Coastal regeneration

Coastal communities, such as those around Devon and Cornwall, have experienced significant social and economic change during the last 30-40 years. Port cities have experienced dereliction from the consequences of the globalisation of trade, changing shipping techniques and deindustrialisation. Military sites, such as dockyards and naval bases, have been released from service as a result of the ‘peace dividend’ and defence spending reviews. Seaside resorts have suffered from an outdated infrastructure and increasing competition, while coastal fishing and market towns have been affected by changing agricultural and fisheries policies. Coastal settlements generally rank among the most deprived areas, albeit with substantial inequalities in population structures, employment, health, education and skills. Despite the significance of these challenges, coastal communities have often been been described as the ‘least understood problem areas’ and have been neglected in public policy. Coastal areas are, in addition, especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which threatens significant centres of population, infrastructure and industry, as well as important natural habitats and heritage. Regeneration strategies can be thwarted by the peripherality of coastal settlements, combined with poor transport connections, reduced catchment areas and difficult or protected topographies.


LEGER, C., BALCH, C. & ESSEX, S.J. (2016) Understanding the planning challenges of brownfield development in coastal urban areas of England, Planning Practice and Research, 31 (2), pp.119-131. doi:

TURNER, J. & ESSEX, S. (2016) Integrated terrestrial and marine planning in England’s coastal inter-tidal zone: assessing the operational effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat, Marine Policy, 72, pp.166–175. doi:  

ESSEX, S. AND YARWOOD, R. (2017) Changing Places: the armed forces, post-military space and urban change in Plymouth, UK, Geography, 102, 122-131. 

AGARWAL, S., JAKES, S., ESSEX, S., PAGE, S.J. & MOWFORTH, M. (2018) Disadvantage in Seaside Resorts: a typology of deprived neighbourhoods, Tourism Management, 69, 440-459. doi: 

THORNING, D., BALCH, C. & ESSEX, S. (2019) The delivery of mixed communities in the regeneration of urban waterfronts: an investigation of the comparative experience of Plymouth and Bristol, Land Use Policy, 84, 238-251. doi: 

YOUNG, D. & ESSEX, S. (2019) Integrating climate change adaptation in the planning and regeneration of coastal urban areas: priorities barriers, and future prospects, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, doi: