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Resilience and Vulnerability: Coastal Dynamics or Dutch Dikes?

Richard J.T. Klein, Marion J. Smit, Hasse Goosen and Cornelis H. Hulsbergen
The Geographical Journal
Vol. 164, No. 3 (Nov., 1998), pp. 259-268
Published by: geographicalj
DOI: 10.2307/3060615
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3060615
Page Count: 10
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Resilience and Vulnerability: Coastal Dynamics or Dutch Dikes?
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Abstract

This paper describes coastal resilience as a measure of the extent to which a coast is able to respond to external pressures without losing actual or potential functions. Such usage of the term gives coastal scientists, planners and managers a new opportunity to express complex coastal dynamics in a simple aggregated form. Coastal resilience has morphological, ecological and socio-economic components, each of which represents another aspect of the coastal system's adaptive capacity to perturbations. Enhancing coastal resilience is increasingly viewed as a cost-effective way to prepare for uncertain future changes while maintaining opportunities for coastal development. The Netherlands has known a long tradition of controlling natural coastal processes by stringent dune management and building hard sea-defence structures. However, both socio-economic and natural adaptive processes have become constrained owing to the limited availability of land and the diminished coastal resilience that has resulted from technological solutions and legal provisions. The recent study Growing with the Sea proposes to restore natural coastal processes along the Dutch coast and let natural and socio-economic systems interact more dynamically. It explores possibilities of enhancing coastal resilience in The Netherlands by allowing managed retreat in areas where it is environmentally acceptable and reclaiming land in other areas.

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