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American geographer Gilbert F. White (1911–2006) presented a compelling argument for a comprehensive approach to managing flood risk within a floodplain region in his persuasive dissertation “Human Adjustment to Floods: A Geographical Approach to the Flood Problem in the United States,” written in 1942 and published by the University of Chicago in 1945. White asserted, “Floods are ‘acts of God,’ but flood losses are largely acts of man.” Critiquing a system of reactive legislation that promoted structural engineering solutions to flooding, including seawalls, levees, and dams, White noted that the presence of these structures had provided an overconfident sense of security to the general public and had even encouraged the occupation and development of at-risk flood areas. Throughout his career, White advocated for a more holistic approach consisting of “non-structural” human adjustments to flood risk, supporting the accommodation of flood hazards through the restriction of development within areas that were periodically subjected to flooding, a policy-driven approach of adaptation that he called “floodplain management.” Indeed, as engineered flood control structures have failed to prevent disastrous floods in recent decades and as the effects of climate change will produce increased levels of risk, the floodplain management approach is gaining advocates in coastal flood zones. In addition, the ecological components of design are being used to enhance White’s policy approach to floodplain management, bringing new and innovative design responses to the development of resilient coasts.
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Gilbert F. White, “Human Adjustment to Floods: A Geographical Approach to the Flood Problem in the United States,” Dissertation (The University of Chicago, Department of Geography, 1945), 2.
See Gregory Squires and Chester Hartman, eds., There’s No Such Thing as a Natural Disaster: Race, Class, and Hurricane Katrina (New York: Routledge, 2006).
John Barry, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998).
Sherwood Gagliano was one of the first to document the rapid loss of wetlands on the Louisiana coast and propose major diversions off the Mississippi in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mike Tidwell, Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast (New York: Vintage, 2003).
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2013) Coastal Risk Reduction and Resilience. CWTS 2013-3. (Washington, DC: Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study” (2015): 7.
See http://coastal.la.gov/ for a full summary of Louisiana’s CPRA and the ongoing Coastal Master Plan. Note that the financial support of this master plan is derived from settlement fines paid by British Petroleum for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
See LOLA landscape architects, Dutch Dikes (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2014): 30.See LOLA landscape architects, Dutch Dikes (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2014): 30.
Tracy Metz and Maartje van den Heuvel, Sweet and Salt: Water and the Dutch (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 2012): 123–126.
Guy Nordenson, Catherine Seavitt, and Adam Yarinsky, On the Water: Palisade Bay (Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag/MoMA, 2010).
See 2009 conference and subsequent report: Douglas Hill, Malcolm Bowman, and Jagtar Khinda, eds., Against the Deluge: Storm Surge Barriers to Protect New York City (Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2013).
David Dunlap, “City Rolls Out a Rocky Welcome Mat for Mussels,” in New York Times, July 27, 2012.
See New York district projects: http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/ProjectsinNewYork.aspx
Robert France, Wetland Design: Principles and Practices for Landscape Architects and Land-Use Planners (New York: Norton, 2002), 13.
See also U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “Chelsea Heights, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, NJ,” Philadelphia District/Marine Design Center, May 2015.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. http://www.census.gov/2010census/data/; Trulia, LLC, Trulia Maps, https://www.trulia.com/local/atlantic-city.nj
Geohazards International, “Designing and Constructing a Tsunami Evacuation Park,” viewed June 18, 2015, http://geohaz.org/projects/sumatra_tep.html
Jack Eggleston and Jason Pope, “Land Subsidence and Relative Sea-Level Rise in the Southern Chesapeake Bay Region” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey): 1.
Source of this projection is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change– selected RCP 8.5. Robert E. Kopp, Radley M. Horton, Christopher M. Little, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Michael Oppenheimer, D. J. Rasmussen, Benjamin H. Strauss, and Claudia Tebaldi, “Probabilistic 21st and 22nd Century Sea-Level Projections at a Global Network of Tide-Gauge Sites,” Earth’s Future (2014): 383–406.
Norfolk plans, https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16292
Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha, Mississippi Floods: Designing a Shifting Landscape, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001).
See Robert R. Twilley et al., “Co-evolution of Wetland Landscapes, Flooding, and Human Settlement in the Mississippi River Delta Plain,” Sustainability Science 11, no. 4 (July 2016): 711–731.
Zhijun Ma, David S. Melville, Jianguo Liu, Ying Chen, Hongyan Yang, Wenwei Ren, Zhengwang Zhang, Theunis Piersma, and Bo Li, “Rethinking China’s New Great Wall,” Science 346 (2014): 912–4.
- Reimagining the Floodplain
Catherine Seavitt Nordenson
- Island Press/Center for Resource Economics
- Chapter 3