Private property rights are prevailing over efforts to avoid building in hazardous areas, said Sam Brody, professor of urban planning at Texas A&M, in the Sept. 2011 issue of Architect, the magazine of the American Institute of Architects.
In the article, “Sites at Risk: How Prepared are Various Global Hot Spots for Impeding Natural Disasters?” Brody said people continue to build “like gangbusters” in very vulnerable areas like Galveston.
“Recognition of hurricanes and vulnerability is counteracted by the desire to develop the landscape and reap what are usually short-term economic gains,” he said.
The legacy of development and sprawl is so strong, he added, there’s no consideration given to avoiding flood plains and areas especially susceptible to storm surge.
“And new developments themselves can affect flood patterns,” he said.
He was quoted as part of the magazine’s coverage of a rise in natural disasters and a new generation of architects’ and designers’ embrace of humanitarianism in response.
Brody, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Marine Sciences at Texas A&M University at Galveston, is the George P. Mitchell ’40 Chair in Sustainable Coasts. He also heads the Environmental Planning and Sustainability Research Unit at the College of Architecture’s Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center.