Angus D. Gordon, 2022. “Disposable or readily relocatable infrastructure to aid managed coastal retreat“, Shore & Beach, 90(2), 33-38.
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Disposable or readily relocatable infrastructure to aid managed coastal retreat
Angus D. Gordon OAM
Principal Consultant Coastal Zone Management and Planning, North Narrabeen, Sydney, Australia.
Infrastructure can become a major determinant as to whether a defense or a retreat strategy is adopted at a coastal location. A significant investment in expensive networks of roads, water supply, and sewerage systems, along with power and telecommunications distribution infrastructure, can tip the defense/retreat debate and the associated cost-benefit analysis in favour of a defense approach. Often the increasingly expensive and sophisticated infrastructure servicing a coastal community has evolved over time, from simple beginnings. However, with upgrades and expansions coastal communities have become totally dependent on complex centralized systems that are vulnerable to disruption by erosion, shoreline recession, and/or oceanic overwash. For a strategy of managed retreat to be practical and achievable at any location, a policy which encourages self-sufficient or low-cost infrastructure that can be readily abandoned or relocated is desirable. There is also a need to re-think the forms of coastal subdivision layout and infrastructure provision that are most amenable to progressive retreat.