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Selling Miami
Oct 19, 2022
Season 2 | Episode 1

Selling Miami

Miami could be underwater by the next century. Has anyone told the housing market?

Whether you live on the coast or not, sea-level rise will have profound impacts on all of us. That is why this season of “How We Survive” is all about how we will adapt (or not) to rising waters. 

So we headed to Miami, a city that is considered one of the most vulnerable coastal cities in the world. Experts say seas here could rise by 5 feet or more by 2100, eventually leaving parts of the city underwater.

But you’d never know that by looking at the housing market. During the pandemic, home prices skyrocketed. Florida’s economy is powered by real estate and the state has no income tax. Local governments depend on revenue from property taxes, which is a precarious situation to be in when billions of dollars of property is at risk from rising seas and flooding (not to mention hurricanes).

In this episode we’re asking: If Miami is doomed, why isn’t the housing market acting like it? 

To find out, we took a page from our favorite real estate reality TV show, toured some very fancy homes and talked with real estate agents about what’s going on. 

“It’s just not the driving conversation,” said real estate agent Dina Goldentayer. She said people are concerned with things that feel more immediate, “like my kids are graduating school, I’m going to be an empty nester, or I’m selling my company for half a billion and I would like to have Florida residency.”

Then there are hopeful homebuyers, like recent Florida transplant Lisa Reaves, who moved to Miami from New York to take advantage of the lower taxes. “I’m in my 50s,” she said. “I’d be concerned if I left [a house] for my daughter, for example. I’ll be gone by the time it would impact me.” It was easy to feel that way until the first big storm of the summer came roaring through. 

In this episode, we go behind the glamour shot, past the picture-perfect homes on the water to find out what rising seas will mean for the many people in Miami who are already dealing with the consequences of rising seas.  

How We Survive Season 2 Episode 1 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.


Amy Scott: Just a note before we dive into the show, we know this is a really hard time in South Florida. We get into the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in the prologue. If you haven’t heard it already, go back and take a listen.


Caitlin Esch: Is this one of the more beautiful places you’ve had Marketplace send you?

Amy Scott: Yeah, I would say this is one of the more glamorous professional assignments I’ve had.

Amy Scott: It’s June, and I’m in Miami with my producer Caitlin, reporting on climate change and the housing market here. So naturally, I had to at least check out the beach. You know, for research.

Amy Scott: Do I have beach hair?

Caitlin Esch: Yeah, you do.

Amy Scott: I’ve spent more than 20 years reporting on the economy, how it works and why it doesn’t work for so many people. For the last several years, I focused on housing, because in case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a little nuts lately. Especially in Miami, where prices have been rising faster than almost anywhere else in the country.

And of course, everyone wants to live on the water. So when I saw some builders working on a beachfront property, I have to talk to them.

Amy Scott: Yeah, will you show us what you’re building? (kid chatter) Tell us about it. (kid chatter “we found in the ocean”)

Amy Scott: Three kids are digging a big hole, building these little mounds and decorating them with found objects.

Amy Scott: And what else, a can?

Kid: Sea shells. And these, it’s like a volcano, but it’s a waterpark.

Amy Scott: It’s a waterpark? How fun. So what happens if a wave comes up and knocks it down?

Kid: We build it again. Yeah.

Amy Scott: Will you be sad if it gets knocked down? But like you said, you can build it again.

Caitlin Esch: Build it higher and stronger.

Amy Scott: Yeah.

Caitlin Esch: Let’s juice this metaphor.

Amy Scott: Totally. Till the very end.

Amy Scott: Just like these kids, Miami is in Build Mode. The construction cranes are everywhere in the city. But below the surface, there’s trouble brewing. As our planet heats up, rising seas are coming from Miami.

Speaker 1: There could be not just two or three feet by the end of the century, but six or more feet.

Speaker 2: I don’t see every community making it.

Speaker 3: We have maybe 20, 30 good years left, I don’t know.

