Author: Edward Barsley
Cambridge design research studio
The 2012 UK Climate Change impact risk assessment highlighted flooding as the single greatest threat the UK faces (DEFRA, 2012). Our coastline serves as a crucial economic, transport, cultural, recreational, and agricultural threshold, however, with the impacts of climate change, this boundary is facing increasing threats and pressure to adapt. There is an urgent need to readdress our paradigmatic relationship with the coastal boundary. Contemporary coastal policy is directed towards managed realignment, which whilst logical in the long term, can inhibit the social and economic benefits of the waters edge. Instead it is proposed we begin to design settlements with adaptation strategies in mind, configured for future rather than historic climate conditions.
The thesis proposes a settlement that remains open to the sea whilst safe from it. Par Docks, one of the most important coastal development sites in England is the vehicle for this project (DCLG, 2007). It consists of the design of a new town that inhabits the interstitial space between land and sea, enabling increased interaction with the waters edge, whilst also facilitating a long term strategy for managed realignment.