2021 Conference Homepage

Blue colored banner that reads: At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience, Relocation and Climate Justice, Virtual Conference June 2021, with visual of New York City skyline

SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT HERE BY JANUARY 31, 2021

This conference is now being planned as a virtual event, completely accessible online.

Conference Dates: June 22 - June 25, 2021 

Building on the success of the 2019 conference on Managed Retreat, the 2021 conference will address a range of scientific, social, policy and governance issues around managed retreat (also known as strategic realignment and planned relocation). The conference, a major initiative of Columbia University's Earth Institute, will bring together stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, together with academics, scientists, and community representatives, to help develop a common understanding of this complex issue, and move the needle toward equitable solutions. A major emphasis will be on issues of environmental justice, in recognition that the people most impacted by decisions around retreat have a key role in these conversations.

Our goals are to:

  • advance the research agenda around managed retreat in an interdisciplinary, solutions-oriented way;
  • facilitate networking and discussion among many types of stakeholders, and bridge the information gap between academics, practitioners, and affected communities; and
  • develop concrete solutions and best practices around a complex climate adaptation issue.

We highly encourage submissions from non-academic participants, especially those working in spaces at the intersection of environmental justice and climate adaptation. In addition to individual presentations, we will also accept submissions for organized panels or ideas for other interactive trainings or workshops.  

Key topics that will be addressed include:

  • Built environment (e.g. design and architecture; land use planning; infrastructure; infrastructure interdependencies; urban planning)
  • Buyouts and property acquisition
  • Climate and social science for managed retreat (e.g. exposure, vulnerability, risk)
  • Communication strategies (e.g. storytelling; teaching about managed retreat; arts)
  • Community resilience (e.g. community organizing; vulnerable populations; psychology; mental health; residents perspectives)
  • Ecosystem conservation and migration
  • Environmental justice and equity
  • Finance and economics
  • Governance, policy and planning (e.g. decision-making; international frameworks; federal management; state programs; local planning; multi-level policy coordination)
  • Infrastructure interdependencies (e.g. public health, energy, transportation)
  • International perspectives
  • Legal issues and tools (e.g. climate migrants/refugees)
  • Migration as adaptation (e.g. assisted relocation; voluntary movement; connecting retreat and the climate migration discourse)
  • Non-coastal retreat (e.g. flood and riverine areas; drought and dryland expansion; temperature extremes; wildfire in the urban-wildland interface)
  • Private sector perspectives (e.g. insurance, real estate)
  • Receiving communities (e.g. within countries; internationally; policy instruments)

Conference Fees:

General Registration: $120 (early registration $80)

Government; Nonprofit; Columbia University Affiliate; Student Registration: $40

Video Highlight: In Crowding Climate Danger Zones, Seeking Paths to ‘Managed Retreat’ (December 2020)