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Beyond Rebuilding: Planning for Better Managed Retreat

October 11, 2023

Climate impacts such as sea-level rise, extreme heat and drought, and sudden natural disasters could force over 20 million Americans to permanently leave their homes by 2100. The planned relocation of climate-vulnerable residents is known as "managed retreat," and it is most commonly pursued through post-disaster buyouts. After a natural disaster damages or destroys a home, local governments may choose to offer homeowners the pre-disaster, fair-market value of their house to move away, rather than rebuild. Over the last 40 years, municipalities have relocated nearly 50,000 American households in this manner at a cost of $3.5 billion, typically a few homes at a time.At this rate of buyouts, it would take thousands of years to help all at-risk American homeowners and their households move to safety. Of course, the U.S. does not have that luxury, as the ocean is already encroaching upon entire towns. Either the government must step up to more efficiently relocate such communities en masse, or property owners will eventually be forced to abandon their homes, likely at a near-total financial loss.The U.S. needs an ambitious plan to support millions of Americans to steadily relocate in the coming decades in a way that is financially feasible, community-led, and socioeconomically equitable. The federal government, local partners, and the private sector must collaborate to (1) limit further population inflows to climate-vulnerable areas; (2) incentivize at-risk residents to move to safer ground on their own accord; and (3) proactively plan and implement buyouts at scale.

Governing the Digital Future

October 4, 2023

This report is part of a multiyear project undertaken by New America's Planetary Politics initiative on the geopolitics and global governance of the digital domain. The report analyzes divides and debates in key digital issue areas, maps the state of the global digital governance landscape, and identifies priorities for global action. The analysis draws on a review of the literature and a series of consultations and workshops held from January through June 2023. It is especially informed by the insights of the Digital Futures Task Force, an international, multidisciplinary group of researchers, technologists, and policymakers that convened at New America's Washington, DC, office for intensive discussions on these issues.

The Forgotten “Emerging” Technology: The Metaverse and Its Cybersecurity Implications

September 25, 2023

The widespread deployment of 5G devices in the United States will spur widespread use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality applications—collectively known as extended reality. The over-commercialization of the term "metaverse" has impeded honest conversations about the implications of an insecure metaverse and the technologies associated with it. While these applications and devices will bring significant benefits, they will be accompanied by numerous cybersecurity challenges. As a result, U.S. policymakers run afoul of repeating past mistakes: failing to secure technology before it ushers in a new era of national security concerns. The U.S. government must work closely with industry, academia, nonprofits, and international partners to begin thinking about these consequential issues.

Why Americans Crave Fake News: How Our Electoral System Drives Demand for Misinformation

August 21, 2023

Misinformation, or "fake news," has the power to undermine our democracy. This report offers a different way of thinking about what drives people to consume misinformation—and why it is a durable feature of our politics. While existing solutions to curb misinformation ignore the demand side of the problem, this report sheds light on how our political system may be driving our own desire for more fake news. It concludes by recommending new avenues for research.Key TakeawaysExplanations for misinformation have largely focused on the supply side of the problem: new technologies and social media platforms, partisan news outlets, and the ease of creating and circulating content, among other factors. Limited attention has been paid to the demand side of the problem.Common solutions to misinformation may prove insufficient to solve the problem because they overlook the influence of political systems in driving the demand for misinformation.The winner-take-all electoral system in the U.S. influences various social aspects that increase the demand for misinformation and facilitate its spread, including zero-sum elections, intense affective polarization, and identity-based politics.There is a need for more research on how changes to electoral rules could affect the demand for misinformation through their effects on social and identity-based factors.

More Parties, Better Parties: The Case for Pro-Parties Democracy Reform

July 3, 2023

Political parties are the central institutions of modern representative democracy. They must also be at the center of efforts to reform American democracy. To redirect and realign the downward trajectory of our politics, we must focus on political parties. We need them to do better. And in order to create better parties, we need more parties.This paper makes the case for pro-parties reform both generally, and then for two specific reforms that would center parties: fusion voting and proportional representation. Fusion voting allows for multiple parties to endorse the same candidate, encouraging new party formation. Proportional representation ends the single-member district, making it possible for multiple parties to win seats in larger, multi-member districts, in proportion to their popular support. The goal of these reforms—fusion in the short and medium term and proportional representation in the long term—is to move us toward a more representative, effective, and resilient democracy for the twenty-first century.

Building the Democracy We Need for the Twenty-First Century

June 21, 2023

This toolkit situates collaborative governance, also known as "co-governance," within a framework for building community that sees civic education, relationship building, and leadership development as essential first steps toward an effective and sustained participatory process. It offers key takeaways and best practices from effective, ongoing collaborative governance projects between communities and decision makers. The best of these projects shift decision-making power to the hands of communities to make room for more deliberation, consensus, and lasting change. Building on the lessons of successful case studies from across the United States, including Georgia, Kentucky, New York, and Washington, this toolkit aims to support local leaders inside and outside government as they navigate and execute co-governance models in their communities.

