image of empty field in Houston- part of FEMA buyout

Koslov on FEMA Buyouts of Flood-Prone Properties

Assistant professor of urban planning Liz Koslov spoke to NPR about Federal Emergency Management Agency buyouts of flood-prone properties. FEMA subsidizes the cost for local governments to buy out homes owned by people who want to relocate out of flood zones. A recent study found that counties that administer FEMA buyouts on average have higher incomes and population densities. The study also found that not all flood-prone communities can pursue a buyout because their local governments have not established FEMA programs. One reason that wealthier counties might be receiving more buyouts is that it requires significant bureaucratic and monetary resources to apply for and distribute buyout funds, the article noted. “Without public support, it’s clear that many people will be left without sufficient resources to move out of harm’s way,” Koslov said.


Koslov on the Thorny Debate Over ‘Managed Retreat’

Liz Koslov, assistant professor of urban planning, spoke with the New York Times about a new study on “managed retreat” as an option for communities threatened by climate change. The study, published in the journal Science, found that choosing to relocate rather than rebuild can create new opportunities for communities damaged or threatened by climate disaster. Strategic, orderly and equitable relocation plans should be one of several options available to these communities, the researchers said. They added that regularly updated climate hazard maps should be provided to citizens so that they can make informed choices. “I’m so glad that these kinds of pieces are getting written,” said Koslov, noting that the debate over managed retreat is “inevitably thorny and conflictual.” She added that decisions about whether retreat is the best option should factor in social, economic and cultural considerations, not just physical geography.

Luskin MPP Teams Take on Crisis Management Case Challenge

Two teams of Master of Public Policy (MPP) students from UCLA Luskin were among the top three winners in a recent crisis management challenge. Taking second place at the final presentation stage were second-year MPP student Wenzheng Li and first-year teammates Lin Jia and Jiayu Hu. They also took home a $700 cash prize. The team of Christophe LaBelle, a second-year student, and Brian Harris, a first-year student, won third place, netting $300 in prize money. “This case challenge opportunity demanded that we apply critical thinking, memo writing and presentation skills to a very real-world policy problem facing L.A.,” LaBelle said. “And we enjoyed learning more about resilience, crisis management and the grocery food supply chain in the company of other graduate students and professionals in the field.” Experts from the resilience and emergency management fields evaluated proposals and asked in-depth questions during the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC)/Target Foundation Crisis Management Case Challenge held March 9, 2018, at the University of Southern California. HSAC is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that focuses on preparedness and resilience in the face of natural and human-caused disasters and crises. — Stan Paul

The two teams from UCLA Luskin Public Policy.