APA Washington State Conference
SEPTEMBER 28, 2017
The Climate Migrants and Refugees Project presented at the 2017 Washington State APA Conference "Planning a Collaborative Future." We were lucky to speak with planners from throughout the Pacific Northwest about the regional challenges displacement and resettlement pose for communities in this area, and to think about unique ways we are position to begin addressing them.
We gave an overview of the climate displacement challenge for cities
Drawing on existing data and initial projections, we talked about the range of potential influxes of climate migrants and refugees. Given the Pacific Northwest's experience with 2017 wildfires and flooding, we also tried to bring home that these dangers are not as far-afield as we might like to think.
We asked participants to think about impacts on their communities
Starting with the premise of increased in-migration to their communities, we asked participants to think about what might change, and what challenges might arise, with that unexpected influx. The answers were wide-ranging, going as far as unexpected interruptions to previous traffic model assumptions, to new types of cultural festivals becoming economic drivers in the community.
We asked participants to think about solutions
Given the vast range of potential impacts, and the currently unknown numbers we can expect, planning for solutions was hard. Participants were asked to think in terms of frameworks that could be developed that were scalable; whatever solutions were developed needed to have an inherent resilience-building function to them, both for the existing community members, and for new ones. Solutions like this might have a greater opportunity to be implemented.