As heavy rainfall, storms, and hurricanes grow more powerful, communities in coastal areas are increasingly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. The 2017 hurricane season demonstrated this vividly. As communities struggle to clean up and rebuild, the topic of relocation is often taboo and politically fraught. However, our research shows that voluntary, community-driven relocation can actually contribute to recovery.

Research by NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge and Rebuild by Design surveyed residents in the storm affected communities after Hurricane Sandy and asked about the key factors that drove residents’ decision to stay or leave their neighborhood. The survey of 225 respondents from 11 areas in New York City, New York State, and New Jersey found that residents that moved fared better. Residents in communities that successfully organized for buyouts appear to have benefited psychologically. View full findings.