The definition of "green gentrification" is the process in which cleaning up pollution or providing green amenities increases local property values and attracts wealthier residents to a previously polluted or disenfranchised neighborhood, which displaces the low-income residents. However, "environmental gentrification" is another version of green gentrification but occurs after a natural disaster and rapidly accelerates the process of green gentrification or even traditional urban gentrification. As a result, natural disaster events magnify and accelerate the underlying socioeconomic and environmental inequality that is already in place. Natural disasters are occurring more frequently and at greater magnitudes as a result of climate change therefore accelerating the gentrification process further. This thesis focuses on two case studies in which environmental gentrification post-natural disaster has occurred or is occurring: New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina and New York City post-Hurricane Sandy. The case studies analyze the similarities and differences between various factors leading up to and after the two hurricanes that have led to environmental gentrification in both places. This thesis aims to provide a comprehensive policy recommendation of which reflects equality in all categories relating to disaster planning, mitigation, and relief efforts. Such a policy would include maintaining housing opportunities for all residents, regardless of socioeconomic class, through investments in amenities with complementary affordable housing investments to ensure long-term residents can return; holding rental housing to basic health and safety standards; and pursuing inclusive and affordable flood insurance policies. In conclusion, the ultimate goal of combating the devastating effects of environmental gentrification should be the materialization of a complete democratic vision in which the concerns of all residents are addressed through transparency, policy, and thorough research.
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