Beachfront building boom belies rising sea levels

Oceanside construction continues despite climate change
June 14, 2013 11:30AM

From the South Florida site: New Yorkers and South Floridians continue to build beachfront homes even as the ocean rises, the Economist reported.

Fort Lauderdale is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, which swept through South Florida before heading north, the magazine said. The city is building a new sea wall, mending the highway and bolstering its eroded beaches with sand from an inland mine in central Florida, the magazine said.

But South Florida’s fast-growing population coupled with an influx of cash buyers, spending millions on oceanfront properties, makes deterrence impractical.

The same is true in the Northeast U.S., despite rising sea levels and ever-more devastating storms.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg released an ambition plan June 11, calling for floodwalls and levees, storm-surge barriers, the construction of a new lower Manhattan district modeled off Battery City and protected by multi-level levees and the enhancement of natural barriers such as sand dunes and wetlands around the outer boroughs.

Seth Pinsky, in charge of New York City’s post-Sandy plan, told the Economist the city has 400,000 people, 270,000 jobs and 68,000 buildings inside the 100-year flood plain. [Economist] –Emily Schmall