Promoting Spatial Coordination in Flood Buyouts in the United States: Four Strategies and Four Challenges from the Economics of Land Preservation Literature
Natural Hazards Review
Managed retreat in the form of voluntary flood-buyout programs provides homeowners with an alternative to repairing and rebuilding residences that have sustained severe flood damage. Buyout programs are most economically efficient when groups of neighboring properties are acquired because they can then create unfragmented flood control areas and reduce the cost of providing local services. However, buyout programs in the United States often fail to acquire such efficient, unfragmented spaces, for various reasons, including long administrative timelines, the way in which buyout offers are made, desires for community cohesion, and attachments to place. Buyout programs have relied primarily on posted price mechanisms involving offers that are accepted or rejected by homeowners with little or no negotiation. In this paper, we describe four alternative strategies that have been used successfully in land-preservation agricultural–environmental contexts to increase acceptance rates and decrease fragmentation: agglomeration bonuses, reverse auctions, target constraints, and hybrid approaches. We discuss challenges that may arise during their implementation in the buyout context—transaction costs, equity and distributional impacts, unintended consequences, and social pressure—and recommend further research into the efficiency and equity of applying these strategies to residential buyout programs with the explicit goal of promoting spatial coordination.
This material may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This material may be found at https://doi.org/10.1061/NHREFO.NHENG-1564. This article was originally published in Natural Hazards Review.
adaptation, buyouts, land preservation, mechanism design, agglomeration bonus, reverse auction, target constraint, equity
Dineva Polina K., McGranaghan Christina, Messer Kent D., Palm-Forster Leah H., Paul Laura A., and Siders A. R. “Promoting Spatial Coordination in Flood Buyouts in the United States: Four Strategies and Four Challenges from the Economics of Land Preservation Literature.” Natural Hazards Review 24, no. 1 (February 1, 2023): 05022013. https://doi.org/10.1061/NHREFO.NHENG-1564.