Rising Seas


The Union of Concerned Scientists recently released this report, highlighting Opa-Locka as a community in extreme danger to the risks of rising sea levels due largely to its socioeconomic status. To entire report is included here. To read the case study on Opa-Locka and Hialeah, see pages 26-27. Courtesy of the Union of Concerned Scientists. For more on the work the Union of Concerned Scientists are doing, please visit: http://www.ucsusa.org/

The city did not help to maintain black communities who settled in Opa-Locka in the late 1940s. By the early 1950s, neighborhoods in Opa-Locka were already showing signs of negligence. The construction of Interstate 95 during the late 1950s and early 1960s dug segregation's roots even deeper. In the 1960s, the Miami City Commission improved the "white slums" by building parks, libraries, water processing plants, and other amenities while simply razing homes to the ground in Opa-Locka to make room for large public housing.

It should be noted that city planners did not likely consider the impact rising sea levels would have on the future of Miami and on residents of Opa-Locka. However, this does not erase the fact that many black Miamians were relocated from Overtown to areas of lower elevation such as Opa-Locka. City planners and white residents intentionally created a segregated community by setting aside areas in Opa-Locka for black residents. The decisions from nearly 60 years ago impact the lives of those in Opa-Locka today, and may have a profound impact in the future regarding rising sea levels. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists' 2015 study, "Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas," deemed Opa-Locka a "cimate equity hotspot" because it lies near the coast, sits at low elevation (about 6 feet), and its socioeconomic status. Sea levels in the Miami area are expected to rise between 9-24 inches by 2060, creating more flood risk and threatening water supply. With a median household income of just over $20,000, Opa-Locka residents are ill-equipped to prepare for rising seas. 

To see future sea level rise projections, visit http://www.eyesontherise.org/

Eyes on the Rise emerged as an initiative among four journalism faculty members at Florida International University with the goal to raise public awareness of sea level rise through student and community engagement.  


Rising Seas