Coastal Realignment

another coastal challenge




Coastal planning, Managed realignment, Sea level rise, Wetlands, Coastal adaptation


While the concept of managed coastal retreat is now familiar to many, the future for rural coastal lowlands has received less attention.
Planned processes of coastal realignment can create opportunities, including carbon sequestration, nature-based transformation of coastal interfaces, and evolution of increasingly unproductive farmland towards other beneficial activities. Our present planning system provides high-level policy support for these changes but is mired in detail and short on recognition that the coastal edge will advance inland. While the challenges are being addressed positively in some areas, including by, or in partnership with, iwi/hapū, there is a national lack of leadership in integrated management across the changing land–sea interface, land ownership remains problematic, and funding requirements remain unresolved. New legislation promises improved approaches and is urgently needed.


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Author Biographies

Sylvia Allen, GNS Science Te Pū Ao

Sylvia Allan is a senior planner in the Planning and Policy Department at GNS Science Te Pū Ao, and director of Allan Planning and Research Ltd.

Rob Bell, University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

Rob Bell is director of Bell Adapt Ltd and a teaching fellow in the Environmental Planning Programme, University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato.

Annet Forkink, GNS Science Te Pū Ao

Annet Forkink is a senior environment and climate planner in the Planning and Policy Department at GNS Science Te Pū Ao.