5.5.2 Urban Seascaping as an analytical and curatorial tool
Urban Seascaping is an approach to coastal adaptation and urban development. The different maps were created as an outcome of synthesising a transdisciplinary body of knowledge into a hybrid format that might aid informed design parameters, leading to future projections. Thus, Urban Seascaping – in addition to its ethical and critical dimensions – also presents itself as an analytical and curatorial tool to think and work within the LUDP disciplines (as a response to answering sub-research questions one and two). Here are some of the key prescriptive learnings from the mapping explorations:
1. Multiscalar mapping: Engage with multi-scalar networks when working with the marine realm in coastal cities
Working with water challenges the conventional notion of a site with fixed boundaries to a multiscalar condition. The water connects and impacts the site from global to local, macro to micro, extending further into the landscape and out into the sea. Therefore, when dealing with an “edge” condition in urban shorelines, there is a need to ensure macro and micro-scale interventions are running in parallel (that is dependent on the local context).
Examples: For Vejle’s Kanten/The Edge project, due to the dire ecological condition of the fjord, projects such as Sund Vejle Fjord needed to be running in parallel to ensure the success of Kanten’s/The Edge’s NbS (i.e. large-scale interventions to re-establish stone reefs and mussel beds).
In particular, working with the watershed/catchment scale becomes paramount when dealing with water pollution, as the excess nutrient gets transported and expelled into the sea from the catchment areas.
Example: The upstream wetland restoration to capture more agricultural runoffs before it reaches the inner fjord.
The multiscalar networks also need to be envisioned from the perspective of water (i.e. water-based scales - global to local waters) and its connection to other water bodies
Example: The need to conceive the water body in its entirety, such as the Vejle fjord with its interconnection to the rivers and watersheds (relational thinking).
While understanding the local ecosystem (i.e. food chain) might seem less distinguishable on a spatial scale, it is important to understand the food chain and its relation to the water cycles to work with the complexity of implementing marine nature-based solutions.
Examples: The exploding population of crabs in Vejle Fjord that is hindering the eelgrass restoration process by Sund Vejle Fjord.
Figure 182. An amalgamation of the maps in this research that is relevant in representing the first Kumu map: Multiscalar network map. The examples highlight the importance of engaging with a macro-to-micro scale in a relational manner. For Vejle fjord, it means to see it holistically with its connection to the rivers (river valley) in its coastal catchment area and its relation to the local ecosystem. Image credit (top right image): Vejle Municipality (2019).
2. Temporal-projective mapping to visualise past decisions that led to today’s issues with water and to project future implications of today’s vision
Looking at the key urban development decisions in the past that have impacted the present time’s path to coastal adaptation to sea level rise and increasing storm surge. Using this understanding to inform future decisions on urban development conducive to the green-blue transition of coastal cities.
Working with the research-through-design method to project future strategies based on the short-term to long-term IPCC deadlines (i.e. RCP scenarios – ranging from best-case scenarios to worst-case scenarios) and future predictions of SLR and SS. Moreover, acknowledging that today’s decisions could have ramifications beyond these official deadlines that require longer-term perspectives past this century.
Figure 183. Temporal-projective mapping looks at the relationship between urban development decisions of the past and the consequences of those decisions in the present and future times. Based on the learnings from the multi-scalar analysis (Map 1), potential projections about the future can be made. Image credit: The Membrane team for Kanten/The Edge and SUPERFLEX.
3. Review of the state-of-the-art projects – Mapping the learnings from various realised and speculative projects around the world to inspire more marine nature-based approaches to coastal development.
It is important to broaden the scope of what constitutes relevant state-of-the-art projects. Therefore, it needs to contain reviews/learnings from both built and unbuilt projects, locally and internationally, technical and artistic, educational and cultural outcomes and show the interconnections between them. Moreover, it should also include non-physical outcomes such as urban planning policy, alternative narratives, and world views.
The state-of-the-art review needs to consider the same type of projects but understands that the same proposals might work differently in different contexts for various reasons.
Example: Nature-based solution in coastal cities with more violent storm surges (i.e. West coast of Jutland) will require a much denser and larger scale of NbS to mitigate the strength of waves as opposed to coastal cities with more sheltered coast with much weaker wave strength (i.e. East coast of Jutland).
Figure 184. State-of-the-art projects in the second Kumu map show the nine categories that could be relevant in answering the main research question. They are art installations, coastal adaptation/protection projects, marine education and research centres, marine nature reserves and restoration projects, alternative policies and world views concerning SLR and SS and examples of B-A-U urban development models in coastal cities.
4. Multimedia, curatorial and interactive dissemination of findings in the digital (COVID-19) age.
The importance of hosting research on more accessible dissemination platforms for knowledge-share, such as online websites, to ensure that wider audiences (outside academia) can be reached. The online website format of Kumu maps also allows hyperlinks to other materials (i.e. research journals, videos, webpages etc.), connecting the research to the wider network of works online and, therefore, can host more variety of visual mediums such as animated pictures, videos and audio files.
The value of online interactive network maps such as Kumu is that it is not a “finished product” but an ongoing process. The interactive elements allow a more exploratory engagement of the user compared to static 2D maps on paper.