"From New Hampshire to Florida, and virtually the entire coast of the Gulf of Mexico, our shoreline is a succession of low-lying barrier islands, beaches, sand dunes, bluffs, and unconsolidated landforms. They are the front line of storm defense for a thousand miles of United States Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastline. The low-lying lands immediately adjacent to the open oceans are hostile environments for man to build in. The combination of coastal storm surges, wave action, battering by debris, scouring, and high winds makes development highly hazardous in such coastal areas...Operation of the National Flood Insurance Program in three Rhode Island coastal communities studied by the author in 1975 indicated a number of counterproductive forces to the goals of the Program. In response, the Federal Insurance Administration questioned extrapolation of the Rhode Island experience to all of the nation's coasts, but expressed concern that phenomena found there might be more widespread. It proposed to investigate the effects of flood insurance availability at several points along the U.S. coast , and to perform a random investigation of coastal development to determine the impact of flood insurance on the acquisition or construction of coastal properties. The author's ensuing study, reported here, has combined field investigations of fifteen coastal communities with survey data obtained by the Wharton School of Finance of the University of Pennsylvania."
United States. Department of Housing and Urban Development