The Geography of Risk

Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts
Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program includes an introduction and epilogue read by the author.

This century has seen the costliest hurricanes in US history - but who bears the brunt of these monster storms?

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.

©2019 Gilbert M. Gaul (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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An urgent must read

A must read for all who own real estate on coasts, contemplate building or are still questioning the risks of living by the sea.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting and Insightful

The information in this book is so interesting and so insightful into the long history of poor decision making by regular humans just wanting to live and thrive near the water. Some of the information was repetitive, but at the end I realized that it was because our coastal history is so repetitive. Build. Disaster. Rebuild. I recommend this to anyone interested in the history and future of our country.

1 person found this helpful

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Every Tax Paying American Pays for The Rich To Own Investment Property on The Eastern Seaboard

This book will blow your mind. The cycle of rebuilding over and over again at the cost of every tax payer in America. Those who want property in known paths of destruction should bare the risk. Read the tea leaves, the number of devastating storms are increasing. This is where the Federal Government needs to step in and say “no more federal funds for secondary homes”, and if you have made one FEMA claim on a property, you can’t make another for 10 years. This is socialism and both parties are complicit. Excellent read!

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Quick read... Surprising

Hope there is more to come! Found this book interesting because so many of the questions raised I asked myself over the years. Just makes you wonder how many years will it take for folks to realize development need to prepare for the changes that are the new norm.