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America's aggregate national exposure to disaster risk is rising – not necessarily due to climate change, but rather because of urbanization, coastal-ization, and land-use economics. Over the last decades, more and more Americans have moved closer and closer to the coasts, and have built more vertical, more dense, more expensive, and more technologically complex structures in low-lying areas vulnerable to natural disasters.
At the same time, inescapable principles of land-use economics dictate that affordable housing is often built last, on land that is the lowest value, least desirable, and most susceptible to flooding or earthquake. Thus hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans was disproportionately concentrated in poor neighborhood and public housing, and in New York City, the power outage rate and duration among NYCHA apartments was roughly three times that of the city as a whole.
Though we do not root for disasters, we should be clear-eyed about mitigating their risk beforehand and managing the redevelopment afterwards.