By Kevin Stark : sfpublicpress – excerpt
Understanding the sociology and politics around word ‘retreat’
San Francisco is partway through a years-long process of proposing elaborate — and incredibly expensive — engineering fixes to the looming prospect of sea level rise. But the current sketches of a future city buttressed by dikes, levees and seawalls, which could cost tens of billions of dollars over coming decades, overshadow an increasingly accepted alternative: moving away from the waterfront.
Some experts in climatology, urban planning and demographics argue that physical barriers offer only the illusion of protection and that cities should accept that some neighborhoods will need to be abandoned.
Karen O’Neill, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies “climate migration” worldwide, argued that city planners should entice people to move away from vulnerable areas where flooding could be exacerbated by climate change.
The “protect your way out of the whole thing” approach is folly, she recently told an energy reporter at Bloomberg View… (more)