Amy Scott: Yeah, it’s pretty scary. With 6 million people in the metro area living at an average of just six feet above sea level, Miami has been called the most vulnerable coastal city in the world. Sea level rise will cause death, displacement and economic devastation. And yes, if you talk to real estate agents here, it’s like, sea level rise? What sea level rise?

Amy Scott: Do your clients ever ask you about that?

Dina Goldentayer: No.

Nathan Zeder: Sea level rise is not something that has been brought up much during the pandemic.

Melva Garcia: Not a single question.

Dina Goldentayer: It’s just not the driving conversation.

Maya Vander: Oh, they don’t care. They just want to be on the water and I get it. It’s beautiful. It’s sexy, until there is a storm.

Amy Scott: I’m Amy Scott, welcome to How We Survive, a podcast for Marketplace where we’re following the money to the end of the world. In this case, South Florida. This season, we’re finding out how we’re going to survive rising sea levels, because it’s not just Miami that’s in trouble. And how the city responds will serve as a test case for how other places around the country survive the effects of climate change. This is episode one: Selling Miami.

Florida’s economy is powered by real estate and people have flocked here during the pandemic, drawn by the weather, the lax approach to COVID, and the low taxes. Florida has no income tax. Local governments depend on revenue from property taxes. And that’s a precarious situation when billions of dollars in property is at risk from rising seas, flooding and hurricanes. The climate crisis is playing out now in South Florida. It’s not some distant future. So in this episode, we’re asking if Miami is doomed, why isn’t the housing markets acting like it? And what happens when the water comes?

To successfully sell real estate in Miami, it helps to embody the glamour and glitz of the homes you’re showcasing. And no one does it better than Dina Goldentayer. She’s an agent with Douglas Elliman who specializes in ultra-luxury properties – anything above $10 million.

Archival: I’m Dina Goldentayer. Step inside with me…

Amy Scott: This is a clip from Dina’s YouTube channel. Images of ocean-front estates and sky-high condos flash on the screen, along with their multimillion-dollar price tags. She did more than $750 million in deals last year, with her long bleached blonde hair and frequent outfit changes, Dina looks like she just strutted off the runway, then into a Miami Beach penthouse. At one point she’s walking down a hallway with sleek black tiling, mouthing the word “hot”. In real life, Dina carries herself with the same authority and flair.

Dina Goldentayer: Come on in. Welcome, this is our –

Amy Scott: Thank you.

Dina Goldentayer: – little humble abode.

Amy Scott: I’m at her office in South Beach, a block from the ocean. She offers me a comfy chair while she shoos her staff away.

Dina Goldentayer: All right, everybody, phones on silence. And don’t come out because that door scrapes. So stay in your beautiful glass cages.

Amy Scott: Don’t worry, the cages are just offices with big windows.

Dina Goldentayer: Okay, let’s see.

Amy Scott: Dina pulls up her laptop so we can browse some of the listings on her website.

Dina Goldentayer: So at the very top end of my current listings is a home on Indian Creek village, which is known as America’s billionaire bunker. It’s home to people like Tom and Giselle, Ivanka and Jared, Carl Icahn. It’s probably the most exclusive community in the country.

Amy Scott: Yeah, no big deal. Dina sells waterfront property. So you might think she and her clients would be wary of the encroaching seas. Not far from where we’re sitting, a tide gauge at Virginia Key has measured six inches of sea level rise in the last 25 years. Experts are predicting at least a foot more in the next 25 or so.

Amy Scott: Do your clients ask about you know, is this building safe? Is it going to be underwater in 30 years?

Dina Goldentayer: It’s just not the driving conversation. I’m not sure exactly, but I definitely think that the timing of the issue does seem far off. Where some people are thinking about things more closer in time, like my kids are graduating school, I’m going to be an empty nester, or I’m selling my company for half a billion and I would like to have Florida residency. You know, while I certainly don’t want to downplay it, it’s just not a question that I’m posed often.

Amy Scott: After talking with Dina, I toured a handful of coastal properties and heard the same thing over and over again from other agents. People really want to live here, and I can see why.

