University of Hamburg: 11-13th September 2019
Under the EU Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive, Member States are tasked with the preparation of maritime spatial plans by 2021. These plans are required to take account of land-sea interactions. Experience to date, however, indicates that MSP occupies a different institutional and policy space to land-based terrestrial spatial planning. At the same time as MSP is becoming established as a formal policy instrument applied in a coordinated manner across Europe, European spatial planning has reached an impasse, with a discernible shift away from ambitious spatial strategies over the last two decades. Furthermore, as policies and practices of integrated coastal zone management are displaced through a focus of attention on MSP, there is a risk of a ‘new coastal squeeze’ where the land and marine become institutionalised as distinct policy spaces. This interdisciplinary workshop aims to explore and critically reflect on the capacity for MSP and spatial planning more broadly to address the challenges posed by the sustainable governance of the land-sea interface. In particular, we will focus on the spatial dimensions of MSP and spatial planning at the coast. Key topics for discussion and reflection include the capacity of MSP to work with relational connections across space and the potential to engage with place-based knowledges and multiple ways of knowing the sea.
by Cormac Walsh
The fiftieth anniversary Conference of Irish Geographers, took place at Maynooth University, (close to Dublin, in County Kildare) from 10-12thMay 2018. In response to a call for papers for a themed session with the title: Between Nature and Culture, Land and Sea: Spatial Practices at the Coast, Ruth Brennan (Centre for Environmental Humanities, Trinity College Dublin) and I convened a double session with eight paperspresented to a lively audience on the last day of the conference. We were particularly interested in papers which viewed coasts and coastlines as boundary spaces and explored ways in which natural and cultural values are contested and negotiated at the coast. With this thematic focus, the session built on recent work on cultural geographies of coastal change (e.g. Walsh & Döring 2018) and was informed by a broader concern to bring together perspectives from cultural geography and the environmental humanities.
The first paper, by Frances Rylands and colleagues from the interdisciplinary Cultural Values of Coastlines project at University College Dublin explored the concept of emotional ecologies as a means of incorporating cultural values in policy-making at the coast. Her paper addressed the question of how nature-culture relations can be narrated at the coast, working with through practices of story-telling and story-mapping. Drawing on the Lorimer’s Wildlife in the Anthropocene (2015), she spoke of the non-human charisma of seals and their role as digital personalities in the communication of particular images of nature at the coast. Her paper highlighted the importance of developing and articulating an ethic of care in relation to the marine environment and the potential role of story-telling in articulating otherwise intangible and difficult to grasp emotional responses and cultural values.
A charismatic seal, Glengarriff Bay, Ireland. Photo: (c) C. Walsh