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Forum on Legal Issues in Managed Coastal Retreat

Columbia University Law school is holding a public forumon March 28 addressing Legal Issues in Managed Coastal Retreat. The conference description illustrates the kind of future scenario building needed to envision legal responses to the complexity of climate change adaptation on scales of this magnitude:

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there is a debate on whether to rebuild the areas that were devastated and continue to be vulnerable. Both New York and New Jersey have announced limited programs to buy out certain homes, but these programs are extremely expensive and can lead to checkerboard patterns. This forum will not
advocate any particular approach, but will explore these underlying legal questions:
  1. What governmental actions in restricting development or reconstruction in vulnerable areas are “takings” that require compensation?
  2. How would the government adopt a policy of managed retreat from the coastlines—through changes in zoning and building codes, restrictions on infrastructure, or other methods? What process would be needed?
  3. What is the role of federal flood insurance and private insurance in shaping patterns of development or redevelopment in vulnerable areas?
  4. Where has managed retreat been attempted in the past? What is the experience with these attempts, and what procedures were followed?


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