Melva Garcia: This view at night is just phenomenal. Just absolutely gorgeous.

Maya Vander: The weather is like amazing.

Dina Goldentayer: You walk out to your backyard and that is a private beach.

Nathan Zeder: For me, the water is cathartic. I think it’s the best asset any city can have.

Amy Scott: That asset can also be a huge liability. Rising seas bring higher storm surge along the coast. So-called sunny day flooding during high tides is getting more common. Because Miami is built on porous limestone, the water doesn’t just crash over sea walls. It seeps up from underground. And when storm water has nowhere to go, even inland areas flood. It’s a big problem. First Street Foundation, a nonprofit climate research group says that 60% of properties in Miami are at risk of being severely affected by flooding in the next 30 years.

And you can look up any address in the country on their website. It’s called risk factor. So I thought I’d do some coastal property comparison shopping.

Hayley Hershman: Okay.

Amy Scott: And I knew just the right person to join me: my producer Haley, who loves real estate reality TV.

Hayley Hershman: This is a very sophisticated website. Oh my gosh.

Amy Scott: First we scroll through some of Dina’s listings.

Hayley Hershman: Oh, you know, this property is described as a compound. You don’t happen to watch Selling Sunset, do you?

Amy Scott: No.

Hayley Hershman: Well, in one season that, I think the line was like, millionaires get mansions, billionaires get compounds.

Amy Scott: We check out a more modest $30 million concrete and glass house perched right on Biscayne Bay, and then type the address into risk factor.

Amy Scott: Oh my god. Okay. Guess what the percentage likelihood of floodwater reaching this building in 30 years is?

Hayley Hershman: I think there’s an 88% chance.

Amy Scott: Not bad, really. It’s 99%. 99% chance of floodwater reaching this building in 30 years.

Hayley Hershman: Wow, that’s really sad.

Amy Scott: We go back and forth on properties for a while. Basically, every listing we look at has a 99% chance of flooding in 30 years.

Hayley Hershman: Okay. 35 million this sold. Miami Beach, Florida. Okay, okay, let’s make this harder. What do you think in five years? What’s the percentage?

Amy Scott: Oh, gosh. 80%.

Hayley Hershman: 70%.

Amy Scott: 70%?

Hayley Hershman: Yeah, not too bad.

Amy Scott: I’m not going to take those odds.

Amy Scott: But there are plenty of people who are willing to take the gamble.

Amy Scott: When did you move here?

Lisa Reaves: Six weeks ago.

Amy Scott: This is Lisa Reeves. I met her on the 44th floor of a high rise in downtown Miami. The one bedroom condo she’s renting is about to go on the market for $850,000.

Amy Scott: Oh, wow, look at that bathtub.

Amy Scott: Lisa graciously lets me look around with a real estate agent. It’s a beautiful place, with high ceilings and big windows with views of Biscayne Bay. My favorite part was the giant black and white portrait of a lion hanging over the bed. When I was there, Lisa was on her laptop and all black athleisure with black platform slippers. She works remotely for Microsoft.

Amy Scott: What brought you here?

Lisa Reaves: No state income tax, to be candid. Because I came from New York. I was there 27 years and it was time for a change. And the taxes in New York are extremely high.

Amy Scott: Again, Florida has no income tax. It’s one of the big draws for a lot of people. But Lisa also couldn’t justify buying a house while the market was this hot.

Lisa Reaves: I’m not gonna buy now. Because I feel like I’m buying at the top of the market. So I want to wait a year and see things level off a little bit. Although I’m not sure a year is gonna be long enough.

Amy Scott: What about sea level rise? You know, Miami is obviously right on the water and people are predicting…

Lisa Reaves: Okay, so I’m in my 50s. So for me, I’m not that concerned about it. I’d be concerned if I left it for my daughter, for example. It’s a slow thing. You know, that’s progressing, I think. It’s a big concern over time, but I’ll be gone by the time it probably impacts. It wouldn’t impact me. I don’t think it will.

