Conscious Coastal Cities

Try to imagine the world without cities. It would be like a world without the sea, without excitement. As humanity progressively and irreversibly becomes urban, the future of the planet is more and more decided in cities. It seems that, in the noblest adventures of the century, cities will lead and countries will follow. Most of the globe’s economic activity is funneled through cities, especially coastal and maritime cities. They have the opportunity and the responsibility to lead the world towards sustainable development.

The sheer size of cities is crucial, but also their potential to generate and capture positive synergies, their capacity for creativity and innovation, and the interconnected local political leadership which heralds the era of urban geopolitics. Urban democracies, advocating for citizens to be at the heart of policies, could bring extraordinary momentum in times of global democratic and trust deficit.

This book sheds particular light on coastal cities, places of exceptional opportunities and tensions at the junction of marine, land, air, and human ecosystems. From seaside resorts and delta cities to maritime hubs, the spectrum of coastal cities includes very diverse typologies. They can all generate exceptional synergies from the interacting strengths and weaknesses of both cities and coasts. The book highlights particular threats and opportunities and underlines effective, imaginative responses that can inspire cities to address the challenges of the future in harmonious symbiosis with the sea.

Humanity owes much of its prosperity to seas and oceans. Oceans are the ultimate life support system. Water has not only been a precondition for life on earth but has provided vital resources to society and endowed some cities with special assets, from fisheries and sea transport to recreational activities, raw materials, and energy. Since the age of ancient metropolises on the sea, many port cities have concentrated not only commercial and economic wealth but also political and cultural power. Privileged access to the sea has often invited economies to exchange, trade, and expand. The proximity of the sea and, through maritime routes, of the shores of the world, makes coastal cities more open and inventive, rich in experiences that can be offered to both citizens and visitors.



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