Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Managed Urban Retreat: The Trouble with Crisis Narratives

Rahman, M. Feisal; Lewis, David; Kuhl, Laura; Baldwin, Andrew; Ruszczyk, Hanna; Nadiruzzaman, Md; Mahid, Yousuf

Managed Urban Retreat: The Trouble with Crisis Narratives Thumbnail


M. Feisal Rahman

David Lewis

Laura Kuhl

Md Nadiruzzaman

Yousuf Mahid


In response to narratives of the mass movement of people triggered by climate change, a number of “managed retreat” models have been proposed as policy options, especially for densely populated urban areas in the Global South. Reviewing a case study from Mongla, a secondary city in southwestern Bangladesh, we argue that a “crisis narrative” unhelpfully informs current discourses of “climate migration”, and oversimplify complex realities, creating the risk that urban policy makers design managed retreat interventions that are poorly informed and maladaptive in that they may be accepted too uncritically, take overly technical forms, and may exacerbate rather than reduce the risk faced by those they are purportedly intended to assist.


Rahman, M. F., Lewis, D., Kuhl, L., Baldwin, A., Ruszczyk, H., Nadiruzzaman, M., & Mahid, Y. (2023). Managed Urban Retreat: The Trouble with Crisis Narratives. Urban Geography,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 7, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 27, 2023
Journal Urban Geography
Print ISSN 0272-3638
Electronic ISSN 1938-2847
Publisher Bellweather Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


Published Journal Article (2.2 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations