Originally Posted by dak4n6
We must re-think our strategy to managing barrier islands and beachfront property, especially in light of impending sea level rise. It is unfair that all the rest of us have to pay in a variety of ways for a minority of (mainly wealthy) beachfront property owners.
Originally Posted by boogielicious
Not sure I would agree that the coastline is in more danger. There are plenty of places that have routine repeat disasters like earthquake zones and tornado alley. The western US is constantly under threat for forest fires.
The coast and rivers have always been centers of population due to transport on the ocean. All of our major cities started either with a great harbor or on a navigable river. New Orleans is a prime example because they have access to both. The Netherlands is below sea level in a majority of their land and they are also the number 1 port for Europe. People live there because there are jobs and trade routes.
Originally Posted by airguard
Disasters can hit anyone at any time living anywhere.
Originally Posted by dak4n6
Yes, but there are places that are more prone to disaster, and our coastline arguably has the highest probability of all. It just doesn't make good sense to have small numbers of people build on ephemeral shifting bits of sand and have the rest of the population pay for them.
Regarding your example of New Orleans, when I first visited there and saw all the dikes and levies, my first thought was 'Why did they put this city here???'
Let's face it, the human race has a long history of establishing dwellings where they don't belong, and I think that over the next 10 - 100 years we will find many of those choices becoming critical.
I think boogielicious hit the nail on the head as to why people originally settled in low lying ports areas like Amsterdam and New Orleans, but there are many people who live in ocean front areas (and canyons, mountains, etc) today because of scenic beauty. While I don`t think it makes sense to make this a class warfare type argument, dak4n6 is bringing up a valid discussion that could become more and more of an issue as we go forward (especially if sea levels rise).
While disaster can strike anyone at any time, and we should be sympathetic to our fellow citizens who have been struck by them, automatically rebuilding an area that is more disaster prone may not make sense, particularly if the original reason for settling the area is not as relevant anymore (i.e. while we still use ports, it is not as necessary to live walking distance to them as we now have other modes of transportation that did not exist in previous centuries).
Of course, people have reasons for wanting to stay/move/live in disaster prone areas. I can understand this and would have less of an issue with it if insurance was 100% private (it is not, especially flood insurance that is backed by the government) and property owners paid taxes that more accurately reflected their average/expected use of public resources/services (like fire and police).