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The Week’s Hottest Real Estate Listings, Ranked by Climate Risk

Including apartments owned by Rihanna and Pete Davidson featured in Architectural Digest and the New York Post

Pete Davidson, Rihanna.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Ever check out a real estate listing on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Spaces, or Architectural Digest and wonder how that sleek home will fare in a few decades? I have you covered.

In partnership with Habitable, a climate real estate platform I founded, Heatmap is adding a simple climate risk score to put listings featured around the web every week in the context of climate risk. Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

I’ve applied the Habitable Index to some notable real estate finds this week, including apartments owned by Pete Davidson and Rihanna. Read on for our list of most habitable to least habitable listings.

1. Modern, temperate bachelor pad in Michigan

Michigan home Studi-O-Snap/Signature Sotheby’s International Realty

Nice modern home in the exclusive Oxford Michigan neighborhood north of Detroit on the Detroit river. No risk for any floods, drought, or fire. The faint heat risk is likely kept in check by the tree canopies.. On 21 acres. Listed for $1,399,000 and featured at Dwell.

2. Williamsburg Loft that is not about to lose its cool

Williamsburg loftCompass

A 2 BR renovated loft in a former shoe polish factory, now the Esquire Building, has panoramic views across the Manhattan skyline to the Empire State Building. The pad is astonishingly climate resilient and rare for Brooklyn, no flood risk and only a high heat risk typical for New York City but the brick walls will keep inside temperatures cool. Listed at $4,650,000 by The Creatives Agent for Compass New York. Featured on the popular Instagram account The Creatives Agent:

3. Massive estate with minimal risk

Four ChimneysKurfiss Sotheby’s International Real Estate

Four Chimneys and 44 blissful climate-proof acres, this estate has minimal risk for floods, fires or drought and even the heat risk is moderate for the region. Listed at $14,500,000 and featured on WSJ.

4. Rihanna’s new L.A. apartment leaves her high and dry.

The CenturyRobert A.M. Stern Architects

Rihanna bought a 40th floor apartment in Century City (upstairs from where she now lives) for $21 million negotiating $8 million off asking price. It’s a high price to pay for high drought risk but I’m sure they can find a friendly helicopter to drop off water. Featured at Architectural Digestand the New York Post.

5. Location! Views. No water anywhere.

Palm Springs shack. 29 Palms Realty

This curious 300 sq. ft shack on five desert acres outside of Palm Springs has no water, power, or heating and has a 10/10 risk for drought. The price was cut by $10k to $55,000 cash. The price might be low, but so is the upside. Featured in The Spaces.

6. Does the King of Staten Island know how to swim?

Staten Island condo.Zillow.

Pete Davidson dropped $200k off the asking price of his Staten Island Condo. For $1.1 m, the comedian will be leaving the place high and dry — since the building has severe flood risk and decent risk for drought. Featured in the New York Post.

7. Remodeled trailer with stunning climate risk.

Malibu trailer.Compass.

The Wall Street Journal story wrote about most expensive trailer park in America where buyers pay stratospheric prices for tiny homes on a secluded Malibu California surfing beach. The renovated mobile home that just went for sale for $3,995,000 is amazingly uninhabitable long term, maxing out with severe risk scores for flood, drought, and fire.

Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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Boston’s Big Dig Was Secretly Great

A podcast by GBH News reporter Ian Coss gives this notorious project a long-overdue reappraisal. Bonus: The show comes with lessons for climate infrastructure projects of the future.

Boston being dug by a backhoe.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

If you’ve lived in Massachusetts at any point in the last 50 years, you’ve heard of the Big Dig. It’s infamous — a tunnel project that was supposed to bury an elevated highway in Boston to the tune of $2 billion that eventually ballooned in cost to $15 billion and took a quarter of a century to finish.

The Big Dig was more than just a highway project, though. It was a monumental effort that Ian Coss, a reporter at GBH News, calls a “renovation of downtown Boston.” The project built tunnels and bridges, yes, but it also created parks, public spaces, and mass transit options that transformed the city. In a nine-episode podcast series appropriately called The Big Dig, Coss dives into the long, complicated history of the project, making a case for why the Big Dig was so much more than the boondoggle people think it was.

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