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Category Archives: Housing

The Flooding Will Come “No Matter What”

ProPublica – The complex, contradictory and heartbreaking process of American climate migration is underway –  “This article is an excerpt from the book “On The Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America,” about climate migration in the U.S. For more, see “Another great American migration is now underway, this time forced by the warming that is altering how and where people can live. For now, it’s just a trickle. But in the corners of the country’s most vulnerable landscapes — on the shores of its sinking bayous and on the eroding bluffs of its coastal defenses — populations are already in disarray…People have always moved as their environment has changed. But today, the climate is warming faster, and the population is larger, than at any point in history. As the U.S. gets hotter, its coastal waters rise higher, its wildfires burn larger and its droughts last longer, the notion that humankind can triumph over nature is fading, and with it, slowly, goes the belief that self-determination and personal preference can be the driving factors in choosing where to live. Scientific modeling of these pressures suggest a sweeping change is coming in the shape and location of communities across America, a change that promises to transform the country’s politics, culture and economy. It has already begun. More Americans are displaced by catastrophic climate-change-driven storms and floods and fires every year. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the global nongovernmental organization researchers rely on to measure the number of people forcibly cast out of their homes by natural disasters, counted very few displaced Americans in 2009, 2010 and 2011, years in which few natural disasters struck the United States. But by 2016 the numbers had begun to surge, with between 1 million and 1.7 million newly displaced people annually. The disasters and heat waves each year have become legion. But the statistics show the human side of what has appeared to be a turning point in both the severity and frequency of wildfires and hurricanes. As the number of displaced people continues to grow, an ever-larger portion of those affected will make their moves permanent, migrating to safer ground or supportive communities. They will do so either because a singular disaster like the 2018 wildfire in Paradise, California — or Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Texas and Louisiana coasts — is so destructive it forces them to, or because the subtler “slow onset” change in their surroundings gradually grows so intolerable, uncomfortable or inconvenient that they make the decision to leave, proactively, by choice. In a 2021 study published in the journal Climatic Change, researchers found that 57% of the Americans they surveyed believed that changes in their climate would push them to consider a move sometime in the next decade…”

Mapping America’s access to nature, neighborhood by neighborhood

Washington Post – “A city is a science experiment. What happens when we separate human beings from the environment in which they evolved? Can people be healthy without nature? The results have been bleak. Countless studies have shown that people who spend less time in nature die younger and suffer higher rates of mental and… Continue Reading

Home Insurance Rates to Rise 6% in 2024 After 20% Increase in Last 2 Years

Insurify: “Home insurance rates are rising, influenced by climate catastrophes and inflation, leaving homeowners uncertain about future expenses. The average annual rate increased by 19.8% between 2021 and 2023, from $1,984 to $2,377.  Insurify projects a 6% increase in 2024, placing rates at $2,522 by the end of the year. Early weather forecasts predict a… Continue Reading

Historical Settlement Data Compilation for the United States

Harvard Dataverse: “The Historical Settlement Data Compilation for the United States (HISDAC-US) contains historical gridded settlement layers derived from property records compiled in the Zillow Transaction and Assessment Dataset (ZTRAX). HISDAC-US describes the built environment of most of the conterminous United States back to 1810 at fine temporal (5 years) and spatial (250 m) granularity… Continue Reading

Redfin rolls out new AI assistant tool that answers homebuyer questions

GeekWire: “Redfin wants to help answer homebuyer questions in a more efficient way with the assistance of AI. The real estate giant is rolling out a new generative AI-powered virtual assistant called “Ask Redfin” that can quickly answer questions about a particular home listing. The tool combines the latest in large language model technology with… Continue Reading

US Census Bureau purposely fudges location data in census to protect people’s privacy

Via Kottke – The U.S. Census Is Wrong on Purpose: “…Full census data is only made available 72 years after the census takes place, in accordance with the creatively-named “72 year rule.” Until then, it is only available as aggregated data with individual identifiers removed. Still, if the population of a town is small enough,… Continue Reading

The East Coast Is Sinking

The New York Times interactive [read free] – “New satellite-based research reveals how land along the coast is slumping into the ocean, compounding the danger from global sea level rise. A major culprit: overpumping of groundwater. The most vulnerable areas of Boston have been sinking up to 3.8 centimeters per decade, which adds up to… Continue Reading

These States Are Basically Begging You to Get a Heat Pump

Wired [read free]: “You need a heat pump, ASAP. Now nine states are teaming up to accelerate the adoption of this climate superhero. Nine states have signed a memorandum of understanding that says that heat pumps should make up at least 65 percent of residential heating, air conditioning, and water-heating shipments by 2030. (“Shipments” here… Continue Reading

Good AI Legal Help, Bad AI Legal Help: Establishing quality standards for response to people’s legal problem stories

Hagan, Margaret, Good AI Legal Help, Bad AI Legal Help: Establishing quality standards for response to people’s legal problem stories (November 21, 2023). Available at SSRN: “Much has been made of generative AI models’ ability to perform legal tasks or pass legal exams, but a more important question for public policy is whether AI… Continue Reading

“We Buy Ugly Houses” Company Overhauls Policies in the Wake of ProPublica Investigation

ProPublica: “HomeVestors of America, the self-described largest home buyer in the country, is continuing to reform some of its business practices in the wake of a ProPublica investigation last year that revealed predatory tactics used by the company’s franchises toward homeowners in vulnerable situations. The company’s 1,100 “We Buy Ugly Houses” franchises will now be… Continue Reading