Coastal and marine blue-green infrastructure

Authors: Naylor, L.A., Kosova, E., Gardiner, T., Cutts, N., Herbert, R.J.H., Hall, A.E. and MacArthur, M.

Editors: Washbourne, C.-L. and Wansbury, C.

Publisher: Institute of Civil Engineers

ISBN: 978-0-7277-6542-0


Estuarine and coastal ecosystems support high biological productivity and provide important societal benefits including food production, carbon sequestration and alleviating erosion and flood risks for coastal communities. Coastal systems respond dynamically to changing conditions where they are unconstrained by artificial assets and infrastructure, with waves, tides and sea level fluctuations interacting with geomorphology and ecology to reshape habitats. However, human activities tend to ‘fix’ the coast in static positions in urban and peri-urban areas, limiting space for natural coastal landforms and their associated habitats, and for them to respond dynamically to climate-change impacts. Additionally, the coast faces intense pressure from the socio-ecological impacts associated with growing coastal populations alongside accelerating coastal climate-change risks. Increasing the amount of urban coastal and marine blue-green infrastructure (BGI) is key to reversing some of the deterioration of urban coastal habitats. This chapter introduces the concept of coastal BGI, signposting existing guidance, resources and case studies to support engineering applications. This chapter recommends combined urban and coastal BGI approaches to improve future resilience to coastal climate change and highlights the urgent need to (1) consider habitat connectivity as part of coastal BGI strategies and (2) rethink the land–sea boundary to help coastal ecosystems and landforms continue to provide essential ecosystem services as climate-change impacts accelerate. Emerging examples of projects and policies are presented to aid planners, developers, engineers and BGI practitioners in designing future-smart, climate-resilient flexible urban areas that include provision for current and future coastal BGI.

Source: Manual