Amy Scott: So given all the investment, I mean, you see the cranes everywhere, these buildings getting built, it seems like generally people aren’t that worried. I don’t know if it’s too far in the future for their mindset, or they think it’s gonna get fixed. I don’t know.

Lisa Reaves: I think it’s – I do not think it is a worry short term to most people.

Amy Scott: I’ve been steeped in climate news and research for months and the threats coming from Miami and for the rest of us eventually feel very real and terrifying to me. So to hear multiple people say, ehhh (shrug)? It left me with a lot of questions. Like, what the hell’s going on?

Amy Scott: Does that surprise you?

Risa Palm: No. That’s exactly what we found. That’s exactly what we found.

Amy Scott: That’s Risa Palm. She’s an Urban Studies professor at Georgia State University. A couple of years ago, she and her team surveyed almost 700 real estate agents in South Florida about how sea level rise was affecting the market. And just like all the agents I talked to, they said, it really wasn’t. Now, there’s some psychology happening here. Risa says humans have a tendency to prioritize information that suits us and reject that which does not. If you’ve always dreamed of living on the waterfront, it’s not really convenient to start thinking about your investment washing away. It’s called motivated reasoning. Something Risa says is especially potent among real estate agents in Miami, who are in the business of selling real estate after all, not talking people out of buying it.

Risa Palm: Their profession is to list and sell houses. We can’t expect them to be geography teachers. No.

Amy Scott: I should point out here that Miami builds with flooding and hurricanes in mind. Florida has some of the strictest building codes in the country. New homes have to be built stronger, and if they’re in a flood zone, higher. It’s common for the ground floor of these new homes to be considered uninsurable space because it’s designed to be flooded. I mean, it’s not even a question of IF it’ll happen. But Risa says the vast majority of houses were built before these codes were written. And even the most resilient house is not a great place to be if your street’s underwater and your communities been torn apart by a hurricane. Still, when she showed coastal homeowners maps of their neighborhood and what flooding could actually look like in the coming years? Even then, they didn’t really flinch.

Amy Scott: What’s the disconnect there?

Risa Palm: First of all, I think people are optimistic, that the people in Florida have had every reason to be optimistic, because they’ve heard and it’s true that the housing market has been very hot, that people who try to sell houses are getting multiple offers, they’re getting offers over the price that they’re asking. And so they’re able to sell their houses. So they have no reason to believe that just because somebody comes up with some sort of map, that’s going to have any kind of impact on them personally.

Amy Scott: Okay, the housing market has been hot. But what about in the coming decades when flooding is worse? Isn’t homeownership supposed to be a long term investment? The most popular mortgage after all, is a 30-year loan. But Risa says the reality is that most people don’t stay in a house for 30 years. Typically, it’s more like eight years.

Risa Palm: The timeframe is just not a 20-year or 30-year timeframe, people are not thinking in those terms.

Amy Scott: And in a way, who can blame them? There’s a whole system that enables people to keep living and building in flood zones. From subsidized flood insurance and government backed mortgages to local zoning rules. And when you look at the highest end of the market, those ultra-luxury houses on the beach?

Jesse Keenan: A lot of people can simply throw their money away, because they can afford to.

Amy Scott: Jesse Keenan is an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University. He used to live in Miami and comes from a long line of Floridians. And maybe like me, you’re asking yourself, okay, so what if wealthy people want to keep living on the coast, even if they lose their house or have to put up with regular flooding? They can afford it. But Jesse says it’s not just their problem.

Jesse Keenan: It has impacts for all of us and all of the people in Miami and South Florida because you have to pay for the infrastructure to support those properties. And that infrastructure is increasingly becoming very, very expensive.

Amy Scott: Infrastructure like pumping stations, sewer systems that corrode and salt water, roads that get washed out and have to be elevated. Then there’s the rising cost of disaster relief. When the worst happens and a hurricane or big flood hits, taxpayers end up footing a lot of the bill. The federal government spent more than $110 billion on aid after Hurricane Katrina. Nearly 40% of the US population lives near the coast. And when we keep building and investing in housing that’s increasingly in harm’s way? We all end up paying for it. Jesse says the market isn’t totally ignoring climate change, though. In 2018, he and some colleagues published a paper looking at the relationship between home prices and elevation in Miami Dade County, going back to 1972. The lower the elevation, generally speaking, the higher the risk of flooding.

