Global climate change presents both acute and long-term risks to humanity. Managed retreat has emerged in the literature as one method by which to manage some acute and slow-onset events caused by climate change, but it requires substantial additional research and examination. It is now clear that humanity must scrutinize how and where we live and the wisdom of policies that support continued rebuilding and reinvestment after climate-related disasters. Despite its emergence as a potential policy response to risk, the phrase “managed retreat” is documented as a barrier in itself to successful adaptation actions, largely because the term is currently almost exclusively considered to mean physical movement of infrastructure or people out of harm’s way—that is, retreat. There is a need to document and consider case studies where managed retreat is being utilized more broadly and to consider these case studies as a climate governance approach to managing risk. The case studies presented of local policy responses to climate-induced disaster events demonstrate examples of the permanent changes that are already occurring to the existing and historical governance of climate-related risks. These case studies can serve to broaden the climate adaptation discussion and framework beyond “managed retreat” and may lead to more successful implementation of adaptation measures that reduce climate risks. We adopt the term “transformative adaptation measures,” rather than “managed retreat,” and provide case study illustrations of climate governance strategies that communities faced with a changing climate risk profile may consider, rather than focusing on “retreat.”

You do not currently have access to this content.