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Emergent relationships between coastal risk and coastal protection


School of Geography

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Dr E Lazarus , Prof R. Nicholls No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

With coastal infrastructure systems (i.e., residential development, transportation networks, and hazard defences) increasingly exposed to potential storm damage, dependence on effective coastal management is intensifying. Paradoxically, historical patterns along developed coastlines (and in a variety of other hazard zones) suggest a counterproductive, if unintentional, relationship between development and hazard defences, in which protection indirectly encourages development in especially vulnerable areas. Research into how development and hazard defence have co-evolved in space and time is essential to making effective policy strategies for reducing coastal risk – and, in the UK, is especially relevant to upcoming reviews of Shoreline Management Plans.
This project will examine historical patterns and change in coastal zone development, hazard defence, and risk-mitigation policy around the UK, from the late 19th century to the present. Quantifying how patterns of development and coastal protection have changed relative to each other, and linking those changes to government policy actions, will support future efforts to ensure that future strategies for coastal management address changing profiles of coastal risk. Using housing and census data from the Office of National Statistics, we will quantify the number, density, and size of individual coastal properties, and relate those development patterns to corresponding patterns of defences. This comparative dataset will involve extracting multiple layers of information from historical and current maps, aerial imagery, and existing geospatial archives.
The student selected for this studentship will gain experience with a variety of research methods (e.g., archival synthesis, GIS/remote-sensing) and analytical techniques (geospatial processing, time series analysis); build skills in writing and presentation; work as part of a vibrant, cross-disciplinary research group; and develop an international professional network of collaborators and colleagues. The student will be based in the University of Southampton’s Geography & Environment department, working in close collaboration with the Coastal Engineering group and with technical experts in GIS/remote-sensing at the Channel Coast Observatory and GeoData (both at Southampton). The student will also take GeoData’s professionally accredited development courses in geospatial processing.
We encourage applications from enthusiastic candidates with strong analytical skills in GIS and remote sensing. Facility with Python a plus. Master’s-level experience is preferred (but not necessarily required), along with a strong academic record. A background in physical geography is invited but not required.

Funding Notes

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/smmi/students/smmi-funding.page


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