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.



Latest News


Flood-prone Cities Like Houston May Need To Start Buying People Out, Study Says
E. A. Crunden
February 28, 2019

A new study by the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Texas A&M University, based on analysis of flood claims and flood loss estimation data resulting from Hurricane Harvey, posits that strategic, pre-emptive clustered buyouts are more effective and beneficial than ad-hoc buyout efforts after flooding has already occurred. Specifically, clustered buyouts were proven to be a cost-effective solution that created flood resilient areas capable of absorbing more rain. While the study’s results were focused on Harris County, Texas, TNC believes the study can help inform planning and increase resilience in other areas facing similar challenges.

Read the full piece here and view the study here.

How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich
Rebecca Hersher and Robert Benincasa
March 5, 2019

NPR investigated federal government disaster spending nationally and found that “white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth.” As climate change increases the frequency and strength of natural disasters, the dynamics of federal spending have the potential to mirror and entrench existing inequalities in communities hit by disasters. Economic and racial inequities are most pronounced in the context of urban flooding, one of the most costly and ubiquitous disasters.

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