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SOLUTIONS for ENVIRONMENTAL CONTRASTS in COASTAL AREAS

Final Report Summary - SECOA (SOLUTIONS for ENVIRONMENTAL CONTRASTS in COASTAL AREAS)

Executive Summary:
SECOA has studied 17 coastal metropolitan/urban areas of international/national-regional importance and 26 environmental contrasts/conflicts in 8 countries in Europe and Asia.
The research has confirmed that climate change is one of the most important challenges for all the coastal areas that have been studied. The most important consequences are: (i) the floods directly associated with sea level rise, (ii) an increase in the number and intensity of coastal flooding caused by storm surges and reduced runoff from rainfall. Human mobility has been confirmed to be the second phenomenon of global dimension having a key role in shaping the environmental contrasts and conflicts characterized by (i) durations; (ii) frequencies; (iii) variable functions. Mobility has been studied as a phenomenon including permanent migration, various forms of temporary migration, tourism and commuting. Applying the concept of Functional Urban Regions, coastal urban regions have been disaggregated into cores and rings, defined in terms of population density, jobs and flows of commuters. Assessment of environmental resources and criticalities and relationships of cause and effect between social, economic and environmental components was performed using the DPSIR approach.
SECOA has developed a thematic understanding of the multidimensional environmental conflicts taking into account their main aspects and characteristics (Actors / Stakeholders / Parties and Roots / Causes / Substances). To facilitate an adaptive management approach, consensus building, participation and social learning, an environmental Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF) has been elaborated. CAF has allowed us to frame possible solutions for mitigating environmental conflicts in the context of broader sustainable development strategies. A multi-criteria analysis approach to unfold a nuanced understanding of the causes, dynamics / evolution and effects of the environmental conflicts in a multidimensional way was implemented. It has been a base for democratic discussion and negotiation, not a technocratic device for authoritarian problem solving. SECOA developed, as taxonomy result and as communication tool, the "finger prints" approach. “Finger prints” explain the interrelationships between components of the conflicts in relation to time (the evolution of the process of conflict), and to space (the hierarchy of the geographic dimension). The modelling has been carried out in continuity with the previous phase of data organization, taxonomy, and through the use of Feed-Forward Neural Networks (FFNN).
It has been found that there is no ultimate collaborative and integrative master plan for sustainable natural resource management and conflict mitigation in coastal urban areas. Collaboration and integration do come out as important but are most likely not enough in most coastal urban areas. There is a potential for general policy strategies and design principles, but in order to be useful and appropriate, they always depend on contextualization. The results from the pilot studies carried out by four different SECOA team members have proven that addressing local and regional coastal urban conflicts through this Scenario building methodology helped actors to achieve a big picture, supporting decision makers to take more efficient decisions. Pilot studies also proved that this approach contributes to public awareness, empowerment of groups at risk, and increases support for mitigation measures proposed by other planning tools. Therefore, stakeholders are able to have much better positioning regarding unexpected events by using scenario-planning methods.
All future activities are necessarily characterized by risk and uncertainty, because the future simply cannot be known. The challenge for both individuals, and policy makers, is to mediate these risks and four main approaches are possible: by acquiring increased knowledge, so as to reduce the exposure to risk (known risks) and uncertainties (unknown risks); by relying on trust; by diversification, so as to reduce the risks from any one source; and by insuring against the outcomes of various forms of risk. Our findings also underscored the necessity to offset simulated results with the feasibility of coastal management. In this respect development limitations rather than coastal defences are a less tortuous and less costly route to follow and implement. Whatever the mechanism chosen, the results showed that with limited information, sensible assumptions and some very basic forecasting techniques it was possible to simulate the effects of different coastal management mechanisms in a way easily and intuitively understandable for policy makers and practitioners.
The obtained results can be considered to be the base for a DSS to support policy-makers in their decision-taking processes. The resulting DSS has the following characteristics: (i) it is able to handle data that present a certain range of uncertainties and is able to return these uncertainties in outputs; (ii) it is able to incorporate data representing spatial and temporal dynamics; (iii) it is able to integrate economic, social and environmental variables; (iv) it can be used for forecasting; (v) it is easy to use and able to put in communication scientific community and policy-makers; (vi) it can be used to favour the stakeholders participation; (vii) it is able to simplify complex information. Such a DSS can be utilized to support policy makers in their decision-taking processes for ICZM.
In order to favour public awareness about the issues raised by SECOA, the Consortium followed several paths including conference organization, public project presentations and academic publication activities. To such purpose, the dissemination activities concentrated primarily on: (i) organization of public conferences and international workshops; (ii) setting up of SECOA website; (iii) publications and participation to events; (iv) capacity building in Vietnam and India.
Project Context and Objectives:
Urban settlements, following the economic crisis of the 70s, entered in a process of regional and urban restructuring to gain a new image at the international level. As a result of the renewed economic success new flows of permanent, semi-permanent, temporary and daily “human mobility” followed: (i) for consumption (leisure and tourism), (ii) for production (labor migration). The world competition among metropolitan areas highlighted the essential importance of natural and cultural resources.
The project considered the effects of human mobility on urban growth and restructuring in coastal areas where (i) environment is more fragile and space limited, (ii) every phenomenon is more concentrated and (iii) effects on natural and cultural environment are more acute. Problems are multiplied since the climate change affecting environmental parameters such as sea levels - increases risks of flooding, propagation of pollutants, dislocation of a great number of settlers.
Different interests, uses and users acting in coastal areas are contributing to growing conflicts among stakeholders. Mitigating the conflicts and managing the scarce resources was one of the aims of the SECOA project. An integrated ecosystem approach - incorporating social, economic and natural disciplines - is essential for understanding and dealing with the complex and dynamic problems those coastal urban environments are facing.
SECOA objectives were:
• To identify contrasts and conflicts;
• To analyze their effects on the environment;
• To create models to synthesize the complexity of the different social, economic and environmental systems;
• To compare the priority of each typology through taxonomy;
• To propose innovative policies for the mitigation/resolution of contrasts and conflicts;
• To build alternative development scenarios based on case studies.
SECOA investigated eight metropolitan areas of international/global importance and nine urban areas of regional/national importance in European and Asian countries as follows:
• Belgium - Oostende and Zeebrugge
• India - Mumbai metropolitan area and Chennai metropolitan area
• Israel - Tel Aviv metropolitan area and Haifa metropolitan area
• Italy - Rome metropolitan Area and Chieti-Pescara urban area
• Portugal - Lisbon metropolitan Area, Algarve region, and Funchal urban area
• Sweden - Gothenburg metropolitan Area and Malmö urban area
• United Kingdom - Thames Gateway and Portsmouth city
• Vietnam - Hai Phong metropolitan area and Nha Trang metropolitan Area
SECOA was characterized by a strong integrative approach to the problem of Integrated Costal Zone Management, by a multidisciplinary research team combining Urban Planning, Environmental Management and Social Sciences and by a complex system putting together analyses in numerous fields (Geology, Marine Biology, Chemistry, Human Ecology, Human Mobility, Urban Studies, Socio-Economic Sciences).
SECOA foresaw an active involvement of Stakeholders (Regional, National Public and International Public Authorities), in this implementing a bottom-up approach.
Project Results:
1 - Climate changes and effects on the management of coastal areas
1.1 - Introduction
It is now a well-established fact that our world is getting warmer. The global average temperature has risen by 0.85 °C between 1880 and 2012, and changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed since about 1950 according to a recent United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report for policymakers (IPCC, 2013). Abundant scientific data demonstrate that the increase in temperature over the last century has resulted in change in the average weather conditions at the local, regional and global level and the human influence on the climate system is clear. Climate change refers to this shift in the temperature, precipitation and other climatic parameters.
Climate change is one of the most critical challenges faced by many of the world's largest and fastest-growing cities located on the coast. Several studies in the recent decades indicate that, apart from significant losses in the ecosystem, the impacts of importance to coastal cities include: a) inundation associated with sea level rise, and b) increased coastal flooding by increased runoff and storm surges. The decades ahead are projected to witness increased risks to people, infrastructures and ecosystems in the coastal zones.
Many of the world's largest and fastest-growing cities are located on the coast and therefore are vulnerable to climate change related hazards. Under the SECOA Project seventeen metropolitan and urban coastal regions of Europe and Asia were investigated to understand the areas that will be affected by sea level rise and increased probability of flooding. The coastal cities included: Rome and Chieti-Pescara in Italy, Haifa and Tel Aviv in Israel, Lisbon, Algarve and Funchal in Portugal, Portsmouth and Thames Gateway in UK, Mumbai and Chennai in India, Hai Phong and Nha Trang in Viet Nam, Gothenburg and Malmö in Sweden, and Oostende and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
1.2 - Sea-Level Rise Inundation Maps showing parts of urban areas that are likely to be affected
According to the IPCC (2013) report, over the period 1901 to 2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.19 m and the global mean sea level rise for 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005 will likely be in the ranges of 0.26 to 0.82 m. The projected rise in sea level is likely to cause catastrophic flooding of coastal cities. Therefore, all the large metropolitan coastal cities are at risk and represent one topic of widespread concern.
