319: Jamie Simmonds

Jamie Simmonds is the former Director of the Strengthening Grantham, which was the project to relocate the small Queensland town of Gratham following the statewide deadly floods in 2011.  The Grantham relocation is now regarded by industry and academics globally as the leading example of a managed retreat.

What’s a managed retreat? It’s a policy of slowly moving people and property and communities away from parts of the country that will now be unsafe to live in. Be it because they keep burning down, keep flooding, or are just now underwater because of Sea Level Rise…

In his role as director, Jamie successfully implemented an historic, Australian-first land swap process. Oversaw the creation, planning and construction of a new estate of 120 lots. Delivered the project in only 11 months, from the time of the flood event to seeing the first families moving into their new homes, a timeline that has yet to be replicated anywhere else in the world.

Jamie’s work includes advising communities on how to adapt to climate change or natural disasters, but also advocates that community mental health support is made a top priority throughout the process of a relocation.

Jamie is an American born Australian Citizen who is now based in Brisbane, Australia. Earlier this year he toured towns in the U.S. to view their relocation efforts and advise on how future efforts could be improved, an initiative that will continue as climate adaption continues to grow in urgency. Jamie has written a book about his work and it is going to be released in the first half of 2020.

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