At Risk: Natural Hazards, People's Vulnerability, and Disasters

By Ben Wisner; Piers Blaikie et al. | Go to book overview
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7

COASTAL STORMS

Introduction
People have lived along coasts since antiquity. The most recent phase of colonial expansion (since the middle of the nineteenth century) and the establishment of a world market have greatly increased the numbers of urban settlements, plantations, ports and naval bases and other centres of population in coastal areas. More recently, tourism and the global expansion of export-oriented industries have added to the attraction of coastal locations. The 1999 Hangzhou Declaration of representatives of large coastal cities noted the following:
More than half of the world's population…lives in coastal areas and is expected to develop uninterruptedly in the following decades.
This process has been associated with population growth and tourist pressure increase….
Coastal mega-cities (cities with eight million inhabitants or more) have increased in number in such a way as to become the key component of coastal areas.
Small coastal cities (three to eight million inhabitants) are also proliferating.
The most populated mega-cities are located in the developing world, and this spatial process is expected to accelerate in the twenty-first century.
Coastal urbanisation has increased coastal erosion, and the rise of new resource uses have produced increasingly complicated coastal use patterns.
Coastal cities have become key spatial elements of globalisation processes.
These spatial processes…have provoked acceleration in human pressure on the local ecosystems and natural resources.

Several of the fastest growing cities, all projected to have 20-30 million inhabitants each by the year 2025, have long histories of exposure to severe

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