Let’s Talk about Coastal Relocation

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Scores of people located in or near coastal regions and floodplains will face extraordinary challenges due to the unprecedented scope, scale, and speed of sea-level rise and climate change. Relocation of property and people away from threatened places that cannot be protected in place is a potentially transformative change for the individuals and communities involved. It tends to be a complex and difficult process, and without proper support — technical, financial, and human — it can become conflictual even before a single structure is moved. This poses great demands on those leading, facilitating, and considering such relocation processes. Experience and a wide-ranging scientific literature suggest that communication and engagement in support of relocation must be more than ticking a checkbox.

CNAP researcher, Dr. Susanne Moser, drew on the extant literature to synthesize 10 key elements or tasks of communication amidst coastal relocation. Together, they point to what effective engagement must accomplish to support the successful relocation of at-risk people and structures to safer locations.