Policy Forum

Planned relocation: Pluralistic and integrated science and governance

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  18 Jun 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6548, pp. 1276-1279
DOI: 10.1126/science.abh3256

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Although relocation of human populations is nothing new, global environmental changes such as climate change, sea level rise, and land use change are increasing the likelihood of relocation for potentially millions of people, especially in coastal regions. Globally, sea level rise alone could place 340 million people on land projected to be below annual flood levels by 2050 (1). The need for relocation will increase because of such risks, the lack of funding for protection and accommodation strategies, and/or the reality that sea walls and other measures will eventually be ineffective. Thus, current approaches to planned relocation such as buyouts for individual households are likely to be “woefully inadequate” in the future (2). We discuss how science, governance, and their interactions need to evolve to make planned relocation a strategic option that leaves people, communities, and the environment better off. The starting point is to acknowledge that relocation involves a physical transition away from locations exposed to global change hazards, as well as the need for transformation of institutions, social networks, cultural associations, economic relationships, and other aspects of a community's way of life.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science