Connecting Oceans and Cities: Rethinking a Crucial Relationship to Drive Innovative and Sustainable Urban Development

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Aired on 9/23/2014 – Modern society is dependent upon ocean resources in more ways than people realize – from oil and gas extraction and wind energy, to global fisheries production, to medicinal compounds derived from sea creatures. As coastal cities begin planning for climate change and rising sea levels, renowned author (Blue Urbanism) and architecture professor Timothy Beatley sees opportunities for rethinking the relationship between urban development and the ocean.

In this 60 minute discussion, University of Delaware author and marine affairs expert, Richard Burroughs, explored with Beatley the connections between urban design, resource extraction, and educating urbanites about the wonders of oceans – and the impacts that emerging, coastal-focused practices can advance economies, social cohesion, and public health.

According to Burroughs, one of the biggest difficulties facing urban managers in coastal areas is conflicting values that society holds – such as the desire for easy access to pristine beaches while seeking to put houses on the beach – that results in unclear policy directions. Burroughs’ book, Coastal Governance published by island Press, examines the current thinking on such issues as fisheries, oil development, waste disposal, suburban sprawl, and other topics. Throughout the book, coastal citizens are challenged to determine how to improve existing policies.