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Concerning trend divides communities into safe havens and unprotected populations: 'The segregation of the haves and the have-nots'

"The wealthy are adapting and the people who are not wealthy are being left behind."

"The wealthy are adapting and the people who are not wealthy are being left behind."

Photo Credit: Babcock Ranch

As the Earth gets hotter and natural disasters become more frequent, people are moving in droves to climate havens to escape extreme weather

Jesse Keenan, associate professor of sustainable real estate at Tulane University, told CNBC that states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota may avoid the worst weather events. 

However, fleeing communities ravaged by hurricanes or wildfires and starting over fresh somewhere else is usually a luxury only the rich can afford. Less wealthy people don't have that option and must live with whatever nature unleashes, often in homes ill-adapted to the changing climate. 

"It reinforces what we've seen in the last few years: the segregation of the haves and the have-nots," Keenan told Time Magazine. "The wealthy are adapting and the people who are not wealthy are being left behind."

Time reported that "climate-proof towns" have become more popular across the U.S. Developers have designed these planned communities, such as Babcock Ranch, Florida, to withstand extreme heatwaves, floods, windstorms, and other natural disasters. 

Babcock Ranch sits 20 miles inland and 30 feet above sea level to avoid dangerous storm surges. A community solar farm provides power for around 5,000 residents, and drainage systems specially designed for the climate keep floodwaters at bay. 

Arverne by the Sea, a master-planned and mixed-use community in Queens, New York, made it through Superstorm Sandy relatively unscathed thanks to numerous weather-resistant features like raised homes and steel framing. 

Another planned settlement in Bridgeland, Texas, includes several lakes and an extensive drainage system to manage flooding and droughts. The community is home to thousands of residents, with developers planning for 65,000 when construction is complete in 2037.

While these communities prove that incorporating resilience measures into home design can make a big difference, modern, climate-friendly homes don't come cheap. 

For example, homes for sale in Babcock Ranch start from the mid-$300,000s, similar to new homes in Bridgeland. Homes in Arverne by the Sea start at a cool $1 million, according to RE/MAX

Even though buying a new home may be out of reach for many, there are still plenty of ways to retrofit older homes. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) gives homeowners tax credits and rebates for home improvements such as better insulation, heat pumps, induction stoves, solar panels, and more.

"At a neighborhood-scale, a lot of the strategies can translate from planned communities to existing cities," Lindsay Brugger, vice president for resilience at the Urban Land Institute, a research nonprofit, told Time.

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