Jesse Keenan: And our theory was that the properties at the lowest elevation would simply not perform as well. Didn’t necessarily mean that they would go down in value, but they would be – the market would begin to discount the risk of flooding.

Amy Scott: They were right.

Jesse Keenan: What we saw is around the year 2000, the lowest elevation properties began to underperform all other properties. And over time, that signal became more and more robust.

Amy Scott: In other words, properties in riskier areas aren’t appreciating as quickly as properties in less risky areas. And Other research shows sales have fallen in parts of coastal Florida that are more vulnerable to sea level rise.

Jesse Keenan: So slowly but surely, we’re getting more robust information and data that suggests that consumers are beginning to be more aware and make decisions accordingly.

Amy Scott: Jesse thinks the market has peaked and home prices eventually will fall across South Florida. Not just because of climate change. Mortgage rates have spiked in the months I’ve been reporting. And a lot of homeowners are starting to ponder what feels like an inevitable question: when do I sell?

Jesse Keenan: I think the better question is when do I buy? And my answer is never.

Amy Scott: Yikes, noted. So far, I’ve been in Miami tourist mode. The beach, the fancy homes, I didn’t even tell you about the welcome bellini at the hotel. I admit it! I got sucked in! And I kind of get why if you have the means to live in paradise for as long as it lasts. Maybe it makes perfect sense to be here. But the majority of people in Miami don’t have this luxury. More than 60% of the population is considered poor or working poor. And for a lot of people, climate change isn’t some distant threat. It’s already here.

Day Smith: If these walls could talk, they would have a very, very horrific story to tell.

Amy Scott: A glimpse behind the glamour shot. After the break.




Amy Scott: A few weeks after my first trip to Miami, the city got its first big storm of the summer.

Archival: South Florida drying out after a day of downpour… tropical disturbance bringing so much rain even a foot of flooding in some areas yesterday… leaving cars and drivers stranded in knee-deep water… this is past my knees, and I’m not a short person.

Amy Scott: Some of the worst flooding happened downtown, right where I’d met Lisa Reeves, the woman who had just moved to Miami from New York and wasn’t that worried about sea level rise in the near future. So I called her up to check in.

Lisa Reaves: You know, I did a pretty good job of staying indoors for the most part. However, I did venture out at one point and it was massively flooded. Cars were literally, the water was completely up to the window, which is obviously extremely dangerous. There were a couple of cars floating. And I saw almost every shopkeeper had sandbags in front of their storefronts. But the sandbags did not hold up.

Amy Scott: So did you think about our conversation? I mean, we had just been talking about climate change, and…

Lisa Reaves: It did pass through my mind. And I think when we had the conversation, I wasn’t overly concerned. I think as years go by, things are going to get worse and worse. So it does make me more concerned than I was, let’s put it that way.

Amy Scott: Does it make you think any differently about buying a property in Miami or where you might want to buy one?

Lisa Reaves: It certainly does from a very specific local location. I wouldn’t want to be right on the beach anymore.

Amy Scott: Lisa had something else on her mind: Champlain Towers South. Remember that’s the beachfront condo building that collapsed last year in the nearby town of Surfside. It killed 98 people. The investigation into what caused the collapse is ongoing. Research suggests sea level rise might have played a role in deteriorating the foundation of the building. Saltwater is corrosive and can weaken steel and other building materials. Now wading through nearly knee deep water to get to the grocery store. It all felt way more real to Lisa.

Lisa Reaves: I’ve not been here three months yet. So hopefully this isn’t a sign of a lot of storms to come. But they are predicting, if I’m hearing it correctly on the news, 10 storms between now and the end of hurricane season, potentially 10. So that sounds quite high to me. That’s concerning.

