Dr Joanna Forster, School of International Development, University of East Anglia
Coastal zones are some of the most vulnerable areas to impacts from climate change in the UK, and some areas are already affected by sea level rise, erosion, storm surges and flooding. Innovative and strategic approaches to coastal management are urgently needed (CCC, 2018), but the introduction of these approaches raises contentious issues (O’Riordan et al. 2014) for coastal managers and policy makers.
This project aims to address these issues by bringing data from the natural sciences to bear on our understanding of social change and its implications for environmental justice, using the sandscaping project (Vikolainen et al. 2017) at Bacton and Walcott, the first of its kind in the UK, as a case study (https://www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/sandscaping).
The student will use a combination of critical literature review, geomorphological modelling, interviews, and existing data, to answer the following questions:
1) Does this innovation in coastal management encompass environmental justice? How?
2) How do communities affected by innovative coastal management perceive environmental justice? Do perceptions vary over time?
3) Which participatory appraisal methods enable constructive discussions with communities around coastal management innovation?
4) Which lessons can be drawn for improved engagement by communities with innovative coastal management approaches in the future?
The project provides a unique opportunity to study and train in deeply interdisciplinary, timely and policy-relevant social and ecological environmental research. The successful candidate will gain highly transferable research skills spanning the natural and social sciences (e.g. mixed methods, engaging with community and other stakeholders, analysing modelling data and developing novel methods for future scenarios), and will work with social and natural scientists in UEA’s world-leading Schools of International Development and Environmental Sciences, and with North Norfolk District Council.
Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a first or upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in natural or social sciences, environmental sciences or a related subject (e.g. geography, marine sciences).