Friday, October 27th, 2017
12:00 – 2:00 PM

Room 510, Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, many have argued against rebuilding as usual. Gaining increasing prominence in these debates is the term “managed retreat,” which refers to the relocation of people and unbuilding of land in places exposed to flooding, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change. Retreat is still generally considered a last resort – a strategy for the future rather than the present – but people have already begun moving away from the water. This presentation draws on ethnographic fieldwork over four years in the New York City borough of Staten Island, where shorefront residents lobbied the government to buy out hundreds of damaged houses after Hurricane Sandy, returning their neighborhoods to wetlands rather than rebuilding. Examining the paradoxical process of a community organizing to disperse itself, the presentation also explores the broader social, political, and design challenges raised by retreat in urban areas that are dense, divided, and deeply unequal.

This event is hosted by MDes Risk & Resilience.

Pizza & refreshments will be provided.