Sea Level Rise in Miami Beach: Vulnerability and Real Estate Exposure

Zella Ann Conyers, Richard Grant, Shouraseni Sen Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Sea level rise threatens coastal communities throughout the United States, and South Florida is on the front line. The iconic and built-up city of Miami Beach, Florida, has a well-developed, high-value property market, and the municipality has been lauded for proactively taking action to adapt to anticipated sea level rise. Moving beyond hyperbole and piecemeal evidence, we compile a comprehensive inventory of adaptation and mitigation measures implemented by various municipal agencies. We employ these data sets to measure exposure and readiness for the entire city and make a preliminary effort to develop a city vulnerability index. Our findings reveal that exposure throughout the city is high and that readiness is concentrated near stormwater drainage systems, leading to high vulnerability along the coast. When we compare the spatial patterns of the vulnerability index and the residential property values, we find a mismatch. The most vulnerable regions are characterized by high income, transiency, and an apparent unresponsiveness to sea level rise. No doubt our findings illustrate a lag effect, but if sea level rise increases, the real estate market could reach a tipping point unless state and federal agencies also fund more comprehensive adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-291
Number of pages14
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Miami Beach
  • exposure
  • property values
  • readiness
  • sea level rise
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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