Blue-Green Regeneration: A manifesto for our coast

27 February 2023

At its annual conference in September 2022 Eastern Arc explored the challenges and opportunities for its ‘collaborative coast’. The keynote speaker for the event was Professor Jules Pretty (University of Essex) who outlined a ‘vision of hope’ for our coastal communities and ecosystems, based on evidence from around the world, and an understanding of the broader historic context. He outlined a route map for the way ahead, towards a future forged from ‘blue-green regeneration’.

Prof Pretty, working in collaboration with the Eastern Arc Director Phil Ward, has developed his talk into a manifesto for change. Entitled ‘Blue-Green Coastal and Seaside Regeneeration for Seaside Communities and Coastal Ecosystems: Renewal Principles, Priorities and Evidence‘, the paper brings a new focus on the value of healing whole systems at these margins of land and sea, forming new natural, social and cultural assets, engaging the public and citizens in new ways, and creating positive side-effects to advance a circular and low-carbon bioeconomy.

It presents examples of ‘evidence for hope,’ and suggest that stories, support and appropriate policies can boost blue-green transitions that will help rebuild economic and social systems at all seaside and coastal locations.

It concludes with ten policy proposals that challenge the current status quo, and through which blue-green regeneration can be achieved.

‘Coastal locations have rarely been treated by research and policy as being part of the same connected system,’ said Prof Pretty. ‘Different agencies, ministries and departments, different businesses and third sector organisations, tend to approach coastal locations with only narrow interests.

‘This manifesto deliberately and necessarily takes a different approach. We view the coast as a whole, from fishing villages to tourist resorts, from delicate natural ecosystems to large industrial container ports. They are all interlinked, and we must work holistically to address the significant and entrenched issues they face. Working together, we want to build on the opportunities that exist for regeneration and renewal.’

‘With the publication of the position paper, Eastern Arc enters its next phase,’ added Phil Ward. ‘We are building on the engagement and excitement that was clear at the conference and working with external stakeholders to make real the hope that this manifesto provides.’

The manifesto is available here (pdf), and on our Issuu bookshelf here.


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