Maritime and coastal cultural heritage: Challenges and opportunities for development and planning

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Cultural heritage (CH) is frequently included in spatial development discussions and spatial policy
and planning activities. Traditionally, a strong emphasis has been given to the protection of mostly
tangible CH artifacts when faced with pressures of specific development proposals and activities.
As such, debates over CH aspects have often been associated with reactive planning approaches
aiming at protection of certain CH values. However, CH is increasingly also integrated into more
strategic and proactive development and planning discussions. This has opened up the
opportunity to discuss how CH may also be considered a ‘development driver’ in some situations.
For instance, in maritime and coastal areas with little attention from mainstream city-centered
socio-economic mechanisms, however also in urban areas, such as ports, in transition away from
an industrial past.

Maritime and coastal cultural heritage provides a sense of place, identity, unity, and belonging to
residents of maritime and coastal regions. CH, rooted in both tangible and intangible aspects such
as specific landscapes, seascapes, buildings, stories, traditions, language, and cultural practices, is
a fundamental part of every society. It connects people to each other and to the past and helps
guide the future. It is based on the past, but it is also living—constantly changing and adapting—as
all culture is. Yet, CH is also at risk through diverse drivers, such as climate change, non-CH
sensitive economic and spatial development, and demographic change. With strong calls for Blue
Growth from the European Union and in different economic sectors, it is important to make
explicit connections to the values of CH, the risks it faces and to the benefits to preserving and
safeguarding CH for current and future generations. With due consideration, CH can be both
preserved and sustainably utilized.

With sustainable utilization of maritime and coastal CH as an ultimate goal, this article presents
our understanding of maritime cultural heritage based upon a theoretical framework of three
pillars: space, place, and identity; resilience and adaptation; and deliberative and participatory
governance. Combining these three theoretical pillars brings insights for the sustainable usage and
governance of maritime and coastal CH for the benefits of society. Only once the importance of
coastal spaces and places and how they form identities are known; how cultures and society are
vulnerable or resilient and can adapt; and how good governance takes place, can CH be used
sustainably—to the benefit of society and enabling Blue Growth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventPLANNORD symposium in Norway 21st-23rd August 2019: The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium - NMBU-campus - Vitenparken, Ås, Norway
Duration: 21 Aug 201923 Sep 2019
Conference number: 9


ConferencePLANNORD symposium in Norway 21st-23rd August 2019
LocationNMBU-campus - Vitenparken
Internet address

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