Conundrum re Coastal Development & Redevelopment

The Coastal Conundrum. Washington Post, December 17, 2012. The author speaks from years of experience. Some Excerpts:

 Our present losses and future fortunes are becoming clearer with each passing storm, leaving coastal dwellers stranded somewhere between the clear, abstract logic of change and the emotional and economic forces that hold us in place.  Billions of dollars of investments, both business and personal, tie us to the shore. Walk away from all that we own and possess? Not yet. Not unless someone is willing to make us whole.

So, without clear legal authority, without support from state and federal government, without policies that illuminate the path out of this mess toward the future envisioned by pundits, we’ll stay put. We’ll rebuild a little higher, pay more for insurance, speak more often at family gatherings about selling the house at the shore. But we’re in for one more cycle.

Sandy, like Katrina and Andrew, will be one of the storms that came before the storm that changed things in coastal America. Like those earlier storms, it has eroded resistance to change and has shifted thinking. Sandy will not be the game-changer that many have called it, because we are not yet ready to change.

1 thought on “Conundrum re Coastal Development & Redevelopment

  1. The really exasperating aspect of this is that we might not get the “next big one” for several decades. In general, we haven’t figured out how to deal with an inevitable repetitive disaster when its repeat time is on such an extended scale. People forget (how many stories about Sandy called it “unprecedented” in ignorance of the Long Island Express 74 years before?), the impetus to action of the last disaster is spent, and the forces of short-term gain proceed in blissful ignorance – until hammered again.

    Some communities have figured it out. Charleston, SC, for example, considers earthquakes (average period between big ones of 3-500 years) in both their building codes and emergency management plans.

    Too many haven’t – that’s why Camille was at least partially responsible for many of the Katrina/Rita deaths and much of the damage.

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