In order to understand the current rates of sea level rise (SLR) in the SECOA case studies, first the available tidal records were analyzed. The results show that the annual rate of rise in sea level for Mumbai, Chennai, Lisbon, Algarve and Portsmouth is lower than the global average. Hai Phong, Thames Estuary (London) and Zeebrugge have higher rates than the mean global rate of SLR during the 20th century. This only suggests that apart from global warming, local factors are also playing an important role.
To assess the potential impacts of future climate change and rise in sea level such as extreme storm surges, flooding and enhanced erosion, several SLR scenarios were developed for the SECOA cities. DEM and GIS were used to assess how susceptible the coastal cities under review are to the sea rising at three different levels (0.5 1.0 and 2.0 m) under calm, rain free conditions (passive flooding) and assuming no human response to SLR (see figure 1.1 in Annex I). The existing flood defenses were not taken into account. In addition, several other scenarios have been developed for some metropolitan cities by taking into account the height of extreme (50-yr or 100-yr) storm surges or tsunami waves (100-yr). Overlying inundation maps on the land use maps of the city assessed the estimated land cover categories potentially affected under different scenarios. The geographical extent of flooding due to enhanced sea level was estimated. The SLR scenarios demonstrate that 0.5 to 2.0 m rise would swamp most of the low-lying parts of the coastal cities, particularly in Hai Phong City in Viet Nam. The loss of land will be comparatively less in the case of Chieti-Pescara in Italy and Tel Aviv in Israel.
The direct impact of SLR is inundation and loss of land. The results suggest that several tens of thousands of people in Mumbai, Hai Phong and Nha Trang are likely to be displaced due to SLR. The slum dwellers of Mumbai will be most adversely affected. The area under mangroves within the limits of Mumbai and Hai Phong has been projected to decrease considerably by seawater inundation. In Portsmouth City, around 90 to 95% of the salt marshes and inter-tidal flats are likely to be submerged even under low-rise scenario. Other cities are projected to experience increased erosion of cliffs and beaches and recession of coastline.
1.3 - Assessment of Frequency-Magnitude of Extreme Rainfall Events and Flood Hazard Zoning
Apart from sea level rise, two most frequently cited consequences of global climate change are: an increase in extreme rainfall events and coastal flooding. In the large coastal cities, the flood-prone area is likely to increase. Therefore, studies were carried out to understand the nature of climatic trends for all the 17 SECOA metropolitan cities.
In order to evaluate the frequency of extreme rainfall events, daily rainfall data for >30 years for one or more rain gauging stations within each metropolitan region were analyzed. Extreme rainfall events were defined as those exceeding the 95th percentile for magnitude and frequency analysis. Various types of probability distributions were fitted to 1-day, 2-day and 3-day annual maximum daily rainfall series to estimate the maximum rainfall of different return periods of 1 in 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 years. To detect monotonic trends in 1-day rainfall, various parametric and non-parametric tests were applied. In addition to this, the maps of the metropolitan cities showing the areas flooded during the most recent extreme rainfall event(s) were also generated to estimate the extent of rainfall-induced flooding.
As expected, the most extreme values of 1-day rainfall are observed in Asian cities such as Mumbai in India (945 mm), Chennai in India (452 mm) and Nha Trang in Viet Nam (345 mm). Amongst the European metro cities the highest 1-day rainfall > 200 mm were recorded at Funchal in Portugal (282 mm) and Pescara in Italy (216 mm).
Time series analyses reveal that there is no statistically significant trend in the extreme rainfall events during the last three or more decades, in the case of most of the metropolitan cities under review. Only two coastal cities viz. Tel Aviv in Israel and Hai Phong in Viet Nam show significant negative trends, and only one city (Malmö in Sweden) shows significant positive trend in heavy rainfall amounts.
In addition to this, flood hazard zonation maps were prepared to get an overview of the area where the flood hazard could occur and should be taken into consideration before planning any other use. The spatial-analytic hierarchy process (S-AHP) approach was adopted in the preparation of the Flood Hazard Zone Maps (see figure 1.2 in Annex I) for two study areas in each country, except in the UK. A combination of different criteria (up to 5) was used to compute a composite index, the Flood Hazard Index (FHI). The FHI was used to identify and map high, medium and low hazard zones.
Flood hazard zone mapping reveals that the area under high flood hazard is generally <10%. In terms of absolute area, only three metropolitan cities have significant large area under high risk of flooding, namely Rome, Mumbai and Chennai. Minimum area under high flood hazard zone has been identified for Malmö, followed by Gothenburg in Sweden. Population density emerges as the most significant criterion in the case of Italy, India, Viet Nam and Israel. In Swedish case studies it is the second most important criterion.
1.4 - Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and Institutional Responses to Coastal Hazards
Any type of disaster management programs in the large coastal cities has to be prepared by considering the projected future climate-related risks. Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) is now widely recognized and promoted as the most appropriate process to deal with climate change (IPCC, 2007) and to achieve sustainable development by developing and implementing a continuous management capability that can respond to changing climatic conditions and associated hazards.
A study of existing ICZM programs in the SECOA case studies reveals that all countries have succeeded in making some progress in ICZM and participate in some form of international program to promote ICZM.
To understand how institutions response to natural disasters and to identify the non-market costs associated with these responses, studies were carried out through a cross-country comparative case study of institutional responses to vulnerability to natural coastal hazards.
The study reveals that the motivation to create the institutional response is mostly from a physical trigger (inception of natural disaster) or from an institutional one (official report on hazard condition, foreign directives and more). Institutional response to natural hazards requires the involvement of a wide array of governmental bodies in various fields (infrastructure, emergency response, planning regulation, local municipalities). Because of this fragmentation of institutional mandates between various governmental bodies and agencies, we are likely to have a specialized inter-governmental committee as the most widespread organizational form. Conflicts over institutional responses are likely to erupt over budget allocation, between those who overestimate the cost of the project versus those who underestimate its costs and over the implementation speed (rapid vs. slow) of the response. The ultimate conflict implication to an institutional response is as expected, a complete termination of the response process. This kind of implication was not apparent in the cases examined, but some conflicts may lead to it later in the implementation process.
To minimize the adverse impacts of projected climate changes, adaptation is one of the key strategies suggested in recent years (IPCC, 2012). Adaptation to climate change requires an effective climate risk management in the large coastal cities. Successful adoption to climate change related risks requires not only awareness amongst the concern vulnerable communities and all the stakeholders, but also comprehensive and scientific understanding of climate risks, and adoption of sound economic, infrastructural, and disaster management policies.
2 - Natural resources at risks and measurement methods (DPSIR)
2.1 - Approach to measurement methods
2.1.1 - DPSIR as common framework
To identify conflicts on resource use and to assess the environmental resources involved in specified coastal ecosystem or part thereof (habitats) the DPSIR framework was chosen to be used for all case studies in SECOA. The DPSIR acronym stands for: Driving forces for environmental change, Pressures on the environmental resources, Status of environmental resources resulting from D and P, Impact on society, economy and ecosystem, and Responses of society to the identified pressures and environmental changes (policies, laws etc.). The DPSIR framework is often used for environmental assessments and assumes cause-effect relationships between interacting components of social, economic and environmental systems (EEA 1995; Rounsevell et al. 2010). The method was derived from the framework on the interaction indicators for sustainable development (OECD, 1994, 2003) and has been used as a multi-disciplinary tool for analyzing environmental conflicts aiming at sustainable resource use solutions (see Figure2.1 in Annex I).
Since the case study areas in the SECOA project are very heterogeneous and are subjected to heterogeneous drivers, the work package leader for this task (Lan 2011 a, b) recommended to focus the DPSIR study on one component of the coastal resources: coastal wetlands. This was done in most of the case studies, but not in all. The DPSIR analyses applied here relate to natural resources including biodiversity of temperate coastal wetlands, tropical mangroves and coral reefs, whole coastal landscapes, urban landscapes and, in some cases, specific issues as air and water quality. The scope of the DPSIR analyses differs, from landscape scale with numerous habitats to including only one habitat. T. Due to the divergences in spatial and temporal scales and habitats focused in the different case studies it was not possible to detect a general pattern for the result. Nonetheless, it can be stated that the DPSIR method was helpful in identifying environmental conflicts by distinguishing pressures, drivers and responses and potential decision alternatives. However, the very different cases illuminated the strong need for strict specification of the framework in terms of scales and elements of the ecosystem to be targeted.
