University of Miami Law Review


Because Miami-Dade County is “ground zero” for such climate effects as sea-level rise and increasingly hazardous, climate-driven Atlantic hurricanes, the coral rock ridge that runs along the Eastern coast of South Florida is a prime target for redevelopment and “climate” gentrification. Through a community and movement lawyering for environmental justice approach, we partnered with local community organizations to contribute to the ongoing work of community-driven equitable development. In partnership, we developed an environmental public health study to understand and document the public health effects on disadvantaged communities in Miami-Dade County from forced intra-urban displacement due to redevelopment that is being influenced by elevation concerns. We disseminated an online survey to examine environmental hazards, housing conditions, threat of displacement, and current mental and physical health status. We collected seventy-four responses between August 2021 and August 2022. The Qualtrics survey consisted of twenty-five questions to determine the breadth and extent of mental and physical health impacts due to threats of forced displacement related to redevelopment along the coral rock ridge. We assessed movement into and out of areas of gentrification in Miami-Dade County and any correlations with health impacts and forced displacement due to environmental housing conditions and redevelopment in these areas. Migration patterns by zip code and elevation were analyzed using data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and served to supplement and cross-validate geographical data and existing literature that showed a pattern of migration and movement in line with climate gentrification. This work was used to develop and support policies with the potential to slow down the rapid gentrification along the rock ridge and mitigate the process of forced displacement occurring amongst the environmental justice communities living there.