The Geography of Risk

The Geography of Risk

Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Costs of America's Coasts

Book - 2019
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"Consider this: Five of the most expensive hurricanes in history have made landfall since 2005: Katrina ($160 billion), Ike ($40 billion), Sandy ($72 billion), Harvey ($125 billion), and Maria ($90 billion). With more property than ever in harm's way, and the planet and oceans warming dangerously, it won't be long before we see a $250 billion hurricane. Why? Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gilbert M. Gaul reveals in The Geography of Risk to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance that shift the risk of life at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk. These federal incentives, Gaul argues, have resulted in one of the worst planning failures in American history, and the costs to taxpayers are reaching unsustainable levels. We have become responsible for a shocking array of coastal amenities: new roads, bridges, buildings, streetlights, tennis courts, marinas, gazebos, and even spoiled food after hurricanes. The Geography of Risk will forever change the way you think about the coasts, from the clash between economic interests and nature, to the heated politics of regulators and developers."
Publisher: New York :, Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2019
Edition: First edition
Description: 286 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780374160807
Branch Call Number: 363.34922 Gau


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Jan 01, 2020

It’s a cycle. Along the east coast of the USA, storms blow in. Every year the hurricanes become more ferocious, blow harder, drop more rain, flood more land, erode more shoreline and blow down more houses. Houses are rebuilt or replaced by bigger houses; government funds are used to rebuild the beaches and repair the roads and bridges. And flood damage insurance, often times substantially federal government funded, pays for a big chunk of it. It’s a cycle. In the last few years, it’s these storms along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that have been swallowing more than seventy five percent of funds earmarked for disaster relief in the US.
Geography of Risk is a book about folly: the repeated exercise of doing the wrong thing over and over again. It should make you glad you don’t live anywhere near the coasts and wary if you do.
This book has a tremendous bibliography; a huge listing of the interviewees upon which this book so heavily depends.

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