2.1.2 - Indicator development for quantitative measurement
Analysis of the DPSIR for important ecosystems of each case study supports the assessment of the use of natural resources (ecosystems). Moreover, the applied DPSIR framework to coastal ecosystems is the basis for organizing the system of indicators to quantitatively assess the sustainable use of natural resources. Therefore, selected indicators for the assessment were different from case to case. From sets of indicators for assessment selected for case studies, sustainability indices were developed and calculated for selected coastal ecosystems (ecosystem components) of most SECOA case studies (Lan 2011b), except for Swedish cases and Portuguese case study of Funchal. Sustainability index of coastal natural resources objectively reflects the use of natural resources and also the response of the systems. To assess the use of natural resources, experts can deploy DPSIR framework or indicator set organized by applying the DPSIR or sustainability index developed from indicator sets. Each of mentioned tools can be used dependent on available data. The later tools need more data series and show more quantitative assessment. The development of sustainability index is based on the system of indicators for assessment. Basically, the index can be calculated as: Combination of indicators = Index
Steps to generate an index are illustrated in the flow chart (see Figure 2.2 in Annex I).
Developed Indices for SECOA case studies deployed to produce sustainability maps of natural ecosystems and environmental components (Lan, 2012) show the widely potentials of using indices.
2.2 - Natural resources at risk
The high diversity in physical environments and socio-economic conditions among SECOA partner countries created various kinds of natural resources in general and different coastal ecosystems in particular. Therefore, all project partners agreed to select coastal ecosystems or their components to assess their sustainable use with the main criteria, including the importance of these ecosystems, available information and data enough for the assessment. Methods applied for the assessment included DPSIR framework (Swedish case studies) and further employing of sustainability indicators and indices for ecosystems and the environment.
In Belgian case studies, the use of natural resources has been changing from sustainable way to unsustainable way in the period 2001-2007. In 2006 and 2007, the coastal ecosystem in the case studies was under unsustainable use. Indian case studies with mangroves and marshlands assessed have shown the degradation of these ecosystems in the period 1997-2008, indicating the increasing tendency of unsustainable use.
With the index of vegetation cover of coastal ecosystem, Israeli case studies have shown a largely unsustainable system further degrading over time from late 1990’s to late 2000’s. Analysis and calculation of the values of sustainability indices of land use and land cover in Italian coastal ecosystems made evident that land use in almost all the coastal municipalities in Rome and in Chieti-Pescara were changing from sustainable to unsustainable use in the period 2000-2006. Coastal ecosystems of the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon and Eastern Algarve assessed with indices of sustainability, were in sustainable use from 1990’s to 2000’s, but showed a steady decrease since 1990. In the UK, currently, all areas have adequate management and implemented measures that will support their sustainability in the short and medium term. Therefore, the index of sustainability have indicated areas subjected to higher-pressure levels (i.e. likely to negatively affect the conservation state of intertidal habitats) and have shown the increasing pressure from Medway, Langstone Harbor, Portsmouth Harbor Thames Estuary, Benfleet and Swale. In Vietnamese case studies, coastal wetlands with mangroves and coral reefs have shown the absolutely degradation of those ecosystems in the period 1990-2000, indicating the increasing tendency of unsustainable use of coastal natural resources. For Swedish case studies, coastal ecosystems assessed have shown that they were in sustainable use. However, some potential threats from human activities and climate change were problematically raised.
Although the location in very different geographic regions, the different socio-economic development, although different coastal natural resources in different time scales were assessed, some similarities in natural resources use in SECOA case studies could be detected. These include: (i) the increase of pressures on coastal natural resources; (ii) the decline over time from sustainable to unsustainable use of coastal ecosystems in India, Vietnam and Israel; (iii) an unclear tendency in the sustainable use of coastal ecosystems in Belgium and Italy, and Portugal; (iv) a certain level of sustainable use in Sweden and the UK. All countries have made efforts to reach the sustainable use of coastal natural resources with the participation to international conventions, issuing national and local policy systems for a rational use of natural resources and for the environmental protection.
In overall remarks, sustainable use of natural resources in coastal areas is not achieved in a short term without the cooperation and collaboration among countries, territories and regions. It requires continuously a number of efforts from country to country, different sectors and communities. The DPSIR framework has been homogeneously applied in all case studies; indicators and indices deployed have some limitations in comparability; nevertheless, they allow to evaluate and present the tendency of the sustainability of the coastal natural resources; this is helpful and supportive for developing some basic tools for the management process. The sustainable use of natural resources in most of the European case studies could be a good example for India and Vietnam in the way to approach to sustainable management of natural resources and the environment.
3. - Towards a Conflict Assessment Framework as a tool for negotiated conflict mitigation
3.1 - Introduction
Garrett Hardin’s (1968) thesis on the “tragedy of the commons” concerning the overexploitation of resources is comprehensively reflected in the contemporary restructuring issues of coastal urban environments. While the majority of the world’s population is now living in cities, most of these are located near the sea. The message of Hardin’s parable is that herdsmen sharing a common pasture are led to overstock their herds and destroy their shared resource, when lead by a search for optimizing personal gain. Caught between the ever increasing economic pressures, the demographic pressures of inhabitants and visitors, and the growing demand for environmentally and socially sustainable development, coastal areas are fast emerging as a locus for a new generation of environmental and land use conflicts.
Multiple processes at different scales are involved in the construction and shaping of these conflicts that change and evolve over time and turn them into ‘complex adaptive systems’. On the one hand, conflicts result from objective incompatibilities like in alternative land uses or impossible proximities. They can be mapped with academic research means. On the other hand, conflicts result from incompatible common behaviour or the lack of integrated planning or framing. They are the result of societal agendas and need to be dealt with at levels of governance and social interaction. Understanding and assessing urban environmental conflicts in coastal areas is crucial for managing and resolving them and requires diagnostic and analytical capabilities for understanding the multiple processes shaping them. Developing an interdisciplinary knowledge base for understanding environmental conflicts was, thus, our main goal. The specific objective of our work, therefore, was to develop diagnostic and analytical capabilities through developing an environmental conflict assessment framework (CAF) that is based on an in-depth interdisciplinary understanding and analysis of the nature of these conflicts.
3.2 - A multilevel analysis
These intentions have been addressed in different steps by presenting detailed analyses and assessment of specifically identified environmental conflicts that threaten the sustainability in the respective coastal urban environment i.e. the cases studied in this project.
1. In a first stage, a thematic profiling of resources and their users for the seventeen case studies in SECOA has been realised. The natural resources included raw materials such as minerals and biological resources, not only air, water and soil, yet also ecosystems and their services, flow resources such as wind, tidal and solar energy, and space seen as natural resources. Their uses are closely tied to the cultural and social resources described according to data on mobility, demography, urban and economic developments. On the users side, many connections exist between dominant users. Individuals act in many roles and often simultaneously as members of several groups, organizations and institutions – private households, firms, producers and consumers etc. The combinations of natural and other resources in the processes of resource use have as a consequence more overlapping groups. Therefore, a refined user typology is required to take into account the heterogeneous forms and combinations of users as individuals/households or formal organisations, sectors of resource use, private and public organisations, large or small groups, productive or consumptive resource users, users with more or less influence and power.
Table 3.1 reported in Annex I show the analytical categories that were developed and used to analyse the types of resources and human actors. They are combined in the four “uses”, which are the focus of this research. Finally the different levels of governance are listed.
The emergence of conflicts is not only affected by scarcity of these resources, but also by the degree of environmental damage, or how the problems are perceived, how different stakeholders and users value a resource, and whether they are able to express their concerns.
2. These conflicts have been addressed in the second stage of the research where twenty-six conflict cases in seventeen coastal areas of the SECOA project from eight different countries have been studied in detail. The conflicts are triggered by competing use of natural, socio-spatial and cultural resources by a diversity of users and sectors in the coastal environment. The manner in which a multitude of these resources are exploited and used – in quantity and in speed, in patterns of consumption and production - is mainly triggered by the ever increasing economic pressures exerted by globalization and rescaling processes, and intertwined with ‘human mobility’ and ‘climate change’ effects on urban settlements’ growth and restructuring in fragile environments of coastal areas. The need for controlling and reducing unwanted consequences - an environmental, and increasingly societal and public policy and governance concern, whose awareness has grown widely - is contributing to the creation of contrasts [conflicts] among stakeholders belonging to different economic sectors and social spheres involved in the urban context [residents, commuters, tourists, and enterprises] that compete for resources, spaces and deciding powers. Systemic changes thus increase the tension within conflictual configurations.
Underpinning these detailed analyses is the main argument that such an in-depth and situated understanding of environmental conflicts – developing diagnostic and analytical capabilities, such as the way they emerge and evolve, their thematic and typological classification, their current trends and possible future impacts – is not only a prerequisite for their assessment, management and resolution but also for imagining alternative design and policy options for more sustainable futures in the coastal urban environments. There is no general rule for conflict reduction; it is case specific i.e. the context matters.
Thematisation of environmental conflicts in coastal urban areas nevertheless does allow us defining coastal area problems in their wider dimensions. Environmental conflicts can be classified using the different thematic conceptualizations, often based on their two core dimensions:
i. Actors (i.e. stakeholders): the parties that are involved in a conflict. Actors can be an individual, a group, a society, an organization, a nation or even a transnational organization.
ii. Roots/Causes/Substances: the reason over which the environmental conflict occurred between the actors. The reason can be incompatible goals, difference in usages, difference in values, disparity in power, etc.
