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5.4.3 Changing ecologies and cultural heritage

Another emerging discussion is the project of rethinking the idea of “ecological novelty” to one that acknowledges the constant flux and entwined human and nonhuman elements and processes that characterise all environments today (Orff, 2016; Lemoine and Svenning, 2022). Robinson (2017, p.356) supports this view by stating that “caring for the planet… does not mean restoring a lost purity but accepting hybrid ecologies”. As climatic conditions change, the potential of hybrid species as part of NbS in the future is largely unexplored in design research. This is particularly relevant as the future climatic change would lead to the extinction of some existing species unable to withstand the heat, or due to rising sea levels, forests near the coast would not survive the saltwater intrusion. There may be potential to compensate for the “lost” nature (i.e. the beech forests) with new coastal nature (i.e. seaweed) that, with time, could become the new normal for that area. For instance, it may be inevitable for the arrival of foreign species of seaweed as kelp is already moving up to colder waters (refer to section 1.5.1). Therefore, there may be scope for researchers to look into potential hybrid/new species[276] as part of the urban landscape/seascape approach that could be better suited to withstand climatic changes in the future, compensate for the loss of terrestrial forests due to SLR to also contribute towards improving biodiversity.

     Moreover, fixed notions of what constitutes “cultural heritage[277]” today (i.e. commonly associated with a monument, a building, a garden or an urban environment) that is worthy of protection from future sea level rise and storm surges rather than retreat/relocation are worthy of discussion. In recent years, due to the uncertainty of future scenarios as a result of ongoing climate change, there has been a paradigm shift in the understanding and management of cultural heritage in cities and landscapes to one that does not normatively render cultural heritage to be based on a specific and singular point in time that must be maintained in an ideal and “original” state for a long period of time, to preserve national storytelling or posterity (Riesto and Stenbro, 2021). Furthermore, globally speaking, the term cultural heritage has undergone considerable changes in recent decades to widen the scope and scale to include a more holistic understanding of heritage, such as immaterial aspects led by more participatory practices involving the local community and interrelational thinking about historical development (Vecco, 2010; Janssen et al., 2017). Moreover, UNESCO (2022) has recognised the importance of “intangible cultural heritage” that “does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditionsperforming artssocial practices, rituals, festive eventsknowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts” (UNESCO, 2022) (also refer to (UNESCO, 2022)). Therefore, there is scope to consider immaterial values and practices[278] of cultural heritage that entire communities/towns could carry with them when relocating to a new area due to SLR/SS/coastal erosion, departing from the dominant fixed notions of buildings of a certain period must be conserved, frozen in time (i.e. it may not be possible nor sensible to save all “historical” buildings by moving it back like the “Rubjerg Knude” lighthouse from Part III Figure 52).

[276] This view of hybrid ecologies has also been supported by Vejle Municipality in Kanten/The Edge competition brief, where it acknowledges the future reality of being able to host new animals and plants than those we see today through innovative landscape-seascape proposals (Vejle Municipality, 2020a).

[277] The current understanding of “cultural heritage” only as physical “artefacts, monuments, a group of buildings and sites, museums that have a diversity of values including symbolic, historic, artistic, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological, scientific and social significance” may be a limited view of what constitutes heritage (UNESCO, 2020).

[278] From the perspective of seaweed, the practice of seaweeding by Victorian women in Great Britain (refer to section 1.5.2, Figure 19 could be considered under this category).



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