Yatang Lin, Thomas McDermott, Guy Michaels, 22 April 2021

Despite the higher susceptibility to floods and a growing climate crisis, more than 10% of the world’s population live in low-elevation coastal zones, and that percentage is growing. This column uses a new dataset on the location of housing and flood risk across thousands of kilometres of the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts to present a detailed picture of housing in low-elevation coastal zones, and its relationship to the vulnerability of different locations to flooding and sea level rise. It also explores how sea level rise may reshape cities, and considers implications in terms of rising costs of flooding and taxpayer subsidies, the economic decline of some neighborhoods, and lengthening commutes.

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