Within the framework of the SECOA project, our ambition has been to develop a multi-dimensional thematic understanding of environmental conflicts taking into account the core dimensions of the environmental conflicts (Actors/Stakeholders/Parties and Roots/Causes/Substances), being cognizant of the processual nature and dynamics of the environmental conflicts, and the multiplicity of the reference points in the making of the environmental conflicts. More importantly, it also implies taking into account the broader focus points of the SECOA project (environmental contrasts, urban growth and restructuring, and human mobility).
3. Based on these considerations, a strategic choice was made to focus on three themes that correspond to the broader objectives of the SECOA project and helped the further development of the research. This was to facilitate the identification and definition of the conflict cases for in-depth analysis. Each environmental conflict case was supposed to cover at least one of the following themes:
• Economic development (industrial development, tourist industry, harbour restructuring, marina construction, etc.) vs. environmental protection (creation or maintenance of protected areas)
• Preservation of natural sites and biodiversity
• Contrasts for the use of resources between residents and new comers in processes of human mobility.
The environmental conflicts covered in this research are framed by interactions within and across these categories of uses that range from access (social exclusion and denying public access to coast), land-use change (conflicting / competing uses), port and coastal defences development, and tourism, to bio-diversity maintenance and pollution associated conflicts, and which move and evolve along multiple scales, contextual specificities and temporal dimensions. Each of the conflicts demonstrates more than one of these issues and as such represents different issues concerning sustainable development in the coastal environment.
For the purpose of in-depth analysis of the identified environmental conflict cases, an analytical structure based on the aforementioned ‘multi-criteria mixed methodology’ unfolds the following aspects of each conflict:
• Nature of the conflict (the context and causes – structural, proximate or triggering)
• Parties / stakeholders involved in the conflict (interests, goals, positions, capacities, relationships, salience)
• Classification of the conflict into typologies
• The current trend in the conflict (about conflict mediation and resolution)
• Ranking of the conflicts (based on criticality, urgency and duration)
These approaches lead to the following overall analytical framework, assumed to be useful in general terms.
3.3 - Schematic overview of the Environmental Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF)
Please refer to Table 3.2 in Annex I
A platform for stakeholder discussion
Environmental conflicts in coastal urban areas are to be seen as complex socio-ecological constructions. They arise from competing / conflicting use of the environment (space, land, sea, air and the resources embedded in them) by the society (groups, parties / stakeholders / users involved) that unfolds some form of ecological impact/damage (e.g. climate change, pollution, erosion, scarcity, etc.). An overview of the ‘stakeholder approaches’ and its many nuances were studied to highlight the debate in the literature on the definition of stakeholders, which is in part due to the problem of defining what a legitimate stake is. Several approaches and methods were used in the case studies for the identification of stakeholders / parties involved. Depending on the case, some research teams carried out ‘stakeholder survey’ through ‘semi-structured interviews’ alone. Others have combined the interviews with ‘focus groups’ and ‘snowball sampling’. Yet some also used a combination of them together with SNA (Social Network Analysis) and DA (Discourse Analysis). The variety of the methods used, and also the diversity of the contexts involved and the different institutional structures, produced a wide range of stakeholders involved in the environmental conflict cases. Their comparison is not only difficult because of different methods used or their nomenclature that is quite different, but also because of the fact that the way of grouping and classifying them varies significantly from case to case, as well as from context to context. What remains common are their description categories such as interests, goals, positions, capacities, relationships, and salience. Stakeholders are defined in specific contexts and that definition is fully part of the social framing and legitimization of the conflicts. But in each case they can be analysed alongside the following scheme.
3.4 - Stakeholder analysis scheme
Please refer to Table 3.3 in Annex I
In the analyses of ‘parties involved’, some SECOA partners have carried out SNA and DA in addition to other methods. These additional categories allow capturing the sort of ‘networks’ and ‘coalitions’ (stakeholder groups) that emerge during the evolution of the environmental conflict, and that have a critical role in legitimizing and shaping of the environmental conflict.
3.5 - Coalitions and conflict typology
Based on identification and analysis of different forms of coalitions in the case studies, we have observed several variations in terms of their agendas and the ways of formation. In most cases, a pattern of three types of coalitions emerges: institutional, interest and pressure group coalitions. The ‘institutional’ coalition is mainly composed of governmental authorities (central, regional local) that find their joined / common interest around political, development or policy issues. They possess the necessary legal and political backing to regulate, implement and even distribute the compensations in the conflict. The ‘interest’ coalitions are brought about mainly by shared economic interests and are composed of economic players like builders, industrialists, investors and corporations / companies (e.g. energy). The ‘pressure’ group coalitions are mostly formed around safeguarding the interests of the environment or local residents (their livelihoods, etc.) and are composed of environmental NGOs and other civil society organisations. They are the most crucial players in raising awareness, and eventually legitimizing conflicts by mustering support from institutional players involved in the conflict.
Another pattern of coalitions is based on shared / common way of doing something about the environmental conflict. Coalitions observed in the cases are also differentiated in terms of voice/visibility and profile i.e. some coalitions are clear and loud in their manifestation and presence, and others keep a low profile. Coalition and networks can exist in the same conflict without really clashing with each other. Coalitions can be long term or temporary, their interest can be in preventing conflicts as well as contesting against certain types of developments.
Our next step was to categorise conflicts based on various typologies. Typological classification of environmental conflicts is about systematic differentiation based on specific characteristics and dimensions. Such classification is critical for comparative analysis and assessment of environmental conflicts. Once conflicts are typified, comparisons and generalisations about their possible future evolutions can be made. However, as mentioned above, environmental conflicts are dynamic socio-ecological constructions and their characterisation involves several factors, actors and dimensions, which make their typification a complex task. Therefore, before analysing a certain case (or a number of cases) for typological classification it is important to understand the different ways of characterising the dynamics of the conflict along, for example, dimensions, scale, manifestation, ethics, substance, stage, and so on.
Although environmental conflicts can be classified differently based on one or more typologies, there are common approaches in analysing a conflict that can be used: the actor-oriented approach, the stake-oriented approach, the resource-oriented approach, or a combination of the three. Often, the selection of the approach should be based on the objective of the analysis and characteristics of the conflict. The stake-and-resource approach was recommended for understanding the broader picture of the conflict and direct and indirect stakeholders, while the actor-oriented approach seemed more suitable for understanding the parties directly involved in the conflict. Moreover, a time dimension can be added to all these typologies, which makes it possible to analyse conflicts between generations, which is needed in considering sustainable use of coastal resources.
3.6 - Ranking conflicts
Finally, a comparative ranking of the environmental conflict case studies has been attempted. The idea behind ranking the conflicts is their overall assessment and to make them comparable in the sense of “which conflict requires the most attention,” according to the predicted scale and urgency of the impact of the different conflicts. Which conflicts require immediate action to solve the conflict? This might appear to be a valuable result for policy makers to detect priorities for their actions. Ranking of all conflicts in SECOA was based on three criteria:
• Criticality of the conflict: To which extent the conflict is critical to long-term development of the region / area? To which extent the conflict is an important event to local people?
• Urgency: To which extent the conflict needs to be resolved immediately? Is there a deadline involved?
• Duration: Whether the conflict is a short-term (acute) or a long-term (chronic) event
However, it is very important to see ranking as a ‘relative assessment’ and part of the other elements of the analysing structure of the conflict case [e.g. type, theme, parties involved / coalitions].
3.7 - Conclusion
The strategic outcome of the application of CAF is in the application of a multi-criteria approach to unfold a nuanced understanding of the causes, dynamics / evolution and effects of the conflict in a multidimensional way – a knowledge base - that facilitates a shared, democratic and participatory approach / process of conflict mediation and resolution. Studying interests, needs and values of the actors – which is at the heart of the proposed CAF - is not only crucial for understanding the legitimization of the conflict, but it also facilitates developing cooperation and participation if a common understanding of the problem is desirable. The CAF establishes an approach that facilitates adaptive management, consensus building, participation, and social learning that in turn can help to frame environmental conflict resolution in broader strategies of sustainable development. Therefore, we reiterate that the conflict assessment framework (CAF) proposed here is not only about ranking the conflicts. Rather the CAF is about the application of a multi-criteria analysis approach, as outlined in the previous sections, to unfold a nuanced understanding of the causes, dynamics / evolution and effects of the environmental conflict in a multidimensional way. It is a basis for democratic discussion and negotiation, not a technocratic device for authoritarian problem solving.
