While this isn't exactly travel-related, I have seen that big buildings are not built on coastal regions i.e. regions next to the beach. Is this because of the danger of floods, the kind of soil and its ability to hold big buildings or something else altogether. Any ideas ?

Two examples - Houtbay in South Africa and the whole of Konkan Coast of India (several hundred kilometres of land) all of which are in small one floor thatched roof places but go to the interiors (as in land) and you will see big buildings.

  • 2
    I take it you've never seen any photos of Dubai ... or pretty much any other large coastal city ... New York, etc ... ? – brhans Dec 6 '16 at 18:11
  • 7
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic. – Giorgio Dec 6 '16 at 18:15
  • @Dorothy have added/given examples. – shirish Dec 6 '16 at 18:21
  • I still don't see the fit, and can't find another SE that might. It's very broad, has to do with architecture, design, construction, geology, engineering. – Giorgio Dec 6 '16 at 18:27
  • 1
    Miami/Miami Beach, New York City, Chicago, Atlantic City, Waikiki all feature many water front high rise buildings. – Johns-305 Dec 6 '16 at 18:33

Consider (for various definitions of big buildings and coasts):

Miami Miami. Wikimedia Commons: Miamiboyz

Dubai Dubai. Wikimedia Commons: Obischoff

Hong Kong Hong Kong. Wikimedia Commons: Dice

Plenty of cities have tall buildings on the coasts. Such buildings do require engineering expertise to ensure they are safe and stable, but they are possible in many areas, sometimes with the support of pilings set deep into the ground.

The world has a great deal of coastlines (measuring it is problematic, but suffice it to say for this purpose that it's a lot of space). Huge chunks of the world and its coasts are uninhabited, whether because the land is protected or simply because there's not sufficient demand to spend many millions of dollars to construct a high-rise there. Cities aren't just random collections of land; they are formed because infrastructure, natural resources, geography, history, etc... have led people to develop greater density in a particular area. Why should someone build a high-rise at a random spot along the Konkan Coast? Do a sufficient number of people want to live there? Are there roads and running water and electricity and jobs and shops and everything else to support the building and its occupants there?

Beyond that, not everybody likes high-rise buildings. Many places with beautiful beaches want to preserve the feeling of their community and so enact zoning regulations to limit the size of structures and require that they be set back from the beach to avoid the feeling of a "wall [of buildings] on the waterfront." This also helps preserve coastal views for existing property owners, who tend to react poorly if you build a large building in front of their beachfront windows.

Lastly, while natural disasters have always been a factor, climate change risks may make builders and investors more hesitant to invest in major projects that could wind up flooded.

  • Some coastal cities have hard bedrock very close to the surface. Pilings are less important in these places. New York is one such city. – phoog Dec 6 '16 at 22:10
  • @phoog Good point. And I'm sure there are places where an engineer will tell you that that construction is impossible (or at least so costly so as to be beyond consideration). – Zach Lipton Dec 6 '16 at 22:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.