The cost of coastal capitalism: How greedy developers left Miami ripe for destructionRoundup
tags: capitalism, Weather, hurricanes, natural disasters
As Hurricane Irma bore down on South Florida, hundreds of thousands of people in Miami evacuated, fleeing a storm that, had it struck the city squarely, would have devastated what is now the fourth-largest urban area in America. Even though the storm slipped to the Gulf Coast side of the state, the hurricane flooded streets, shattered windows and sent giant cranes crashing into half-built high-rises.
Those cranes, a permanent feature of the rapidly expanding skyline, are symbols of the city’s ability to bounce back. But their skeletal fragments following the storm also serve as a warning: The longtime predatory practices of developers (and their partners in local government) in coastal communities like Miami have fueled racial discrimination and environmental destruction, as well as exacerbated the devastation wrought by storms like Irma and last month’s Hurricane Harvey.
Coastal communities should have heeded this warning a century ago.
When a Category 4 storm struck South Florida in 1926, it seemed to deliver a deathblow to Miami’s frenzied real estate market. “Gaping structures, tragically uncompleted, are mute reminders of ambitious schemes for apartments, casinos, country clubs,” one reporter later suggested, surveying the wreckage. All of the symbols of frenetic development had “vanished like a soap bubble.”
Not for long. No sooner had the rains stopped and floodwaters receded, than coastal capitalists ripped a page from their pre-storm playbook to rebuild South Florida’s economy. Before the storm white “land grabbers” had terrorized African Americans into selling or abandoning their properties. After the storm, the capitalists sent armed National Guardsmen into Miami’s “Colored Town” to conscript, at the barrel of a gun, black laborers in clearing debris from the choice properties along Miami Beach, where blacks were barred from living. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- The History Briefing on the 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
- History Says Bloomberg 2020 Would Be a Sure Loser
- Then and now: How Trump impeachment hearing is different
- Poland asks Netflix to make changes to documentary about Nazi death camp guard
- What is a caliph? The Islamic State tries to boost its legitimacy by hijacking a historic institution
- Historian James McPherson Interviewed by the World Socialist Web Site on History of Slavery and NYT's 1619 Project
- Black Perspectives Publishes Online Forum: "Researching, Teaching, and Embodying the Black Diaspora"
- Distinguished professor, civil war historian James I. “Bud” Robertson Jr. passes away
- Noel Ignatiev, scholar who called for abolishing whiteness, dies at 78
- Historians Elizabeth Catte, Rebecca Solnit, and Peniel Joseph Quoted in Washington Post Article, "The Democrats Are Moving Left. Will America Follow?"