Barriers and Opportunities
Edited by Rosemary Lyster and Robert R.M. Verchick
Chapter 12: The uneasy case for disaster buyouts
For public officials, buyouts are an appealing mechanism for removing flood-prone properties from vulnerable coastal areas. Importantly, buyouts differ from takings in that participation is ostensibly voluntary. Thus, buyouts seem to offer results without violating individual autonomy. In reality, however, buyout offers can be highly coercive. For example, if the state seeks to acquire multiple properties within a neighborhood, an individual’s isolated property could become worthless. Because property values in a community are interconnected, buyout offers create a problem of collective action for recipients. This chapter argues that disaster buyouts should be regulated in ways that recognize the collective context.
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