Using simulations to forecast homeowner response to sea level rise in South Florida: Will they stay or will they go?

Galen Treuer, Kenneth Broad, Robert Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Sea level rise threatens coastal communities around the world. Proactive investments in adaptive flood protection could reduce financial vulnerability, however it is unclear if local governments and homeowners will be willing to make those investments before it is too late. In this research we explore this issue by focusing on the case of South Florida, which is one of the most financially vulnerable regions in the world. We report the results of a novel online simulation that accelerates 348 South Florida homeowners thirty-five years into the future so that they can ‘live’ the effects of sea level rise. The results contain a mix of optimism and caution for the prospects of future adaptation. On the positive side, over 75% of participants indicated a willingness to support bond issues to pay for adaptation, even as the costs of the measures and effects of sea level rise increased over the years. Likewise, we find little evidence that politically conservative residents who normally have more skeptical views about climate change are any less inclined to support adaptation, or only look to information sources that downplay the threat. On the negative side, the number of homeowners interested in moving out of the region increases steadily over time as the sea level rises. This is driven by an increase in worry associated with viewing more information within the simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Homeowners
  • Perception
  • Sea level rise
  • Simulation
  • South Florida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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