Conference paper

Are our coastal managment strategies inspired by nature-based solutions? A review of the Moolap development framework plan

18 Jun 2018

With around 85% of Australia’s population living in coastal areas, rising sea levels and increasing storm surges will continue to have significant impacts on many of the continent’s coastal communities and landscapes. This presents great challenges to urban planners, urban designers and landscape architects responsible for creating safe, functional, and robust built environments for coastal communities. In preparation for sustainable adaptation to sea-level rise, nature-based solutions and soft ecosystem-driven approaches are increasingly considered at the micro scale of design, but less explored at the planning level. This research investigates the integration of nature-based solutions (NBS) at the planning level for a proposed development project in the coastal city of Geelong, south-west of Melbourne, Victoria. We examine whether the draft strategic plan for the redevelopment of Point Henry-Moolap coastal area in Geelong, incorporates principles of nature-based approaches to address projected impacts of coastal climate change. A brief review of coastal management policies in Victoria is provided. An analysis framework derived from NBS principles is used to identify concepts within the development framework plan that are aligned with NBS and ecosystems-based approaches. From the analysis, areas that provide opportunities for a better integration of NBS in coastal planning and responding to future climate-induced impacts are identified. We conclude that providing clearer directions, including regulatory instruments in high level land use planning, can help local governments and developers make informed decisions that consider human well-being, biodiversity and climate change. With Australia’s global premises of coastal population growth, and increasing impacts of climate change on coastal areas, this research provides a timely contribution aligned with current social and ecological challenges.

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