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Impassable During High Water: Sea Level Change, Commuting, and Climate Gentrification

Authors: Qing Zhong*, Arizona State University, Valerie Mueller, Arizona State University, Glenn Sheriff, Arizona State University, Mathew Hauer, Florida State University
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Migration
Keywords: sea level rise, tidal flooding, climate gentrification, daily commuting patterns
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Rising sea levels create higher tides and storm surges, increasing coastal cities’ flood risks. There is growing concern that these threats could have severe equity impacts. Wealthy residents in vulnerable areas may move to neighborhoods at higher elevations, and historical residents in low-income and minority communities may be displaced through changes in property values. Human migratory responses to sea level rise is a key component of understanding these population dynamics. People base their location decisions on not only conditions at their residence, but also where they work, and their expected commuting time. This study proposes a new approach to defining vulnerability to sea level change via its impact on people’s daily commuting patterns with focus on quotidian tidal “nuisance” flooding, rather than on storm surges. A case study conducted in Miami-Dade County and Broward County is provided. Road inundations and distributions of commuting delays across low-income and minority groups are assessed by using shortest path algorithm. “Climate gentrification” is addressed by an economic model of individual behavior, which determines how adjustments in commuting times alter neighborhood demographic composition. Results offer projections of how future sea level change will affect different demographic groups under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) scenarios. The work will provide policymakers with tools to develop long-range adaptation strategies.

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