Detroit will be a climate refuge for city 2100

CC BY 2.0 Russ

We knew this would probably happen. Some cities would be winners, and others would be losers as our global climate changes, seawaters rise, and the natural disasters of drought, storm, and floods pick some areas but not others for their paths of destruction.

In Tuesday's New York Times, writer Jennifer A. Kingson talks to scientists trying to predict how climate change will shape American cities.

Geography professor Camilo Mora at the University of Hawaii predicts Alaska will be the new Florida by this century's end.

Meanwhile, Clifford E. Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, says the Pacific Northwest will be a refuge for climate migrants seeking cooler temperatures and few problems with access to clean water. Seattle will come out ahead in this climate-cities sweepstakes, as will Portland, Oregon.

And Matthew E. Kahn, author and professor of environmental economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, is betting on 'elevated inland cities' in the U.S. midsection such as Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and Detroit. TreeHugger writers Lloyd Alter and John Laumer have made the case that rust belt cities near bodies of water are prime to become the next green economic centers.

In the aftermath of the bankruptcy, Detroit has gotten a lot of attention as a failing city recently for its problems running a sustainable water service to city residents. However, there are signs of hope for the city. Urban farms have been planted, the bike culture is growing, and a feeling that writers, artists, and other creatives looking for inexpensive living are flocking there. So, climate refuge by 2100? It's not impossible.

In his 2010 book Climatopolis, Kahn predicts that by the end of this century Detroit will be one of our country's most-desirable cities.

What do you think will be North America's most desirable city in 2100?

Detroit will be a climate refuge for city 2100
There are good climate-change cities, and bad climate-change cities, according to observers. Happy in Anchorage or Portland? Stay put. Hot already in droughty CA? Become a climate migrant.

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