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The Challenge

Shorelines are changing due to storms, sea level rise, and subsidence. Some places will inevitably be under water. Many communities are considering their options, including increasing protective measures and redesign, but few are able or willing to thoughtfully consider relocation.

It is difficult to ask, let alone answer questions like: "Who pays for people to move?" "How do we respect private property while serving the public good?" "What happens to the land if we leave?" "What happens to our tax base?" "How do we honor people's deep emotional ties to place?"

Relocation may not be the answer for every community, or may not be the answer now, but it takes strong leadership and good information to proactively take on these questions rather than wait for crisis to force the issue.

This site is dedicated to enabling this difficult, important conversation.

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Finding Solutions

This site, sponsored by the Consensus Building Institute, serves as an innovation hub for communities, funding agencies, and others to discuss challenges and share ideas and experiments that make it possible to fully consider managed retreat along with other adaptation options, such as rebuilding or redesigning in place. 

Funding & Financing

Current funding sources and mechanisms are primarily focused on disaster relief, with precious little dedicated to helping communities interested in proactively moving away from vulnerable locations. But some approaches to funding climigration do exist, others are under development, and more can be developed with some ingenuity.  

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Policy & Leadership

Local and state governments, federal agencies and programs, insurance companies, real estate firms, and other private institutions have provided little funding, leadership, or policy support for climigration. This needs to change, and we have some ideas.

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Engagement &
Consensus Building

Climigration is a collective issue and a shared opportunity. Communities need a well-structured process to help them collaborate, explore options, and come to agreements that benefit everyone.

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Post-Sandy, something within the Staten Island community shifted; many residents, who had in the past firmly advocated for rebuilding, now pushed for a different approach: buyouts. Residents decided to form a committee, which worked tirelessly to realize buyouts for the community of Foxbeach, an approximately 60 acre (27-block) neighborhood of 165 homes within the town of Oakwood Beach. What lessons can we learn from this endeavor? 

More examples of how communities are dealing with climigration.

 

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Latest News

 

Notre Dame releases climate vulnerability assessment of more than 270 US cities
Jessica Sieff
Notre Dame News
October 14, 2018

University of Notre Dame researches completed a two-year assessment of the current climate risks in over 270 US cities and created the Urban Adaptation Assessment (UAA), an open-source, free measurement and analysis tool.  The aim of the UAA is to help cities prioritize inclusive adaptation efforts for populations that are most vulnerable to climate change, as it provides projected cost and probability of climate-related hazards in 2040 alongside sub-city mapping.  Data for every city in the US and Puerto Rico with a population over 100,000 is visualized on their online platform.

Read the full piece here and view the UAA database here.

City of Conway looking to buy homes damaged from flooding
Patrick Lloyd
WMBF News
October 15, 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Conway, South Carolina, voted to extend their existing contract with FEMA to continue the home buyout program initially put into place after Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. Homes will be bought by Conway at 75 percent of their value prior to Hurricane Matthew, the homes will be demolished, and as a preventative measure, no future homes will be built on those properties.

Read the full piece here.



About the Word

“Climigration” is a term coined by Robin Bronen, co-founder and executive director of the Alaska Institute for Justice, to replace the commonly used misnomer “climate refugee.” 

Read Robin’s work about this issue:

 

 

*Banner photo credit: Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Coastlines