4- Techniques for realizing conflict models
4.1 - Objectives considered in SECOA project
Why a model on environmental conflicts? Why interpret in a model the observations concerning human behaviour? For which purpose a model was developed? Taxonomy and modelling have been considered to provide a systematic framework connecting quantitative data and qualitative information arising from environmental, economic and social analyses. They complete the transition phases in which data have been transformed into tools of information and knowledge for the subsequent stages of research. Modelling is part of the information filiere and contributes to the passage from the step of information to that of knowledge. Conflicts of coastal areas were represented to contribute to identify the forces that structure the settlements in relationships to their ability to respond to social and economic needs of each society. The modelling in this stage is not predictive, but only interpretative and it can only describe the interactions between selected variables. The complex pattern of relationships between the natural environment and human actions, especially in light of the detected conflicts, has been considered in each of the SECOA case studies. The phenomena considered by SECOA take place on two levels. Those of a global nature, such as climate change and human mobility, and the local dimension, which can be deduced by interpreting the conflict. The two dimensions are closely connected because the local level depends by the global one and, on the other hand, the global one is also the result of what happens at the various local levels. This is particularly true in coastal areas that represent the privileged position to analyse observations of local and global phenomena in their components of cause and effect.
4.2 - Data at disposal
Complexity is not a new phenomenon and is inherent in all researches dealing with multidisciplinary and multinational issues. The situation has become more complex since the concept of sustainable development, introduced in the last decade of the second millennium, has forced social scientists to compare their methods and results with those in natural sciences. Each discipline has its own vocabulary and its own methodological approach. Modelling offers the advantage of providing a tool that can be shared by all disciplines and that is free from the connotation of each subject participant. The SECOA Data Bank contains heterogeneous data and information because of the nature of the data, considering environmental and socio-economic aspects, the result of objective and subjective analyses. Data concerning the sea level rise, for instance, refer to the same unit of measurement (or can be converted from one system to another), to the same systems of measurement, to a similar manner of collecting and cataloguing all over the world. Socio-economic phenomena, indeed, can be measured in different ways, using different tools, and collection methods. In the first case there is a substantial difference between measurements made within the EU countries and measurements in countries that are not part of the EU. In the socio-economic field differences also exist among EU countries. Often, the same phenomena are identified in different ways, or even opposite, because they reflect a different historical tradition, a different geography, and a different stage of economic development. Information on environmental conflicts is the result of subjective surveys. Heterogeneous data and information can find a meeting point in their geographical location and in the territory they refer to. On the basis of the Law of Tobler, and its various interpretations and applications, geo-referenced data allow us to identify more similarities and interpretative synergies.
4.3 - Problems we have been confronted to
The realization of a model is needed to describe with a large level of precision the vast size and complexity of relationships that might otherwise be described with words. SECOA case studies had been identified during the preparation of project proposal; they had to be coastal areas, either metropolitan areas of international/global importance or urban areas of regional/national importance. The presence of case studies within and outside the EU has certainly enriched the meanings of research but made the comparability of data more problematic. Conflicts were chosen in the following fields: (i) economic development (industrial development, tourist industry, restructuring harbour, marina construction) vs. environmental protection (creation of protected areas); (ii) Preservation of natural sites and biodiversity; (iii) Contrasts for the use of resources between residents and new comers for processes of human mobility. Conflicts had to be located on a coastal area and had to represent the needs of comparability; they were not intended to be statistically representative of the entire metropolitan area in which they were located. In relation to this approach an analysis at local scale was made with the purpose of using all the collected data, solving all the problems of comparability.
4.4 - Methodologies
In SECOA, a flexible method for management, analysis and data mining was adopted in order to better interpret available data, and provide the most appropriate tool for scenarios and policies making. Similar approaches are used in Big Data environments where specific tools and processes are required for categorization and interrelations analysis. Data organization in the GIS system database allowed a suitable application of Self-Organizing Maps (SOM) for organization and structuring of metropolitan areas, according to a sequence of qualitative parameters grouped in different ways. The geographical analysis applied to urban processes has been considered in SECOA, taking into account the GIS system component (software for reading geographic information) that is part of the wider GIS science methodology (theories and methods for the interpretation of the geographic information). For this purpose, Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) have been implemented. Further processing (SOM of SOMs) has allowed identifying eight types of situations concerning the metropolitan areas taken as case studies. Data from non-EU countries were provided for macro areas (core, ring and coastal area) for security reasons, ownership and right of use. Conflict data were elaborated by a different SOM and gave rise to the identification of five types of conflict groups. SOM and SOM of SOMs were further processed with the GIS system to allow easier reading and understanding by end-users and stakeholders. Going into details of the implemented techniques, the choice of the SOM tool during the taxonomy phase was motivated by the needs to address the following issues: 1) SOM networks allow the compensation for some lack of data, by means of an implicit extrapolation based on the whole data set; 2) SOM also realize a drastic reduction of data dimensionality which, unlike classical statistical techniques as PCA, is performed on non-linear surfaces, increasing the generalization of the process; 3) SOMs allow a simple comparison among low-dimensional prototypes. Concerning the modelling phase, we have chosen to use Feed-Forward Artificial Neural Networks to determine, for a general and independent of a priori hypotheses approach, the non-linear relationship between variables and parameters of the territorial conflicts under analysis. The non-linear nature of these systems has allowed us to evaluate global aspects of the SECOA system, as well as local behaviour of each conflict situation allowing, finally, to establish a methodology for the assessment of future scenarios.
4.5 - Results
Based on experience in data collection and the difficulties experienced by SECOA in this field, it was decided to operate in the data selection with a differentiated approach before modelling them. In the case of the EU countries and Israel, thanks to the ability and willingness of the researchers involved, it has been possible to use quantitative data. Problems were instead found when data from the first group of countries were compared with those of India and Vietnam. To overcome non-comparability of data, rather than give up the totality of the information collected it was decided to work on qualitative data. Quantitative data of EU countries and Israel were then transformed into qualitative data with a mechanical operation. Data from India and Vietnam have been integrated and transformed into qualitative data with the help of key observers. The GIS system use to export data processed with necessarily complex instruments resulted particularly useful to connect the figure of the "model maker" (usually an expert) and the "model user" (usually a non-expert). This connection has been significant useful to promote stakeholders partnership in the cognitive processes to promote their growing involvement in mitigation policies. Most of the research is generally focused on how to manage research and leave little room to the analysis of the interaction between model makers and model users. In this way it was confirmed the assumption that … while the interplay between socio-cultural practices and mitigation and adaptation in response to climate change remains poorly understood, emerging agent-based models (including those developed as "serious games") present possibilities for informed decision making. SECOA therefore developed, as taxonomy result and as communication tool, the "finger prints" approach. They mark, for each case study and particularly to explain the interrelationship between components of the conflicts examined, in relation to time, the evolution of the process of conflict, and to space, the hierarchy of the geographic dimension. The modelling has been carried out in continuity with the previous phase of data organization, taxonomy, and through the use of FFNN. For each case study, it means for each studied urban area, it was defined a hierarchy of involvement of each geographic area in each conflict problematic according to the weight of each part of the metropolitan taken into consideration: (i) the direct conflict area (100%); (ii) the closest conflict area (20%); (iii) the conflict metropolitan area (5%). For each conflict of the 17 case studies it was build a FFNN with 52 output layers with 30 hidden layers and finally the output, the modelling. With modelling results it was possible to give an answer to the following questions about each conflict typology: (i) the relationships among environmental and socio-economic variables and the types of conflict; (ii) the influence that the considered variables had on each conflict over space and time; (iii) the intensity of the influence that each variable had on the conflict; (iv) the most important variables that had relevance to the conflict.
5 - Policies for mitigating coastal conflicts and managing natural resources in urban coastal areas
5.1 - Introduction
Global change, human mobility, urban growth and urban restructuring are increasingly affecting natural resource management in coastal areas in Europe and Asia. We are witnessing increasing movements of people to-, from- and within coastal urban areas; an intensified human resource use in both rural and urban use of coastal resources; as well as a general change from productive use of land and water (e.g. agriculture and fishery) to consumptive use (e.g. recreation). The ever-changing coastal natural environments, which are increasingly affected by climate change, are further complicating the situation. Furthermore, intensified, altered or new forms of coastal conflicts are resulting from these changes. The current, urgent challenge is to effectively manage coastal resources and mitigate coastal resource conflicts in the face of the new demands posed by the complex and interconnected processes of global change, human mobility, and urban development & restructuring. In meeting this challenge, the SECOA project has developed a toolbox for practically applicable approaches for urban coastal resource management- and conflict mitigation.
5.2 - A toolbox for local urban resource management and conflict mitigation
The SECOA toolbox was developed through a combination of: (1) the specific needs and challenges expressed by stakeholders and end-users of SECOA research in 17 European and Asian coastal urban areas; (2) findings from the SECOA research accounted for earlier in this report; and (3) and an extensive review of existing approaches, methods, tools relevant for coastal, urban natural resource management- and conflict mitigation policies. The toolbox includes almost 90 policy instruments, and is designed to make it possible for end-users, such as natural resource managers, urban planners and policymakers, to identify instruments (and combinations of instruments) that match their specific problems, challenges and needs. Therefore, the instruments included in the toolbox can be sorted and selected according to (1) which scale the instrument is suitable for, (2) what general policy aspects the instrument addresses, (3) what type of instrument it is, (4) what functions in policy making the instrument addresses, (5) what types of actors the instrument can involve, (6) and the extent to which the instrument can be related to common indicators for policy- and management evaluation. The toolbox also includes the possibility to sort and select instruments based on relevance for natural resource management, conflict management, institutional innovation, urban management and planning, coastal management, and for addressing climate change.
