A person walks through a flooded street after Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011 in the Red Hook neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Credit: Spencer Platt Getty Images

Climate Adaptation Risks Displacing Vulnerable Communities, If Not Done Right

Resilience measures to deal with flooding and other climate impacts must be balanced with issues like affordable housing

Climate change is straining the social fabric that holds communities together. But—if not done correctly—positive efforts meant to respond to global change can have a negative impact, too, according to new findings.

In a nearly 50-page report released last week, the nonprofit EcoAdapt and the University of California, Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project found that “climate change stressors and impacts” are primary concerns for most communities, especially those with disadvantaged populations.

However, efforts to reduce impacts through adaptation and resilience measures must be meshed with other concerns like affordable housing, food and water security, as well as safe and vibrant neighborhoods. Failing to balance climate and other priorities can result in “displacement”—where individuals and families choose to leave a neighborhood or community.

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