Have you ever thought about coastal environments as parks?
When we think about public green, our mind sometimes goes directly towards a traditional, green park or urban forest, but beaches and wetlands and other forms of waterways are just as important.
Today we are discussing coastal environments, why they’re incredibly important for our park systems and how park professionals from around the world are going about their management. We are joined by AP Diaz, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Brenton Grear, Director of Green Adelaide.
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Coastal ecosystems lie at the intersection of ocean and land. And although they can look and behave in different ways, they share a common importance for their urban surroundings – they are biodiversity and productivity hotspots, and have a deep cultural and spiritual connection to their communities.
However, coastal environments are threatened by urban development, pollution, climate change and other human and natural stressors. As AP Diaz mentions, recognizing the importance of coastal environments in urban sustainability efforts has been a huge effort in the parks management community, but it can be complicated as coasts are often estranged from their cities.
Brenton mentions some of the challenges faced in Adelaide’s coast: longitudinal drifts that affect beach compositions, human activities threatening local species, and recreational activities that clash with the cities’ conservation efforts.
As both AP and Brenton highlight, engaging local communities in coastal conservation efforts is crucial to ensure that people take pride and ownership in these projects and in doing so, create a habit out of protecting and stewarding their coast.
Education and cultural connection is an important element of action, and much work has to be done both by park managers and city inhabitants to reimagine our coastal environments and cities as one.
This podcast is only one of the many resources available inside the WUP member platform. Discover more resources and connect with park professionals around the world at www.worldurbanparks.org