Planning and design scenarios for equitable outcomes in managed retreat
Author(s)Purdy, Bella(Bella P.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Marie Law Adams.
MetadataShow full item record
Superstorm Sandy hit New York City on October 29, 2012, killing 24 victims on Staten Island. In response, the state of New York founded the NY Rising Buyout Program in order to purchase the homes of residents desiring to relocate after the disaster. The program offered residents the pre-storm value of their home to facilitate 'managed retreat' with the goal of transitioning the purchased lots into ecologically resilient open space. However, due to program delays, the amount of incentive offered, as well as the desire for some residents to remain in their neighborhood, not all residents in the buyout area relocated. Today, remaining residents live in neighborhoods with complicated planning challenges, maintenance needs, and climate risks. This thesis analyzes the outcomes of the NY Rising program by evaluating three buyout areas in the East Shore Staten Island based on the criteria of procedural and distributive justice.The proposition of the thesis is that because the NY Rising Program was not equitable in terms of efficiency of administration and access to applicants, the program resulted in unintended spatial and social outcomes. The thesis defines these unintended outcomes as 'climate shrinkage': depopulation of the neighborhood coupled with non-contiguous vacant lots. The thesis argues that without multi-actor coordination, managed retreat as a form of transformative adaptation undermines the community resilience of those residents for whom retreat is not an option. In response, the thesis proposes policy recommendations that would facilitate incremental retreat over a multi-decade time horizon, while also maintaining housing affordability in the near-term to decrease displacement risks.To accompany these multi-decade housing scenarios, the thesis offers physical design and land management strategies that transition vacant, underutilized lots into spaces of both community and ecological resilience. Ultimately, the thesis suggests that managed retreat programs should incorporate democratic decision making at the community level and provide opportunities for self-determination for low to moderate income residents for whom negative climate impacts will be the most severe.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 84-87).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.