Amy Scott: Do you think going through that 10 times or something like that would make you reconsider living in Miami?

Lisa Reaves: I wouldn’t want to live in this year round. Let’s put it that way.

Amy Scott: Most people in Miami do live here year round. Just a few miles inland from Lisa and the high rises of downtown is Little River, a neighborhood named for the canal that runs along its northern edge. It’s a working class mostly black and Latinx community. And that’s by design. The city’s history of redlining and segregation forced people of color to live away from the coast. The area used to be agricultural land, but now modest houses and apartment buildings line the streets. And while the first storm of the season might have burst Lisa’s bubble a bit, for people in Little River, that bubble burst a long time ago.

Day Smith: Every hard rain brings some flooding.

Amy Scott: A few weeks after that storm I met Day Smith – Day is a nickname which we’re using because she’s a first responder and is worried about her privacy. She lives in a low-lying part of little river, just a block from the canal.

Amy Scott: So this is your street right up front?

Day Smith: Yeah, as you can see, it looks like you could row a boat down it, maybe a canoe.

Amy Scott: She’s showing me pictures and videos she took of the damage from the latest storm. This time the water didn’t stop at the front step, it seeped into the house and rose several inches.

Day Smith: My daughter’s room.

Amy Scott: She’s basically pushing the water with a broom.

Amy Scott: This is not what she envisioned back in 2006, when she first saw the little white house with its terracotta roof and lush front yard.

Day Smith: I remember the beauty of the backdrop of the house and the tall foxtail palm trees that towered behind the home.

Amy Scott: It’s just 1000 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom, but it was affordable. And back then all she saw was possibility.

Day Smith: I was saying to myself, wow. And it’s this close to the beach, this close to downtown and it’s this close to the highway. This is like a little piece of gold. I think I can turn this little tiny cottage into something comfortable.

Amy Scott: So she put down an offer, signed the papers and moved in.

Day Smith: My mother never owned a home. And so, for me this was a major accomplishment, to buy this home and to call it mine. But little did I know what I was going to experience.

Amy Scott: Miami Dade County where Day lives requires sellers to disclose whether the home is in a flood zone. So she should have received that form when she signed all the papers. Plus, to qualify for a mortgage, she had to buy flood insurance.

Day Smith: I knew what flooding was, but I had no idea that it was going to be this severe.

Amy Scott: If she had known, she says she never would have bought the house. During one hurricane, her next-door neighbor lost his dog in the flood. And the neighbor two doors down?

Day Smith: She was up to her neck in water. And at that time, there was no way that she could have called for help. So she just had to basically hold on and wait it out.

Amy Scott: Plus, years of consistent water damage is contributing to serious health issues for a lot of the community.

Day Smith: The lady across the street, as it is, cannot walk around her house without a mask on, simply because the mold and mildew is too much.

Amy Scott: Standing water breeding mosquitoes and mud is a regular nuisance.

Day Smith: We have a daycare right down the street here on the same block. And they have been unable to allow the children to play outside on a regular basis, because of the puddles that stay settled for days and the water that does not drain properly.

Amy Scott: County officials are aware of the problems in Little River. Miami Dade Office of Resilience has designated the community as an Adaptation Action Area. It’s working with residents to develop plans to improve drainage, replace failing septic systems ,and elevate roads and buildings. But Day would like them to move faster. The whole thing has turned her into an advocate for her community. She’s been interviewing her neighbors and researching housing solutions on her own, like retaining walls and rain gardens. She even made a PowerPoint of her suggestions to share with the resilience office.

Amy Scott: So you presented this to the county and what did they say?

Day Smith: They were really pleasantly surprised. They were very open, very receptive to my ideas. And they even asked if they could save the PowerPoint.

Amy Scott: For now, they told her they’re looking into possible solutions and funding.

Day Smith: We’re not asking for a-million-dollar home. But what we would like is to have a safe and decent home, on higher ground, and to be able to allow our kids to go out into the backyards and play, to be able to flush our toilets and take showers, nice long, long hot showers, and to be able to enjoy our homes, just like anyone else who might be on a bigger tax bracket than us.

