All Weather News

Climate Gentrification: What is it?

28 Dec 2017, 7:30 pm

It turns out it’s a thing, and for many, a problem they weren’t ready for.

This past year was riddled with natural disasters, causing many residents to explore new neighborhoods when searching for a place to call home.


Gentrification is when a neighborhood undergoes renovation as more affluent residents move into it.

It’s a huge topic in city planning and politics lately, and now it looks like a changing climate is to blame for some wealthy individuals seeking new homes.

Climate Gentrification

Climate gentrification is just like regular gentrification, but it’s motivated by a changing climate.

As climate changes, weather in a given region will change. This means some people might face the risk of more flooding, damaging storms, or even wildfires.

For that reason, many people are seeking out new neighborhoods in order to mitigate the risk of these natural disasters. And for some that means wealthier individuals are moving into historically lower income areas– causing a whole new type of gentrification.

An Example?

Coastal Florida has seen an influx of residents moving inland to higher elevation. The areas seeing an influx of wealthier residents have historically been those of lower income.

In the past, these areas have been less desirable due to the distance from the water, but a changing climate is changing that.

Stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, and changing beachfront are all to blame for the shift in southern Florida. But the devastating hurricanes of 2017 top the list of reasons to move for many residents of the sunshine state.

So is it climate, or is it the weather?

Climate vs. Weather

Climate is the weather averaged out over 30 years. This is how we know what temperature or storm norms should be for any given area. As those norms change over time, that is a changing climate. But one record hot day or powerful storm doesn’t denote any sort of change in climate.

As is the case in Florida, this influx of coast-dwellers might be weather-caused instead of climate-caused. One year of powerful hurricanes doesn’t denote a changing climate, that’s just a weather pattern and unfortunately part of living in tropical areas.

Recent hurricanes across the sunshine state scared many residents. That fear drove some from the state entirely, while others have simply moved inland.

It is still pretty early in the phenomena to know exactly what is motivating the moves. Is it rising seas or was it simply the fear of hurricanes?

Only time will tell, but fear-driven movement whether it be weather or climate is a problem we now face in many growing urban areas.

2017 was the year of the billion-dollar disaster. More and more residents faced the devastation of nature than in years past– prompting many to seek new places to call home.

For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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