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Bringing harbours alive: assessing the importance of eco-engineered coastal infrastructure for different stakeholders and cities

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 18:23 authored by Kienker, SE, Coleman, RA, Morris, RL, Steinberg, P, Bollard, B, Jarvis, R, Karen AlexanderKaren Alexander, Elisabeth StrainElisabeth Strain
Urbanisation and population growth continue to impact already pressured harbour environments, resulting in a proliferation of artificial structures in the marine environment. In response, there is a growing interest in ecological engineering these structures for the benefit of both nature and humankind. Since the decision to build or adapt coastal infrastructure is a socio-economic one, the views and perceptions of different users are likely to influence support for ecological engineering projects. A survey was developed and run in four harbours (Sydney, Hobart, Auckland and Tauranga) to quantify the perceptions of different stakeholder groups towards ecological engineering of artificial structures. This study tested whether respondents with a greater connection, concern for environment, with a higher socio-economic status or who lived in a more modified harbour environment are more likely to be supportive of ecological engineering than other respondents. The study also assessed whether respondents with prior knowledge about the dominant artificial structure in their harbour (seawalls) agreed with the positive effects, disagreed with negative effects, and were more willing to contribute to costs of ecological engineering than those without prior knowledge. Results showed that most people are supportive of ecological engineering (92.55%). However, stakeholders whose work is directly linked to the harbour are more supportive of ecological engineering in Sydney and Auckland, than in Tauranga or Hobart. Environmental concern, education, income and level of harbour modification all have a positive influence on support for ecological engineering. Prior knowledge also influenced willingness to pay for ecological engineering. These results are promising for councils and managers seeking to implement ecological engineering initiatives, and looking to understand stakeholder groups’ attitudes and perceptions towards ecological engineering initiatives. Greater consideration of both ecology and public users’ values are required for more holistic management strategies of artificial structures in urban marine harbours.


Publication title

Marine Policy








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

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The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems

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