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The following is excerpted from “Resilience for All: Striving for Equity Through Community-Driven Design,” by Barbara Brown Wilson (Island Press, 2018).
Biloxi’s urban fabric developed in response to successive environmental shocks. Perched on a peninsula between Biloxi Bay and the Mississippi sound, East Biloxi’s low-lying topography and tidal marshlands make it extremely vulnerable to hurricane winds from the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes hit the area 52 times in the past 145 years, and Biloxi continues to be brushed or hit by increasingly intense storms every 2.79 years. Recent oil spills provide an additional, ongoing challenge to the health of the bayou-rich inlet. As is common for U.S. urban development patterns, the ecologically vulnerable areas were also subject to the effects of Jim Crow–era segregation that still compound to limit resource provision in East Biloxi today.