Attitudes towards relocation following Hurricane Sandy: should we stay or should we go?

Anamaria Bukvic and Graham Owen
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United States of America
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This study explores the dilemma of whether to rebuild or relocate from the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Since disasters represent the discernible manifestation of other complex coastal hazards, they offer a window of opportunity to engage residents in the dialogue on relocation as sometimes the most effective risk reduction strategy. The following research evaluates attitudes towards relocation and willingness to consider buyout among 46 surveyed households located in highly-affected communities five months after Sandy. It also gauges perceptions of coastal risks and recovery concerns as drivers of relocation, the level of support for different adaptation strategies, and preferences related to the relocation process itself on how and where to relocate and with what type of assistance. Responses indicate that, even though residents prefer structural solutions to address coastal hazards, they are not fully opposed to the possibility of relocation mostly for personal health and safety reasons.