The difficulties of designing future coastlines in the face of climate change
LRG's third annual lecture, 2013
The Landscape Research Group’s third annual lecture was held on 5 December 2013 at the Landscape Institute in London, with Professor Tim O’Riordan speaking on “The difficulties of designing future coastlines in the face of climate change.”
There is considerable uncertainty over the speed and extent of sea level rise accompanying climate change. There is even more ambivalence over changing the character and nature of coasts especially in favour of realigning settlement and infrastructure when many coastal economies are weak and vulnerable. Furthermore, there is no guaranteed institutional arrangement for creating meaningful and long lasting dialogue between interested parties and coastal designers. So it is proving exceedingly difficult to create the conditions of trust and evolving participation to shape the future of coasts whose physical form cannot be assured without increasingly expensive intervention. There is no easy way out, so the fall back position is to tough it out. The reasons and the consequences of this ephemeral arrangement are discussed in the context of case studies in Norfolk and Portugal.