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Beyond Retreat: Realigning the Welsh Coast for Resilient Inhabitation

Part 2 Project 2023
Megan Louise Spoor
Tulane University | USA
Beyond Retreat responds to the UK’s Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2), a high-level policy document that presents recommendations for the defense of the UK’s shoreline against coastal erosion and flooding. One policy proposed by the SMP2 is managed realignment, in which hard defenses are altered to allow the inland shift of the coastline and the regeneration of tidal ecosystems. As new coastal edges are drawn, forty communities in Wales alone could face partial or wholesale relocation by 2100, a mandated retreat of residents and infrastructure at a scale previously unseen in the UK. This creates an opportunity to establish innovative approaches to coastal occupation that have the capacity to operate in future conditions of uncertainty and support the continued habitation of Wales’ coastline.

Beyond Retreat proposes an alternative settlement strategy that enables the community to prepare for (and adapt to) the impacts of sea level rise, whilst minimizing displacement, restoring coastal ecosystems and regenerating local tourism. By reframing risk through the integration of non-structural and nature-based solutions, Beyond retreat questions our ability to improve our relationship with the coast, whilst paradoxically retreating from its edge.

Megan Louise Spoor


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