Amy Scott: But Day also knows she can’t wait forever.

Amy Scott: Do you ever think about leaving?

Day Smith: I have thought about leaving. The situation has been frustrating. But in this economy, where exactly would I go?

Amy Scott: Remember the crazy housing market? She says she’d probably have to look far away to find a decent place that she could afford.

Day Smith: And I don’t know if that exists anymore. So that’s one of the biggest reasons why I haven’t left. The other reason is because I have hope.

Amy Scott: When I think about Miami, I’m reminded of those 3D postcards and refrigerator magnets you see in souvenir shops. You know, the shimmery ones where the picture changes if you tilt it slightly? Maybe the shark opens its mouth or the city skyline shifts from day to night. Miami is kind of like that. There’s the glamorous Miami, the luxury waterfront condos and sparkling beaches and nightlife, a place where the wealthy can throw money away on houses that will be underwater in a few decades. But change the angle and you’ll see the not so glamorous side, where lower income people face an increasingly dire future. Something Jesse Keenan at Tulane said stuck with me. When I asked him why the housing market is booming in a city that’s doomed.

Jesse Keenan: I think it’s an overstatement to say that Miami is doomed. I think it’s a better way to think about the future of Miami is that it’s just going to be a very different place for a very different population. Miami is one of the most grossly unequal places in all of America, the wealthy are extremely wealthy and the poor are extremely poor. The costs of climate change are enormous in a city like Miami, and people will no longer be able to afford to live there. There won’t be enough land, there won’t be enough housing or be too expensive, and the population will decline. The city will change. It will never be the city as we know it today.

Amy Scott: Miami is going to change; that much we know. But we also know that people are going to keep living here. So how do we make it as livable as possible?

Speaker 4: We are a living laboratory for climate change. We’re facing this now.

Amy Scott: That’s what this season is all about.

Speaker 5: Water will find a way. You gotta figure out a way to live with it.

Amy Scott: From living with the water to defending against it.

Speaker 6: We are building strong and effective and keeping Mother Nature out.

Amy Scott: We went on the hunt for solutions. And over the next few months. I’m taking you with me.

Amy Scott: Alright, we’re about to go python-ing, right? Let’s go python-ing.

Speaker 7: There’s a snake. There’s a snake.

Amy Scott: Into some buildings that seem to defy gravity.

Speaker 8: All of our homes are raised. Everybody says our homes float.

Amy Scott: To a lab where they destroy houses on purpose.

Speaker 6: And then there goes the air compressor.

Amy Scott: What a fun job just hurling stuff at a wall.

Amy Scott: And even a thousand feet up in the air.

Amy Scott: Oh yeah, I’m starting to feel a little woozy. How are you doing, Caitlyn? Good?

Caitlin Esch: Did I mention I’m afraid of heights?

Amy Scott: All that and more, coming up on How We Survive.

The team and I would really love to hear from you. If you have questions about any of this. What’s happening in Florida, what you wonder about sea level rise, or maybe you want me and Hayley to look up your houses flood risks? Whatever it is, send it our way. We’re going to devote a whole episode to y’all later in the season. You can email us at survive@marketplace.org.

How We Survive is hosted by me, Amy Scott. Hayley Hirshman produced this episode, with production help from Grace Rubin and Olivia Zhao. Caitlin Esch is our Senior Producer. Our editor is Jasmine Romero. Sound design by Chris Julin and audio engineering by Brian Allison. Our theme music is by Wonderly. Special thanks this week to Catherine Winter, Peter Balonon Rosen, Janet Ngyuen and Marque Greene. And to the other real estate agents we heard from, Melva Garcia, Nathan Zeder and Maya Vander. Donna Tam is the Director of On Demand. Francesca Levy is the Executive Director and Neil Scarborough is the General Manager of Marketplace.

The team

Amy Scott Host
Caitlin Esch Senior Producer
Hayley Hershman Producer
Grace Rubin Assistant Producer