Imagine a major storm hits your neighborhood and the government offers to purchase homes with “a history of flood damage.” Your basement is completely flooded. Will you qualify for the buyout? What about your neighbors?
Relocating residents from areas vulnerable to flooding, known as “managed retreat,” is a potentially important approach for helping communities at risk of losing their homes to coastal erosion and natural disasters. But a closer look at the government’s past buyouts reveals a major weakness in the process: lack of transparency. Fortunately, past buyout programs also reveal strategies to address this challenge
Senior research scientist Katharine Mach is a 2008 Presidential Fellow, Biology.