The role of proximity to waterfront in residents’ relocation decision-making post-Hurricane Sandy

Document Type


Date of Original Version



The experience with Superstorm Sandy advanced the dialogue on the long-term response options that would minimize risks and ensure livability in high-risk coastal environments. One strategy considered permanent relocation of homes from flood-prone areas. However, little is known about the factors that might influence a homeowner's decision to relocate, how their home's proximity to the shoreline may affect their risk perceptions and willingness to relocate. This paper explores the role that proximity to the oceanfront plays in relocation decision-making. It examines geospatial determinants collected as a part of a 2013 household survey conducted post Hurricane Sandy and their relationship with survey responses and socioeconomic predisposition. The analysis uses geospatial data to assess the proximity attributes of participating households. The proximity parameters were statistically compared to the socioeconomic profile and survey responses. The results demonstrate that the location of surveyed households, even though adequately dispersed to the oceanfront proximity, had only a minor effect on the willingness to relocate, suggesting that non-geophysical factors, such as household-level confidence in the ability to adapt and continue habitation in such locations, values, and other qualitative personal factors play a larger role. The findings also show that participants living closer to the bay are more likely to consider relocation if exposed to repetitive flooding and offered participation in buyout program.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Ocean and Coastal Management