Coastal zones and urbanization

McEvoy, D 2015, Coastal zones and urbanization, IHDP, Bonn, Germany


Document type: Commissioned Reports
Collection: Commissioned Reports

Title of report Coastal zones and urbanization
Author(s) McEvoy, D
Year of publication 2015
Publisher IHDP
Place of publication Bonn, Germany
Subjects Natural Hazards
Environmental Management
Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Abstract/Summary A report (Hallegatte et al., 2013)1 issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in August 2013 forecasts a troubling future for life in coastal cities around the world. By 2050 - less than 40 years from now - large coastal cities can expect a nine-fold increase in flood risk, according to the report. Yet as the level of risk on the coast increases, coastal populations continue to grow. The study looked at 136 cities and concluded that current defenses and strategies are largely inadequate. Without action, the annual price tag on global flood losses could reach US$1 trillion in socio-economic loss, property damage, compromised biodiversity, and more. Such severe flooding would mean the loss of coastline, the loss of infrastructure, and likely, as history has shown, some loss of life. Additionally, such flooding would likely weaken fisheries, nearby agriculture, ports, and other industries and enterprises, and diminish human well-being and the ecosystem services provided by the coastal zone. The causes are rooted chiefly in development policy. They are rooted in the policies that leave little choice for the poor and marginalized but to migrate or remain in at-risk urban areas, including many low-lying riverine and tidal areas. They lie in the development failures that prevent systematic upgrading and support for these communities so that, over time, the numbers of the vulnerable poor have grown exponentially. The situation is amplified by climate change which causes sea-level rise which is further complicated, in some coastal cities, by land subsidence (the caving in or sinking of land). New migrants to the coast will be drawn there by perceived economic opportunity, among other factors, even though coastal life will become increasingly challenging and risky without major intervention and policy ingenuity.
Commissioning body IHDP
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