|AN INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL BODY FOR THEMEING, RESORT HOSPITALITY AND COASTAL SPACE PLANNING|
and Coastal Architects Beach and Waterscapes
The coastal zone is the narrow band of land/sea interface that people around the world use for work, play and residence. With many competing entities vying for space in this dynamic ecosystem, designers must carefully consider the costs and benefits of destination development on the coast.
Good design for a potential coastal destination will respond to the unique coastal environment and the people that live and work there. The natural processes that form coasts and continue to change them create conditions that are both beautiful and dangerous to people. The healthy coastline can be harmed by human interventions that ignore the fragility of the zone, and our dependence on it.
The value of design in coastal destinations is the assurance that the very qualities desirable to travelers are enhanced, not degraded. Furthermore, the residents are given recognition as a group of people who value their home, but have made a decision to share their part of the world with others. In providing opportunities for visitors to come to the coast, host communities proactively plan for the unique needs that exist in their region.
The value of quality beach resources can be a coastal community's highest priority. The cleanliness, size, safety and typical weather of a sandy beach will determine its appeal, and thus its value. Destinations with beach resources are making efforts to protect and enhance their value. The role of design professionals is critical in assuring that strategies to enhance beaches are effective in retaining the character of each unique destination.
Responsible public access to the coast is imperative to retaining meaningful land/water interface. By allowing people to interact with the coastal zone, both on land and in the water, the health and vitality of the resource can be appreciated and monitored. Designers can never shrink from the challenge to bring people into environments without destroying their beauty and value.
The potential opportunities for recreation in the coastal zone must be recognized as powerful engines of both positive and negative outcomes for coastline health. When designers consider the primary, secondary and long-term consequences of development to facilitate recreation activities, several key issues will arise. Location of access points, movement of people and their vehicles waste management, are three areas of concern that need design expertise. Open space and built facilities should be designed to retain the character of the coast and provide value and safety for the users, both visitors and residents.
Coastal zones exhibit a wide range of potential problems and opportunities, and each community will work through issues unique to their circumstances. Designers realize there are no "cookie-cutter" solutions for the development of effective destinations. With an involved community of participants and expert consultants, a customized design solution, or master plan will emerge.
Any time coastal zones are developed for human habitation, commerce and leisure, there should be an acceptance of the dynamic nature of this zone. Tidal fluctuation, storm incidents, natural wave and erosion processes, dune movement and global warming consequences should all be taken into account as part of the unique constraints and opportunities for coasts. Designers are responsible for public safety and health; therefore, facilities must address concerns from structural soundness to life saving provisions. Linkage of destination amenities to inland resources through transportation corridors is vital along coasts. Access to food, water and other critical necessities of human survival must be assured to those who live, work and visit in coastal destinations.
Existing features and uses of areas should be recognized for their cultural and aesthetic value. Historic landmarks, sensitive habitats and traditional coastal facilities should receive priority in design decisions. The retention of a community's place-making icons is critical to its effectiveness as a destination. Visitors find value in the distinctiveness of coastal destinations, even though the magnetism of certain elements may be evident in many coastal opportunities. As each host community works through the potentials of their destination, residents should carefully place priority on the aspects of their home region that they value. Physical attributes as well as "intangibles" should be weighed for value in the decision process of destination design.