STEM Shoutout: Dr. Renia Ehrenfeucht

UNM professor’s research focuses on how people are responding to rapid environmental changes


Dr. Renia Ehrenfeucht, professor of community and regional planning at UNM, is investigating how climate change affects people and communities. Her current project is funded by The Water Institute of the Gulf. It is focused on assisting implementing Louisiana’s coastal master plan and strategizing for communities outside the storm protection infrastructure.


“The purpose of the project is to better understand migration, or people’s decisions about when and where to move or whether to stay, in communities facing imminent threats from hurricanes, flooding and land loss,” Ehrenfeucht said.


This research is aimed at understanding environmental migration and anticipating future development patterns as well as providing knowledge that can help shape climate adaptation policy that assists people with relocation. 


As migration is expected to increase, it is important to understand migration as an adaptation strategy as climate change progresses.


“This project is part of my broader research trajectory to understand urban change in places that are losing population, and what happens to those who stay as their families and neighbors leave,” Ehrenfeucht said.