5.3 - A framework for institutional change and innovation
The application of new policy instruments that can meet the challenges of the changing coastal water- and land use dynamics, tend to require institutional change and innovation. In addition, it has been generally found that institutions are key in order to improve natural resource management and conflict mitigation, due to their central role in mediating relations between people and the environment. SECOA has therefore developed a framework for institutional innovation for coastal urban natural resource management and conflict mitigation (see figure 5.1 in Annex), based on evidence in SECOA research of changing conditions for natural resource management in coastal urban areas and the state of the art with regard to theories and empirical findings on institutional change and innovation.
The framework was tested in relation to five examples of institutional change and/or innovation in coastal urban areas covered by SECOA, and the results show that the improved interaction and coherence among several institutional arrangements is more important than changes in one specific arrangement. Furthermore, primarily four qualities or properties of institutional innovation were found especially relevant in the SECOA examples: contextualization; coordination and cooperation; learning; and negative feedbacks & safeguarding.
5.4 - Towards appropriate natural resource management and conflict mitigation strategies
Even if the policy challenges faced by coastal urban areas across European and Asian context share similar pattern and trends, the general approaches, instruments and frameworks suggested by SECOA needs to be integrated into context-specific management- and conflict mitigation strategies. SECOA has analyses eight selected cases, representing eight different national contexts, in relation to the potentials and pitfalls of using certain policy approaches and instruments in specific contexts. The eight cases have also been compared according to the problems and institutional development needs faced by the eight countries. Overall, the analysis points at common problems and common issues to be addressed, both with regard to the management of natural resources and environmental problems, as well as the resulting conflicts in coastal urban areas. However, there are also a number of differences in terms of the problems and needs that a natural resource management and conflict mitigation strategy has to address:
In the Asian countries (Vietnam and India), a successful strategy has to address the lack of environmental knowledge and basic data; build capacity for management, implementation and enforcement; accomplish substantially better institutional integration; create public and political awareness of the urgent need for coastal environmental protection; develop processes and capacity for public participation as well as monitoring and evaluation.
In the Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Italy and Israel), the strategy has to build knowledge for management; create public and political awareness and interest for integrative and sustainable management; achieve compliance by implementation and enforcement; support and enable institutional integration; effectively address conflicts that easily end up in a stalemate or remain hidden; institutionalize and drive meaningful participation processes; and build capacity for monitoring and evaluation.
In Northern and Central Europe (England, Sweden, Belgium), the strategy has to come up with a design for institutional learning in order to address new and future complex problems; develop new, meaningful forms of participation across levels and sectors as a general path towards conflict mitigation and management, as the existing statutory and standard procedures are not effective enough; develop the knowledge base with regard to both the sea and of societal processes; and develop monitoring and evaluation systems, especially with regard to evaluation of societal drivers and impacts.
SECOA therefore concludes that there is no ultimate collaborative and integrative master plan or silver bullet for sustainable natural resource management and conflict mitigation in coastal urban areas. Collaboration and integration do come out as important but are most likely not enough in most coastal urban areas. There is a potential for general policy strategies and design principles, but in order to be useful and appropriate, they always depend on contextualization.
6 - Future prospective and scenarios
6.1 - General approach
The increasing number of persons, houses, enterprises and other anthropogenic drivers in coastal urban areas determines the pressure on the coastal environment, as well in its natural and cultural resources. The competition between stakeholders for the resources is often the cause of conflicts and that calls for the development and establishment of policies and management approaches for conflict resolution and sustainable resource management. The development of models and participative methodologies help to solve arising conflicts, often resulting from concurrent actions proposed by different stakeholders. Scenario planning is aimed to obtain alternative images of the future and to capture the variety and range of prospects. It considers changes that decision makers would otherwise ignore. In this way stakeholders are able to have much better standing with regard to unexpected events. SECOA project has also focused on the development of scenario building and conflict solving techniques.
6.1.1 - Conflict solving approach
The conflict solving approach proposed is based on the use of spatial scenarios, combined with the evaluation of the actions proposed by each actor. The process was developed in order to select the best action(s) for each case study through the use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methodology. Actions comprise any policies, projects and restrictions that are being considered to be implemented in the case study area.
As the actions are cleared defined by each actor, SECOA Scenario Building performed an analysis of the expected impacts of each action. SECOA Scenario Building consists of an integrated Geographic Information System and Artificial Neural Network (GIS-ANN), based model of a set of geo-referenced variables, in order to produce a framework of the expected spatial impacts of each action. Furthermore, the use of MCDA allows the evaluation of relevant actions (including the status quo or “do nothing” action) on a set of criteria (objectives) representing the evaluation perspective of each actor.
Therefore, the implementation of MCDA integrated with spatial scenarios provides a particular alternative future against which one may devise and develop flexible and adaptive actions that may tackle the issues of concern. The MCDA process provides sound methods for evaluating and choosing a subset of robust actions considering the complexity and uncertainty of a range of different plausible future developments/contexts as well as in the design of more efficient and sustainable actions. Following this, the quantification of conflict indices (CI) allows the identification and measurement of conflicts and their intensity, and the assessment of which factors generate conflicts and which measures can be explored to reduce these conflicts.
6.1.2 - Results and challenges
The results from the pilot studies carried out by four different SECOA team members have proven that addressing local and regional coastal urban conflicts through this Scenario building methodology helped actors to achieve a big picture, supporting decision makers to take more efficient decisions. Pilot studies, namely the Belgium case, also prove that this approach contributes to public awareness, empowerment of groups at risk, and increases support for mitigation measures proposed by other planning instrument. Therefore, stakeholders are able to have much better positioning regarding unexpected events by using scenario-planning methods.
The modeling of future events play a key role in management, as they provide decision makers with mental maps of the future in order to help them to make better decisions in the present. Although, this model likes any other model, has some weakness. The Swedish pilot study stands as an excellent example of one of the most important rules in modeling: without “good data”, the model will not give you back reliable and plausible results. By “good data”, we mean data that represents a full spectrum of the realities of the territory under study; the data that significantly represents the dynamics taking place presently and over the short past; the data that can be comparable, which means it has an adaptable and coherent scale; the data fitted to the problem/phenomena at study and analysis.
On the other hand, this approach reveals sound and similar results in the Italian and Portuguese case: economic growth policy scenario does not necessarily lead to a decrease of conflicts or to a more balanced and equity society. The results also show that a more radical ecological protection policy does not have a sustainable development impact, but instead can contribute to a conflict increase.
By enriching knowledge with a toolbox of methods to model and analyze a range of highly complex, often non-deterministic problems - as the one’s rising from coastal urban areas - SECOA Scenario building attempts to provide the basis to implement a SDSS for costal urban areas.
6.2 - Prospective and risks for mobility and tourism
6.2.1 - Context
Human mobility plays a key role in shaping environmental contrasts and conflicts, especially in coastal regions, and takes diverse forms, characterized by variable durations, frequencies and functions. Mobilities range from permanent migration, through various forms of temporary migration and tourism, to commuting to work to travel to different services. These have generally been increasing in scale, intensity, diversity and geographical reach. For example, the number of international migrants living outside their country of birth is variously estimated at between 200 and 250 million, while the numbers of international tourists have surpassed 1 billion. SECOA has focused not only on the scale and characteristics of specific forms of mobility but also on their interaction. For example, migration and tourism are mutually informing: tourist visits can provide individuals with the knowledge, competences and confidence that can lead to subsequent migration, while migration generates two way tourist flows to visit friends and relatives. Future scenarios need to take into account these interactions.
6.2.2 - Mobility and functional regions
SECOA has sought to quantify the scale and impact of human mobility on urban areas in coastal regions. Utilizing the long established concept of functional urban regions (dating back to Berry), the coastal urban regions were disaggregated into cores and rings, defined in terms of densities of population/jobs and commuter flows linking these. The range of case studies provided perspectives on differences between urban areas of contrasting size, demographic and economic dynamics, and stage of urban maturity. 13 of the 17 case studies demonstrated relative decentralization with populations increasing in both cores and rings, but growing more rapidly in the latter. In contrast, Lisbon and Funchal demonstrated absolute decentralization reflecting substantial processes of restructuring in their central areas, while Portsmouth and Hai Phong experienced absolute centralization with populations increasing in the centers but declining in the rings. Migration played a key role in the reversal of a long period of relative decentralization in Portsmouth, as well as in the dynamics of urban change in the other functional regions, underlining the key and dynamic role of mobility in previous and future urban trajectories.
Whereas most existing research has focused only on commuting or migration links between these zones, SECOA has extended these analyses – where data has allowed – incorporating some of the diversity of human mobility flows that shape urban life and conflicts. In the case of Portsmouth’s coastal zone, for example, where the role of migration was particular significant, it is notable that while net migration added 0.3% to the ‘permanent’ resident population per annum, the daily in movements of commuters, tourists, and student residents added up to 50% to these ‘permanent’ populations at peak moments in time. The impacts of these diverse mobilities, and the ensuing conflicts, were even more marked in particular localities, as evidenced in detailed case studies of conflicts undertaken within these urban zones.
