RAZING LIBERTY SQUARE spotlights Climate Gentrification

White sand beaches, crystal blue water, trendy restaurants and clubs alongside luxury beachfront property with the beach within feet of your front door. Miami is such a premier destination. But in 2017, Hurricane Irma swept through the city, causing billions of dollars in damage to these sought-after properties. Meanwhile, lower-income inland neighborhoods like Little Haiti and Liberty City were battered but somewhat protected from flooding and winds by their elevation and distance from the coast.

These neighborhoods have historically been seen as undesirable by real estate developers and affluent homebuyers. But their climate resilience, especially at higher grounds, not affected by rising sea levels, may lead to an influx of real estate investment and spiking home prices as the changing climate starts playing a bigger role in determining where and how we live. This phenomenon, known as “climate gentrification,” will not only exacerbate inequality in cities already plagued by housing shortages and socioeconomic inequity, but also puts vulnerable populations right in the path of impending natural disasters.

Climate gentrification is a result of climate migration, changes in populations due to environmental changes caused by climate change, in which certain lower-socioeconomic communities are displaced place of housing for more wealthy communities.

HIFF43’s GREEN SCREEN has several films that chronicle climate gentrification including Katja Esson’s RAZING LIBERTY SQUARE that captures the fight of the Liberty City community in Miami. This film is also nominated for the Festival main competition, the KAU KA HŌKŪ Award. Esson will be at her first screening on October 17, 6:00pm at Consolidated Kahala Theaters. Dr. Akiemi Glenn, founder of The Pōpolo Project, will moderate the after-film Q&A.

In addition, as part of our HIFILM Industry Hub, we will have a FREE panel called NATIVE RECKONING: THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE GENTRIFICATION about this topic, bringing in more perspectives including Kānaka Maoli. This panel is scheduled for October 19, 4:30pm at Entrepreneurs’ Sandbox.

Check out HIFF43’s GREEN SCREEN section that has more films that deal with climate gentrification. Suggestions include ABOVE AND BELOW THE GROUND, the ENVIRONMENTAL SHORTS; also UNCLE BULLY’S SURF SKOOL, which just screened on Opening Night and is scheduled on all participating venues during the Neighbor Island portion of the Festival.


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