Rebuild by Design hosts a conversation between Jake Bittle, author of The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration, and Christopher Flavelle, climate reporter for The New York Times.

Climate and weather disasters forced more than 3 million U.S. residents from their homes last year, and many will never make it back to where they lived before. Climate change is already displacing people around the country, affecting both those who leave and those who stay. As rising seas, raging fires, and other hazards encroach on our communities, those with financial means may move to safer ground — but what happens to the neighborhoods they move into? And what happens to those who can’t afford to go?

Bittle and Flavelle will explore how climate change has already transformed the fabric of communities in the U.S. and the difficult decisions households are forced into as disasters become a part of the everyday reality for many Americans.

April 11th, 6PM ET

Watch the video here>>


Thank you to our co-sponsors: the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Climigration Network, the Climate Museum and The Nature Conservancy.

“So much of the success or failure of migration and displacement depends on the attitude and readiness of the receiving community.”

— Christopher Flavelle

Watch the video here>>


Even as climate change dominates the headlines, many of us still think about it in the future tense—we imagine that as global warming gets worse over the coming decades, millions of people will scatter around the world fleeing famine and rising seas. What we often don’t realize is that the consequences of climate change are already visible, right here in the United States. In communities across the country, climate disasters are pushing thousands of people away from their homes.

by Jake Bittle

As severe coastal flooding impacts low-lying communities in NYC, those who have financial means may move to higher ground, further gentrifying inland communities, and displacing long-term, lower-income residents. Rebuild by Design collaborated with Milliman to study the areas across New York City that could be impacted by coastal flooding in 2050 to better understand the economic and demographic makeup of these communities.

Rebuild by Design

Rebuild by Design worked with APTIM and iParametrics and an unbelievable team of engineers, researchers, finance experts, data managers, and volunteers to identify, analyze, and synthesize different data sets and ideas into an accessible compendium of county-by-county climate impacts.

Rebuild by Design

This guidebook, developed by a creative team led by Scott Shigeoka and Mychal Estrada, offers insights on how to begin conversations about relocation – questions to ask yourself before you approach a community, phrases to use other than “managed retreat,” and actions and activities you can take to open up a conversation with curiosity and care. It is based on interviews with 40+ people with direct experience with climate risk and displacement.

The Climigration Network

The product of a series of roundtable discussions among grassroots leaders from ten low-income, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities. They were convened by Anthropocene Alliance (A2) and The Climigration Network (CN) between February 23rd and August 1st, 2021 to address The Great American Climate Migration, the resettlement of some 30 million Americans over the next half-century due to climate change.

Grassroots leaders in the Anthropocene Alliance

Strong, frequent heat waves, storms, and droughts are here to stay, and more are on their way. Climate change demands we do things differently. New York residents are teaming up to improve community safety and quality of life. In response to local disasters, two New York communities explore how they can use flood-damaged, vacant lots to create a safer future for themselves. Listen to residents and leaders from Edgemere in New York City and Sidney in Upstate New York talk about their vision for their community.

The Nature Conservancy

A team of scientists at The Nature Conservancy examined decades of research and practice from around the United States and developed a way  to make decisions about flood risk solutions.  They prioritized these solutions in tiers that would provide the greatest benefits to people and nature. See also the peer-reviewed publication: A new framework for flood adaptation: introducing the Flood Adaptation Hierarchy

The Nature Conservancy

The need for voluntary buyouts of storm-damaged properties is rising rapidly, but programs can be slow and inequitable. How can buyout programs be improved for residents and program staff? There is unlikely to be one ‘best’ way to administer buyouts across these contexts. This report therefore presents a range of variations so officials and communities can think about what is appropriate in their context.  

The Nature Conservancy and the University of Delaware Disaster Research Center

Video: Strong, frequent heatwaves, storms, and droughts are here to stay, and more are on their way. Climate change demands we do things differently. Around the country, communities are relocating homes and businesses to safe, dry ground and creating green buffer zones that provide community amenities and slow down and store floodwaters when needed. By proactively working together, we can save lives, protect homes and businesses, and build a safer world for all of us – now and long into the future.

The Nature Conservancy

NRDC reviewed nearly 30 years of FEMA data on buyout funding and found that a typical buyout takes more than 5 years between a flood and the completion of a FEMA-funded buyout project. While every buyout project is different, one thing is clear: long wait times make buyouts less accessible, less equitable, and less effective for disaster mitigation and climate adaptation. This report describes approaches for improving the current system, as well as new buyout models being explored by FEMA, other federal agencies, and state and local governments.

Natural Resources Defense Council

These resources include research, reports and tools for climate adaptation.

The Nature Conservancy

Thank you to our co-sponsors: