There are a variety of techniques and efforts used to stabilize shorelines throughout the world and some are temporary and some are permanent. Structures built to protect a coast from erosion or to prevent the movement of sand along a beach are known as hard stabilization (Lutgens and Tarbuck, 2008).
There are three common types of hard stabilization which are considered to be permanent techniques. The first types of hard stabilization are called groins. A groin is a barrier built at a right angle to the beach to trap sand that is moving parallel to the shore.
The next types are breakwaters, which are structures designed to protect watercraft from the force of large breaking waves by creating a quiet water zone near the shore. The third type is a seawall. Seawalls are just that; walls built parallel to the shore to protect the coast and property from the force of breaking waves.
Hard stabilization is usually very effective and a lot of the time too effective. Groins tend to sand-starve the longshore, breakwaters may allow sand to accumulate behind the structure due to reduced wave activity and seawalls causes the beach seaward side to experience significant erosion.
Alternatives to hard stabilization are beach nourishment and relocation. Beach nourishment is replacing sand on beaches, however the downside to this is that is does not last and is expensive. Relocation is relocating storm damaged buildings and buildings at high risk, thus allowing nature to reclaim the beach. The downside to this is that people do not want to give up their ocean front property. (Lutgens and Tarbuck, 2008)
I do not believe that urbanization and development of coastal area always contribute to shoreline erosion because people want to protect their property from erosion therefore doing what they can to prevent erosion. However, I also believe that sometimes people end up doing more harm than good with their methods used to prevent shoreline erosion from happening.
Lutgens, F. and Tarbuck, E. (2008). Foundations of Earth Science: Fifth Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.