Serving Americans Well: Removing Bureaucracy to Help Americans Access Tax Credits

June 15, 2023

While tax credits can be incredibly effective at helping families afford basic needs and lifting working families out of poverty, the process of claiming them is difficult and confusing for many low- and middle-income families. Even among savvy tax filers, confusion is common. Additional barriers pervade the system for very low-income families, making it difficult for the people who need tax credits the most to get them. The IRS has made progress towards a simpler process, however much more needs to be done to ensure all Americans are served well by our tax filing system. While this issue has sadly become a political football, at root it is simply a matter of making our government work better for taxpayers. Simplifying eligibility for tax credits and removing extra bureaucracy in the process would immediately reduce childhood poverty and material hardship and translate to various long-term positive outcomes for families and society at large. Based on lessons learned from three years of work helping thousands of families in Illinois access their stimulus checks and Child Tax Credits, this paper translates the experiences of hard-working families into a series of policy recommendations from the Chicago team.

Bringing Adults Back to Community College Playbook: Strategies and Recommendations to Increase Adult Enrollment

April 26, 2023

Community college enrollment has significantly declined since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between the spring 2020 term and the spring 2022 term, community college enrollment declined by nearly 17 percent nationwide. This alarming trend has posed a threat to the well-being of community colleges and the students they serve, which includes more than half of all undergraduate students from low-income families. Community college enrollment declines threaten to worsen educational inequities. The Center on Education & Labor at New America partnered with six community colleges to reenroll adult students who had stopped out of college since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This playbook contains findings and recommendations stemming from this project and is designed to help community colleges across the country better engage, recruit, enroll, and serve adult students.

What Can Court Data Actually Tell Us About Evictions?

April 20, 2023

Eviction has become one of the most visible manifestations of America's housing crisis, with millions of families facing eviction each year. An abundance of evidence has detailed how eviction is more than a one-time event, but a destructive and traumatic process with lasting and negative consequences.Preventing unnecessary eviction requires better understanding of eviction—including its causes, consequences, and how families navigate the eviction process in the United States. In this report, we explore the primary data source on evictions—the court records generated from eviction lawsuits—and shed light on what information eviction court records can, and just as importantly, cannot tell us about eviction in the United States.

When Community Colleges Offer a Bachelor’s Degree A Literature Review on Student Access and Outcomes

March 28, 2023

Community college bachelor's (CCB) programs have only existed for a few decades, yet now reach 25 states. Since 1989, both state policies allowing these programs and the number of CCB programs itself has grown steadily. A body of research on CCBs is growing in the wake of changing state policy and the growth of new programs. This literature review synthesizes research that addresses student access and outcomes in community college bachelor's programs. Key themes include graduates' racial and ethnic diversity, strong employment rates and wages for CCB graduates, and continued discussion regarding the place and purpose of CCBs in improving students' access to bachelor's degree programs and in facilitating bachelor's degree attainment.

Housing and Climate Change in the United States Major Touchpoints and Considerations

February 15, 2023

Climate change will force millions of Americans from their homes in the coming decades. Where will these climate migrants go? Will they be able to afford safe and adequate housing in their new community? And what will happen to those who stay behind?This report presents a framework for understanding how climate change affects housing security throughout the United States. Through this analysis, we explore climate impacts on the housing security of three distinct populations:Those who move, or individuals and households that are displaced by climate disasters or voluntarily move from areas at-risk of climate impacts;Those who stay, or individuals and households that remain in areas at-risk of climate disasters, either by choice or necessity; andThose who receive, or the communities that will receive an influx of new residents due to climate-related migration.

Understanding the Partisan Divide: How Demographics and Policy Views Shape Party Coalitions

February 6, 2023

To win congressional majorities, Democratic and Republican parties must stitch together coalitions that are broad enough to accommodate their stronghold districts and swing districts, but distinct enough to differentiate themselves from each other. How each party builds these coalitions depends, in part, on the demographic characteristics and policy views of voters in districts where they garner most support and how these overlap with voters in competitive districts.In this report, we show how Democratic and Republican districts differ from each other and where they overlap with competitive districts. Democratic districts tend to be more affluent and more diverse than Republican districts, which are mostly poorer and predominantly white. Competitive districts comprise roughly equal shares of districts that are more and less affluent than the district average, but they tend to be whiter than the average district. The winner-take-all electoral system accentuates these differences and reduces the diverse constellation of districts to a binary. This results in an inadequate representation of voters in districts that are far from the median Democratic or Republican district.