels. But there’s another term in the eco-conscious sector of culture known as climate gentrification. So, what is climate gentrification? Gentrification is the changing of a poor urban area as affluent people and businesses begin to move in. It is viewed as a negative change since neighborhoods often lose their character and services or businesses may be reallocated to serve wealthier, new residents instead of the people who were using them before. The worst and most cited fear surrounding gentrification is that low-income residents, and disproportionately people of color, will be priced out and displaced from their homes. Climate gentrification is simply the same process motivated by the effects of our changing climate and the need for low-risk ground away from rising sea levels.
It is important to understand that climate gentrification is not the act of moving because of climate; it is the process of people being priced out as the prices of real estate and maintenance become too high for them to live there. Climate change is already having an effect on land and real estate. As we face more extreme and more frequent weather conditions, this effect will only become more drastic. Areas that are near water or other locations that are affected by weather will become more expensive to live in. People have to think harder about expenses like insurance and rising taxes to mitigate the costs of protecting and repairing property. Land that is safer will also rise in value. Examples of these predictions are already happening around the world. In this article, we cover the types and expectations of climate gentrification and break down some real examples to help you understand the challenges facing our communities.
Jesse Keenan, Thomas Hill, and Anurag Gumber are researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Design who first coined the term climate gentrification. They believe that though climate has always had an influence on real estate, its effect will become dramatically more significant in the next decade. Keenan explains that “the higher elevation properties are essentially worth more now, and increasingly will be worth more in the future. Populations, including speculative real estate investment, will densify in these high elevation areas.” Though this is the general conclusion, Keenan has developed a more specific theory of three “pathways” in which climate will force gentrification and displace communities.[…]