6.2.3 - The Challenges of intersecting mobilities
These changing mobilities are the source of a number of challenges in coastal urban regions, not least because of the factors of technological change, pervasive cultures of mobility, market relationships and state interventions, which contribute to marked tendencies to increasing human mobilities. These have significant impacts for three main social categories: the movers themselves, those resident in the destination areas, and those remaining in the areas of origin. They are highly socially segmented in terms of age, gender, income, ethnicity and other social cleavages. This poses challenges in terms of both the inter-generational and intra-generational sustainability of mobilities.
Mobilities are highly structured by what Urry terms ‘scapes’ in the urban landscapes constituted of both physical infrastructures and social networks. As a consequence there is a high degree of path dependency in mobility patterns. Although this partly facilitates the analysis of urban scenarios, it poses major challenges for policy makers who seek to mediate the outcomes of these future trajectories. This path dependency - and the challenge for policy makers - is reinforced by the intersecting nature of human mobilities, that is by the ways in which tourism, migration, commuting, visits to use services etc. are mutually informing. At the core of these intersections is the relationship between knowledge and risk.
6.2.4 - Risk and mobilities
All future activities are necessarily characterized by risk and uncertainty, because the future simply cannot be known. Future mobilities also pose additional risks and uncertainties for individual participants because of the nature of, and uneven distribution, of different types of knowledge. Individuals can acquire codified or written knowledge or data about virtually any place, especially in the Internet age. But tacit knowledge (after Polanyi) is the highly personalized knowledge that individuals can only acquire from deep cultural immersion and face-to-face contacts in particular localities. In other words, the limits to individuals’ place-specific knowledge add to the risk and uncertainties attached to, say, future migrations. Drawing on the work of the behavioral economists, such as Kahneman and Tversky, the willingness to take risk – whether by policy makers or by individual migrants or tourists can be seen as the outcome of the interaction between risk tolerance/aversion and competence to manage risks. Those competences are intersecting across mobilities: for example, the competence acquired from tourism can inform migration behavior and vice versa.
The challenge for both individuals, and policy makers, is to mediate these risks and four main approaches are possible: by acquiring increased knowledge, so as to reduce the exposure to risk (known risks) and uncertainties (unknown risks); by relying on trust; by diversification, so as to reduce the risks from any one source; and by insuring against the outcomes of various forms of risk. By extension, future scenarios need to take into account the fact that individual risk tolerance seems to be relatively stable over time, so that competence to manage risk becomes the key operable consideration. For example, coastal urban regions seeking to mediate future conflicts, need to acquire enhanced knowledge about mobilities, build trust-based networks that can inform decision making in the face of uncertainty, seek to diversify risks from any one source (whether in terms of the mix of mobilites or drawing on a greater range of resources to combat these), and finding ways of ‘insuring’ these. All these strategies involve costs and benefits, and there is a need for scenarios, which help clarify their distribution, and inform equitable and efficient outcomes.
6.3 - Evolution and management of urban coastal areas
The SECOA work in this area was based on five case studies from urban coastal areas in Belgium (Brugge and Oostende), Italy (Ostia), Israel (Tel Aviv), Portugal (Loures/Odivelas) and Sweden (Skanör-Falsterbo peninsula). Each study simulated the operation of a coastal management mechanism. The study areas ranged from the micro level (Sweden) to the meso level (Italy and Portugal) through to the metro scale (Belgium and Israeli cases). The populations of the case studies range from around 30,000 in the Swedish case to 380,000 in the Belgian case. The coastal management mechanisms modeled related to one of the following options:
• The operation of a coastal defenses: this scenario related to a physical barrier that mitigates the results of sea level rise and extreme flooding and/or
• The imposition of a development limitation; this scenario simulated the institution of imposes regulatory controls on urban expansion, for example setback lines.
A common systematic simulation approach was used in all studies. This involved choosing data inputs, importing pre-calculated inundation maps and applying a scenario relating to one of the following two coastal management mechanisms: The data processing stage comprised applying a simple urban growth rate from a historic period to extend current trends or alternatively applying a growth rate to a target year in order to forecast urban expansion. This growth pattern was then overlain by a flood hazard zone identified in other SECOA work (WP1). Data analysis then involved extracting quantitative measures of change attributable to the coastal management mechanisms. This was executed using GIS and overlay analysis. While the case studies varied in physical magnitude and population levels, they were all are grounded in a similar simulation method (forecasting or back casting) and simulated a development scenario across similar time frames (20-50 years).
Outcomes were presented in terms of quantitative change effected by the coastal management mechanisms generally in relation to land use and population removed from risk (ie ‘saved’). All the case studies showed how these outcomes can yield quantitative measures of change, generally estimating the future level of urban development both with and without the coastal management mechanism. While the numeric results were not generally comparable across all cases given the specifics of each case study, the broad conclusions arising pointed to the following:
• Development limitations have more modest effects than coastal defenses.
• The effect of development limitations decreases with rising magnitude of the hazard.
• The monetary and management cost of this type of coastal management mechanism is much more modest and in many cases this may be the more feasible option.
The case studies also illustrated that the use of readily available data, basic assumptions and simple forecasting tools can yield easily understood results. These can be readily communicated with practitioners and policy-makers. The results also add a tangible dimension to many meanings and interpretations given to the nebulous concept of Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
Our findings also underscored the necessity to offset simulated results with the feasibility of coastal management. In this respect development limitations rather than coastal defenses are a less tortuous and less costly route to follow and implement. Whatever the mechanism chosen, the results showed that with limited information, sensible assumptions and some very basic forecasting techniques it was possible to simulate the effects of different coastal management mechanisms in a way easily and intuitively understood to policy makers and practitioners.
6.4 - Scenarios: future developments of environmental conflicts in coastal areas
Defining scenarios of future developments of coastal conflicts and providing a decision support system for policy makers were two of the final objectives of the SECOA project.
Three alternative futures have been imagined for the SECOA regions: (i) a future characterized by policies oriented to the achievement of economic efficiency, (ii) a future driven by policies led by social equity, (iii) a future oriented to policies with the aim of environmental protection. The three pillars constituting the concept of sustainable development have inspired the idea of those alternative futures.
The main ideas behind the three alternative futures are the following: (i) European policies in place during the period of international economic crisis could not contribute to economic growth of member States and thereby reduce the high rates of unemployment. A possible solution consists in reducing the importance of public policies and in leaving more space for private initiative. This should make full use of the possibilities offered by the development of social, economic and environmental assets as they occurred in recent years in relation to a greater use of information technology; greater competitiveness and innovation; (ii) the market alone has proven unable to solve the social, economic and environmental costs of a long period of international economic crisis. European societies require more government intervention to ensure more effective integration of social policies into economic development measures aimed at protecting the environment and improving the quality of life of citizens. Limited competitiveness and innovations; (iii) the areas where conflicts have arisen, are able to impose substantial changes based on a deeply sustainable development. The continuing crisis has generated dissatisfaction among the population of European countries. Decisions have been taken to put in place policies that demonstrate discontinuity with the past in order to create consensus. European citizens give prior attention to local problems, to balanced development, greater attention to environmental protection and quality of life. No or limited competitiveness and innovation.
For each alternative future policy, the effects on each variable have been determined for each country; thus, using the outcomes of the SECOA model concerning the impacts of variables on conflicts, the consequences of each policy on each conflict have been identified. In 63% of cases, a policy aimed at environmental protection leads to a reduction of conflicts, and this happens only in 18.5% of cases of policies oriented to social equity and in 14.8 % of cases of policies oriented to economic efficiency. The model seems to suggest, therefore, that the best policy to induce a decrease of the conflict is a policy that takes greater account of the environment.
Those results were subjected to the scrutiny of researchers and stakeholders in order to verify their correctness, their reliability and to get explanations based on the experts’ knowledge of their own region. The majority of experts’ assessments coincided with the model’s predictions.
The results obtained can be considered to be the base for a DSS to support policy-makers in their decision-taking processes. The resulting DSS has the following characteristics: (i) it is able to handle data that present a certain range of uncertainties and is able to return these uncertainties in outputs; (ii) it is able to incorporate data representing spatial and temporal dynamics; (iii) it is able to integrate economic, social and environmental variables; (iv) it can be used for forecasting; (v) it is easy to use and able to put in communication scientific community and policy-makers; (vi) it can be used to favor the stakeholders participation; (vii) it is able to simplify complex information. Such a DSS can be utilized to support policy makers in their decision-taking processes for ICZM.
Potential Impact:
Empirical benefits expected from SECOA can be summarized in terms of institutional development, conflict mitigation, more effective and fair distribution of scarce resources, all contributing to the achievement of the overarching goals of sustainable development (involving social equity, economic efficiency and environmental protection).
