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Governing Coastal Spaces: The Case of Disappearing Science in Integrated Coastal Zone Management

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Abstract:

Scientific knowledge is central to "good" governance of coastal spaces: developing methods through which the complexities of the coastal zone can be understood by stakeholders to improve the sustainable management of coastal systems. Enhancing our knowledge of the range of processes that shape coastal spaces and define the total behavioural environment of the system remains a primary challenge for the coastal research community. However, this article raises the argument that current approaches to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) - the preferred governing framework for the coastal environment, do not give sufficient emphasis to this fundamental need. Improving the basic scientific knowledge that underpins policymaking at the coast is argued to be urgently needed. Issues such as that of developing a communality of the purpose and approach between stakeholders within the coastal zone (through conflict resolution and access to information, for example) seem to claim the rights of the integrated management research agenda. However, the very nature of ICZM as "worthwhile coastal management" requires that integrated management represents more than a governing framework. Successful integration in coastal management must also be underpinned by knowledge of the integrated behavior of the system. Science has an increasingly marginalized position within ICZM and as a result geographers, contributing knowledge of the patterns and processes of the human and environmental landscapes, are also becoming a disappearing breed in integrated coastal management.

Keywords: Governance; Integrated Coastal Zone Management; System

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08920750701525768

Affiliations: Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, Enfield, United Kingdom

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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