UNDERSTANDING MANAGED RETREAT THROUGH A MULTI-STAKEHOLDER LENS: A CASE STUDY ON THE LOWER EASTERN SHORE OF MARYLAND
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Due to concerns about increasing sea levels and climate displacement, there has been a growing interest in the adaptation option of managed retreat. In managed retreat, shorelines move inland acting as a natural buffer to coastal climate impacts, while coastal communities move to higher ground through voluntary home buyouts. Managed retreat is also highly controversial, as it is poorly understood and presents significant challenges to equity. In order to address these issues, this thesis research provides a multi-stakeholder analysis on the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland focused on understandings and trust in managed retreat processes. Key findings from this research are that communities, government and non-governmental organizations have different understandings of managed retreat, that retreat discussions need to occur at official levels now, that equity must be a central component of planning, that trust is necessary for successful retreat and that any future retreat must emphasize community agency and collaboration.