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‘Climate Gentrification’ Will Deepen Urban Inequality

A new study investigates the intersection of climate change and real estate, and finds that higher elevations bring higher values.
A homeless man takes shelter at a bus stop in Miami Beach shortly before Hurricane Irma.
A homeless man takes shelter at a bus stop in Miami Beach shortly before Hurricane Irma. Carlos Barria/Reuters

It’s no surprise that a list of places most at risk from climate change and sea-level rise reads like a Who’s Who of global cities, since historically, many great cities have developed near oceans, natural harbors, or other bodies of water. Miami ranks first, New York comes second, and Tokyo, London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong all number among the top 20 at-risk cities in terms of total projected losses.

Cities in the less developed and more rapidly urbanizing parts of the world, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai, may experience even more substantial losses as a percentage of their total economic output. Looking out to 2050, annual losses from flooding related to climate change and sea-level rise could increase to more than $60 billion a year.