What is managed retreat?

What is managed retreat?

1 Expert Answer

A.R. Siders

Director, Climate Change Science & Policy Hub | Core Faculty, Disaster Research Center | Associate Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration & Department of Geography & Spatial Sciences,  University of Delaware

Managed retreat is a category of adaptation options where communities either don't build near to hazards or where people move away from the hazards. We tend to talk about managed retreat from the coasts, because sea level rise is one of the most visible and concrete consequences of global climate change, but managed retreat options are applicable in any flood-prone area.

Siders recently collaborated with the University of Miami's Katharine J. Mach to provide a prospective roadmap for reconceptualizing the future using managed retreat. Siders and Mach argue that long-term adaptation will involve retreat. Even traditionally accepted visions of the future, like building flood walls and elevating threatened structures, will involve small-scale retreat to make space for levees and drainage. Larger-scale retreat may be needed for more ambitious transformations, such as building floating neighborhoods or cities, turning roads into canals in an effort to live with the water, or building more dense, more compact cities on higher ground.

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