Out of Harm’s Way: Community Resettlement as Climate Resilience

Moderator: David Lessinger, Senior Advisor, Resilience Practice, CSRS


Session type: Panel, Duration: 60 Minutes 


As the risks of extreme weather become more apparent, many US communities are working to adapt, build resilience, and reduce their risk.  Some communities are building their resilience by building flood protection such as levees or seawalls or trying to manage forests to reduce their fire risk. While these are important components of risk reduction, in some cases, there is only so much we can do to control the natural elements.  In some areas, to drastically reduce our risk, we must move out of harm’s way. This is not a simple prospect. Whole communities lie in risk-prone areas. People’s social networks are attached to their neighborhoods. Their livelihoods and personal identities are bound up in the places they call home. 

This inter-disciplinary panel of practitioners and researchers working on resettlement projects will discuss the challenges and opportunities of community resettlement. Key topics include: how to engage and include the community in a respectful and meaningful planning process; how to develop programs and incentives that facilitate not just the buy-out process but also the “buy-in” process in a new community; and how to look to future risks with a proactive strategy. Panelists from the public, private, and academic sectors will speak to their specific programs, research, and experience.