This project challenges current ‘adaptation measures’ and planning strategies for sea-level rise, inundation and coastal erosion. The site of focus is the Bellarine Peninsula, stretching from Point Henry East of Geelong to Port Arlington, In Victoria, Australia.
Just in the last few months a number of Coastal Management Strategy plans and Hazard Assessment reports were published for this area; yet there are limited on-the-ground actions that address issues of erosion and ecosystem degradation. This project particularly investigates how much of a role landscape-based and ecologically-driven solutions play in planning processes for vulnerable areas. To date, current strategies and infrastructures suggest a great focus on engineering responses for reducing risks, including groynes and breakwaters which are often proven to be ineffective in long the term. Little attention has been given to actually engaging with natural dynamics, protecting coastal habitat and linking social, economic, and ecological benefits.
This project also reviews international success stories, where soft landscape-based solutions play an important role in dealing with sea level rise. Case studies such as projects from the Rebuild by Design initiative, which emerged in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in NY and was funded by 100 Resilient cities, and the work that the Dutch Government has been undertaking to study benefits of living shorelines, provide important insights and offer lessons that can be adapted to the Australian context. The project aims to understand how officials at all levels of government along with communities can design and implement landscape infrastructures that deliver multiple community and environmental benefits.