Finding the coast: environmental governance and the characterisation of land and sea
© 2018 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).
Reason for embargo
Under embargo until 16 April 2020 in compliance with publisher policy.
In environmental governance for land and sea, the cultural is increasingly imbricated with the natural in the language of ecosystem services and the promise of integrated management. We are witnessing accelerated efforts to bring cultural and natural landscape character assessments into dialogue with other sorts of planning and governance mechanisms for coastal and marine environments. As land, sea, nature and culture are brought into closer correspondence, the coast assumes ever greater significance as a site and object of decision‐making in planning and environmental governance. In this paper, I draw on the critical analytical techniques of cultural geography to argue that coasts suffer from definitional ambiguity and conceptual insufficiency, both of which are exemplified by landscape and seascape characterisation, with specific consequences for environmental governance. I argue that we need to (1) both recognise and destabilise the unhelpful dichotomy between land and sea embodied in landscape and seascape character assessments, which have their provenance in landscape architecture; and (2) engage new language and conceptual tools that help us to rethink coasts critically. To this end, later on this paper, I briefly discuss alternative ways of conceptualising the coast, for example as a liminal space.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Published online 16 April 2018.