Such benefits are expected in different time horizons:
• Short term advances (1-5 years) can be expected with regard to creating consensus and trust and establishing policy and management approaches for cooperation with stakeholders;
• Long term advances (5-20 years) can be expected with regard to gradual reduction of conflicts insurgence, solution of long term/on-going conflicts, and benefits for the environment (pollution reduction, sustainable use of resources, energy and material saving).
• Very long-term advances (in the time perspective of sustainable development as a process involving several generations) are difficult to plan and foresee. However, the success of sustainable development in its main aspects of social, economic and ecological sustainability requires several decades and cannot be achieved at local or regional levels, but requires complementary national and international policies.
The general effect of the implementation of measures, plans and programs based on the results of the SECOA project is to develop stepwise - in methodologically controlled forms and according to the joint learning and action capacity of the urban institutions and actors involved - a long-term process of sustainable resource management that can be continuously improved and redirected by new scientific knowledge and practical experience of the relevant players and stakeholders.
Beyond the overall effect of cooperation, more specific impacts are expected in some of (or, hopefully, all) the coastal areas studied in the project:
• Related to urban areas and surrounding ecosystems: ecosystem development both within the city as specific ecosystem and its “supporting ecosystems” outside city boundaries in terms of reduction of overuse of resources and biodiversity losses, reduction of pollution (water, soils, air); improving ecological resilience of the respective ecosystems (maintaining functioning coastal ecosystems through the processes of global environmental change); in scenarios dominated by heavy water shortages increasing integration of traditional water resources with new water sources (desalination and, first and foremost, reuse of treated wastewater);
• Related to urban areas as social systems: capacity building of the key players involved (through collective and organizational learning, related to natural resource management and conflict mitigation, including resource sharing); development of social resilience capacity to cope with catastrophic effects and events in global environmental change (e.g. climate change);
• Related to the interaction of social systems and ecosystems: solving problems of interaction between urban and rural areas in resource use practices (sustainable managing local common pool resources by coupling social and ecological system, and implementing “adaptive management” approaches).
Dissemination activities and exploitation of results
The overall objective of the SECOA project was to develop an integrated approach incorporating social, economic and natural disciplines for understanding and dealing with the complex and dynamic problems facing the coastal city environments that results in several typologies of conflicts.
SECOA will contribute to the understanding of contrasts and conflicts of uses in the coastal urban areas, which will be useful to managers and decision-makers who are responsible for development planning and managing conflicts. It will be a reference tool for all the other stakeholders.
The support of a participatory decision making process requires the appropriate institutional and public interfaces, but also a shared information basis. Here the role of the dissemination and exploitation activities planned, which foresaw a strong interaction with the so-called end users that represent the main target of the project. The involvement of all relevant actors and stakeholders, but in particular all administrative bodies, was an essential objective: each case study area was building up a network of local stakeholders, institutions and individuals, concerned with the above mentioned issues to be involved in the provision of essential data for the research, the scenario definitions and the analysis and exploitation of results.
Dissemination strategy
To establish the public awareness of the objectives and the research applied in SECOA, the Consortium followed several paths including conference organization, public project presentation and typical academic publication activities. To such purpose, the dissemination activities concentrated primarily on:
1) Organization of public conferences and international workshops
2) Setting up of SECOA Web site
3) Publications and participation to events
4) Capacity building in Vietnam and India
SECOA consortium was convinced that, in order to reach the different target groups, it was necessary to utilize different means as follows:
1. Public at large reached by articles on local newspapers, radio and TV interviews, public workshops, participation in fairs community fairs and events, short videos;
2. International Scientific community, including the European Commission reached by presentations at national and international conferences, congresses and workshops, publications in peer reviewed scientific journals and other academic outlets, facilitation open access to the Data Archive Legacy, selected public deliverables;
3. End Users and others stakeholders (directly and not directly involved in the project) reached by interactive collaboration, tailor made communication, dedicated public workshops, presentations to end user organizations
During the project duration the following activities were carried out:
• 77 Presentations at conferences and workshops, plus 17 posters; moreover 3 presentations on SECOA issues will take place after the end of the project
• 6 Sapienza University Press volumes in Open Access regime
• 32 articles in scientific journals, plus 4 prepared, submitted and accepted
• 31 articles on daily newspaper, magazines and on-line web sites
• 4 International conferences/workshops organized with a total of 450 people attending the events
• 2 capacity building in Vietnam and India with a total of 50 students attending the events
• 9 radio and TV interviews
• 4 video on SECOA activities, plus 1 realized by the students of an Italian High School.
Exploitation strategy
End users involvement relied on a bottom-up approach that required the active participation of the local communities, through their representatives. The active participation of local actors gave the possibility to build up alternative scenarios of the future, and, consequently, to draw up alternative development strategies. This is exactly what SECOA did during the duration of the project. From the collaboration of scientists belonging to different disciplines and the end users it was possible to create scenarios of the future and the best development strategies for the 17 case studies. The full accomplishment of this task provided the research team the opportunity to deal with more focused and policy oriented data, since scenarios suggest a range of options that reduces uncertainty regarding policy options.
In order to transfer knowledge from SECOA to the practice of (future) resource management, although difficult, it was possible to create standardized and generalized procedures. This in any case required adaptation of policies and tools to the study areas by a continuous communication between national teams and End Users and Stakeholders.
Thus, the strategy relied on the following:
• SECOA End Users Panel
In order to enhance its exploitation activities, SECOA set up an End Users Panel; this was composed of local representatives from the SECOA case studies and national/regional institutions representing the countries involved divided into the following major categories. 6 National Authorities, 25 Regional/Local Authorities and 4 NGOs composed the panel (please see Annex II for the detailed composition). End users were involved at the very first SECOA programme meeting. Thereafter, the End Users Panel met once a year to evaluate the project's progress, and was intended to provide, at national level, direct interaction to support cooperation between end-users and researchers at different levels of project activities, thus allowing the end-users to give input, suggestions and feedbacks to the project’s activities. Throughout the project they verified the usability of project output, that is the readability and applicability of the solutions described. The most important impact of the panel will be that of paving the way for the long-term incorporation/adoption of the proposed solution.
• Other SECOA End users
A total of 28 End Users (5 National Authorities, 18 Regional/Local Authorities and 5 NGOs) did have regular contacts with SECOA representatives, but the level of interaction was less intense than with the End Users Panel members (please see Annex II for the detailed composition).
• Stakeholders
The project partners identified a total of 20 stakeholders (2 National/International Authorities, 9 Regional/Local Authorities and 9 NGOs), which were involved in the last phase of the project (please see Annex II for the detailed composition).
Interaction with End Users and Stakeholders
The interactions with the End Users and the other Stakeholders can be summarized as follows:
• End Users Panel:
• Formal and informal contacts to review SECOA deliverables and provide data
• Panel meetings, formal meetings and workshops to gather feedback on project progress and results and to assess the possibility of a direct project results take up
• Other End Users and Stakeholders: formal meetings and workshops to increase the possibility of projects results take up
It is important to highlight that the End users have been involved with the project from the very start (End Users were providing data, meeting the SECOA representatives and getting known with the project). Since then, their contribution has strengthened considerably and the quality of the involvement has definitively increased.
The progressive and deepened cooperation with the End Users and Stakeholders is not adequately given through the counting of formal events although these are important, but during the project duration the following activities were carried out:
• 4 End users panel meeting
• 9 formal workshops with End Users, plus numerous face-to-face interviews and online questionnaire filled in
• About 120 formal meetings with End Users and Stakeholders
List of Websites:
The SECOA web-site has been operative since March 2010 and has been implemented around the idea of playing a twofold role:
• Represent a “window” of the project (i.e. containing useful and interesting information to the whole research community and other stakeholders);
• Be an open forum for internal discussion and synchronization within the project consortium.
In order to highlight the availability of results, the web site has been built both to provide public access to selected deliverables (PU) and to contain a private section where partners and restricted groups could have a privileged access. The web site also contains a description of the project, information on participants, publications and ongoing activities. To encourage cooperation with other European projects, the web site also provides information and links to projects and related activities.
The web site home page is structured into two main menus:
• The horizontal menu, which links to the Objectives, Deliverables, Partners, Publications, Links and News sections.
• The vertical menu which give access to Maps, Governing Bodies, End Users Panel, Case studies and Work Packages areas.
Moreover, a supplementary tool for communication has been created and was accessible directly from the website homepage: the Data Forum of the METADATA system (for further reference, please Part D Information Management).
The SECOA Web-site was continuously updated. From 1st March 2010 to 30th November 2013, the SECOA web site was visited by 13,202 people for a total of 20,250 visits, 65,54% of the people visiting the website are new visitors. The average number of pages visited is 3,55 with a 2,59 minutes time spent in the website. Apart from participating countries, the site has been visited by people from 142 countries, including Europe (almost all EU countries, Switzerland, Russia, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Armenia), Asia (including Japan, Singapore, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia), North America (USA and Canada), South America (including Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile), Africa (including Uganda, Cameroon, Arab Emirates, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana), and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji Islands).