Galveston Historical Foundation
Protecting Historic Coastal Cities

Protecting Historic Coastal Cities

The consequences of climate change, increasing storm surge, and rising sea levels are being seen and felt by coastal communities across the globe as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding increase in intensity and frequency. Understanding how coastal communities around the world have adapted to these challenging environments can help identify not only the strategies to better prepare our vulnerable cities, but also the attitudes that are most effective in producing constructive solutions.

Protecting Historic Coastal Cities is $30 and available here, at The Shop At The Palace (1402 Broadway) and Eighteen Seventy One (2002 Strand).


Protecting Historic Coastal Cities presents an overview of how historic communities in coastal environments understand and confront the unique challenges they face. It represents a variety of disciplines including historical preservation, public history, environmental science, engineering, and architecture. Authors explore communities that take a proactive approach to the special circumstance of living on a coast—historic preservation efforts in the midst of hurricane response, the 1900 Galveston Hurricane and the subsequent raising of Galveston Island, resilient housing initiatives in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, aggressive public infrastructure changes in Miami Beach, and pioneering advances in flood protection in the Netherlands.

Each disaster is different, and the unique characteristics of the event determine approaches to recovery as well as funding from both insurance and government. As we prepare for future disasters, we must understand the underlying conditions that make us vulnerable as human beings and recognize the links between the built environment and the natural environment. In Protecting Historic Coastal Cities, the authors assert that building resilient coastal communities requires a profound understanding of this relationship to confront the extreme conditions of living and working in coastal areas around the world.


Matthew Pelz is the special projects consultant for Galveston Historical Foundation. He is part of GHF’s Center for Coastal Heritage, whose goal is to preserve the built environment as a strategy toward developing sustainable communities.

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