Coastal Hazards and Smart Growth

Zoning Practice — January 2011

By John Jacob, PhD, Thomas Pacello


ZP subscriber
List Price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

Every coastal city or town to one degree or another faces the dilemma of having to be in a place that no city should be in. After Katrina it was common to hear calls for the abandonment of New Orleans. Why should we spend public money on resuscitating a city in such a wretched location? Good planning, after all, would avoid such places from the get-go.

The problem is there is no avoiding a place like the mouth of the Mississippi. There is going to be a city there no matter what: The question is what kind of city. And the same goes for most coastal cities to one degree or another. They are by necessity in a hazardous location. That is the starting point when thinking about planning for coastal cities.

This issue of Zoning Practice explains how smart growth principles embodied by places such as the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Strand in Galveston can support resilience to coastal hazards.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2011
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

John Jacob, PhD
Dr. John Jacob is the director of the Texas Coastal Watershed Program, and Professor and Extension Specialist with a joint appointment with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas A&M Sea Grant Program and the through the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Science. His current project, Coastal CHARM (Community Health and Resource Management), focuses on enabling coastal communities in Texas to improve quality of life in cities and towns while preserving and enhancing the natural coastal environment. Jacob holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, all in soils and natural resources. He is registered as a Professional Geoscientist with the State of Texas and is a Professional Wetland Scientist. The Texas Coastal Watershed Program provides education and outreach to local governments and citizens about the impact of land use on watershed health and water quality. The TCWP currently has 12-15 staff members with programs in sustainable urban planning, watershed management, habitat restoration, sustainable landscapes, and water quality issues.

Thomas Pacello