~ Anti-Displacement Activities That May Increase Community Climate Vulnerability

All participants were asked to consider strategies or activities that are vulnerable or may cause increased community vulnerability to climate change.

Many of the anti-displacement activities expressed by respondents that may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change or may increase community vulnerability are related to maintaining the status quo as baseline problems contribute to community instability. For example, low-income housing is frequently sited near sources of industrial pollution or within areas frequently subjected to disturbances such as flooding, and sub-standard housing—whether poorly constructed or maintained—is more vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events.

“Persons who live in poverty or in areas of high minority concentrations may be the victims of extreme weather events followed by community reconstruction activities that effectively force out the original poor, minority populations due to the high costs of rent and living. Certain areas may be designated high-risk zones which may result in displacement of poor, minority populations who have no other ‘affordable’ options.”

“We need to figure out how to stabilize these neighborhoods, and improve their resilience, without spurring displacement.”

“[Within coastal areas,] the challenge will primarily be on renters. Homeowners will either stay in place or [be] compensated for their property.”


Limitations in resources, economic and job opportunities, and access to critical services also amplify individual and community vulnerability to climate change. Specific areas of vulnerability noted by participants include resource-poor neighborhoods, and highly specialized or seasonal natural resource-dependent jobs. For example, there may be spatial mismatches between where poor neighborhoods are located and where suitable job opportunities are available; access to food, reliable transit, and medical care may also be lacking. Communities with natural resource-based economies (e.g., recreation, tourism, fishing, farming) or individuals who rely on seasonal outdoor work are also subject to fluctuations in environmental conditions (e.g., snow for skiing, water for boating).

“Food availability programs are vulnerable to rising food costs as climate change impacts production of food, driving up costs.”

“Limited resources (and concentrated wealth where resources are abundant) are the biggest challenge because a lot of improvements cost significant dollars in addition to industry shifts. Anything that has to do with investment is the most vulnerable to climate change because it comes with so much baggage and politics that are difficult to deal with in a timely manner.”

“Our economy is extremely tourism-based and dependent upon good summer conditions (aka no smoke) and winter conditions (enough snow for skiing). Most workers are seasonal workers who depend on [the] tourism industry or industry-adjacent jobs. If the tourist season changes then the housing demand [and] job demand will change as well, potentially displacing 1000s of workers.”


Maladaptive policies or practices also make communities more vulnerable to climate change. These policies or practices may increase risk to the impacts of climate change, increase greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, or otherwise negatively affect people’s wellbeing. Examples include rebuilding in high-risk flood zones, permitting development without accounting for climate risk, and increasing the use of energy-intensive air conditioners to combat extreme heat events.

“Trying to help people remain in a neighborhood that is prone to flooding or other hazards is probably the most vulnerable activity. At some point, the costs of remaining may become untenable.”

“Building densely-packed areas: Urban development plans must take into account urban heat islands and any new development or expansion should incorporate mitigation strategies to avoid expanding the urban heat island effect.”

“There may be some complex interplays between climate mitigation and climate adaptation. For example, relying on AC units to reduce public health impacts of extreme heat and helping elders stay in their homes will also increase the emissions for long term climate impacts.”

“Insurance policies that allow rebuilding in impacted areas or that allow rebuilding without taking climate issues into consideration leads to erosion of capital for re-occurring issues.”