Cover

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pp. 1-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

Our fascination with the Outer Banks began when we first visited the islands twenty years ago. As we revisited the Outer Banks over the years, we soon recognized that the interaction between nature and humankind created a narrative that invited reflection and study. ...

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One: A Place Created by Change

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pp. 1-9

Not much wider than 3 miles at the broadest place and barely 100 yards at the narrowest point, the Outer Banks consists of a succession of narrow islands that shelter the North Carolina mainland from the sea for more than 175 miles. At the northernmost section of the Outer Banks, Currituck Banks and Bodie Island, which are connected, ...

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Two: Change by Nature

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pp. 10-20

Before humans ever set foot on the Outer Banks, nature’s forces made change an integral part of the physical environment. The persistent winds and enormous energy released by breaking waves make the ocean coastline one of the fastest changing places on earth. ...

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Three: Change by Humankind

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pp. 21-38

In the mid–fourteenth century Europeans were enjoying a steady stream of luxury goods such as spices, silks, and dyestuffs, which were produced in Arab and Turkish lands. Many of the goods moved through Italian ports, especially Genoa and Venice, where merchants grew wealthy by extracting monopolistic fees from the trade. ...

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Four: Understanding the “Sea of Troubles” Facing Coastal Communities

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pp. 39-67

Economic growth and development have changed the Outer Banks rapidly in recent decades. Unfortunately sometimes the development damages the island environment. In order to understand why we spoil coastal areas that we value so much, we must understand how incentives affect decision makers. ...

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Five: Attempts at Controlling Change by Nature

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pp. 68-81

The forces of nature are similar in some ways to forces that operate in the market economy. The market system does a great balancing act of allocating scarce resources to the uses that society values most highly. In the marketplace consumers and producers act independently to determine the market equilibrium price. ...

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Six: Living with Change in Coastal Communities

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pp. 82-104

Physical processes such as storms, waves, and wind make coastlines some of the most changeable places on the earth’s surface. The change caused by a particular force, such as the 1846 hurricane that struck Portsmouth Island, can be both immediate and deferred. Human activities can alter barrier islands as well. ...

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Seven: Time and Chance

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pp. 105-118

Often communities develop at specific locations because some natural features promote commerce. Port cities, for example, develop in locations that offer ships deepwater harbors and shelter from storms. The first major cities in the United States were port cities—such as New York, Charleston, and New Orleans—that prospered because of the shipping trade. ...

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Eight: An Apprenticeship with Change

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pp. 119-128

As the history of Portsmouth Island illustrates, the well-being of Outer Bankers is linked to the changing island environment; this is true today just as when humans first visited the islands. In addition to this connection, the landforms of the Outer Banks are valuable for many reasons. ...

Notes

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pp. 129-136

Bibliography

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pp. 137-146

Index

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pp. 147-153