Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

CSTPR Noontime Seminar

Social (in)justice in coastal relocation
by A.R. Siders, Environmental Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Environment

PLEASE NOTE: This talk has been cancelled. The CU Campus is closed today due to winter weather conditions.

As sea levels rise, beaches erode, and coastal storms grow in frequency and intensity, global coastal communities are increasingly at risk. Some areas are so at risk that homeowners and local leaders have decided to retreat: to relocate buildings and people out of vulnerable floodplains.  Retreat is politically controversial and has been shown to cause economic, social, and psychological harms to the people who relocate, and yet, as the effects of climate change become more extreme, more and more communities are expected to need to retreat from the coasts. This talk will describe what over 40,000 federally funded property acquisitions in U.S. floodplains have taught us about managing retreat and what lessons are still to be learned. Case studies of retreat, spatial analysis, and on-going research projects are used to highlight the challenges inherent in achieving risk reduction, environmental conservation, and social justice goals in coastal adaptation.

A.R. Siders is an Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. Her research focuses on climate change adaptation governance, exploring how institutional and social structures affect decisions around adaptation policies and how those policies affect social justice and risk reduction outcomes. She also collaborates with consulting companies and non-profit organizations to integrate climate change adaptation into disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts. She previously served as a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Navy and Associate Director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, where she worked on post-Hurricane Sandy recovery.  She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019
2018 - 12:00 to 13:00





  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public



CSTPR Conference Room