In large US cities, is there any correlation between elevation and property value? Specifically, does publicly-funded housing tend to be built in areas with lower elevation than higher-priced housing?

There are numerous articles that speak of "climate gentrification" (where land with higher elevation will cost more) that will become a trend in the next hundred years in coastal areas, but is this already the case (even in non-coastal areas)?


Keren Bolter is a doctoral student of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University researching what areas in South Florida are particularly threatened by rising seas. She says all methods of analysis for the risks of sea-level rise only focus on financial vulnerability -- ranking Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami Beach as high-risk -- but to her, that's not the whole story....

Some lower-income neighborhoods may be more vulnerable to the impacts of rising seas than coastal areas.

LRN, Why Sea-Level Rise Might Hurt Poor Neighborhoods More Than Coastal Area

Another source:

According to University of California-Berkeley, in the next hundred years, large seaboard chunks of Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Menlo Park and Sunnyvale will be under the ocean, entailing detrimental economic implications that are going to all citizens of the Bay Area. However, these implications are going to disproportionately affect the lower classes in the Bay Area.

The Script, Why the Poor Are the First to Feel the Impact of Climate Change

Another source claims this but also claims that Miami does not fit this pattern, however this source also makes it clear that "the projects" (publicly-funded housing) will be destroyed to make room for higher-income real estate:

the seas will eventually rise, potentially bringing the coastline of South Florida closer to Miami's historically black neighborhoods....

"Oh, Miami Beach is going under, the sea level is coming up," Harewood said. "So now the rich people have to find a place to live. My property is 15 feet above sea level, theirs is what? Three under?

"So OK," he said, taking on the voice of a rich developer, "let's knock down the projects, and we move in and push them out." ...

Keenan's not certain, but he thinks he may have coined the term "climate gentrification." In Miami, it's the reverse of the process in many other parts of the United States, or even in the developing world, where the poorest people to flooding and sea-level rise often live on low ground most vulnerable to flooding.

Scientific American, High Ground Is Becoming Hot Property as Sea Level Rises: Climate change may now be a part of the gentrification story in Miami real estate

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    You assume this is location specific. In Rio de Janeiro, the lowest cost housing appears to be on the sides of steep hills. – Henry Aug 30 '17 at 0:08
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    @Henry I didn't want this to be closed as too broad by making it global, but I suspect it is a global trend. – Dan Aug 30 '17 at 0:09
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    None of the three quotes makes the claim that lower elevations have more public housing. One of them claims the exact opposite. That high income housing is at lower elevations because it is on the beach. Lower income housing is further back. So they expect the lower income housing to be bulldozed when it becomes beachfront property. In general, all three quotes seem to be saying that low income people have fewer options and are thus impacted more even though their financial loss is lower (because they have less to lose). – Brythan Aug 30 '17 at 3:23
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    This rather misses an obvious point: sea level rise is only going to be a problem within at most 100 m or so of current sea level. Plenty of US cities are located at elevations well above that. But in general, rich people can afford the best land, whether it's beachfront mansions in Miami Beach, or mountain condos in Aspen. If the land "the projects" are located on becomes attractive, of course they will be torn down and sold to people with more money - and why on Earth shouldn't they be? – jamesqf Aug 30 '17 at 4:53
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    Low cost housing is put on low cost land--less desirable land. This has nothing to do with sea level rise, but rather that in general the higher elevation land is considered more desirable--look how many fancy houses overlook the city. – Loren Pechtel Sep 1 '17 at 0:14

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