More than half of the world’s population lives in coastal areas resulting in environmental degradation of many coastal environments. Coastal populations are continuing to increase resulting in new urban development. These populations face threats due to rising sea levels, hurricanes, coastal storms, tsunamis and coastal erosion. In order to reduce and mitigate damage to the environment and coastal communities, urban development in coastal areas needs to be accomplished in a sustainable manner.
Earth observations are increasingly being used in urban development work. Earth observations supply information that is required for proper management of coastal resources and community resiliency to environmental pressures, allowing for sustainable coastal urban development.
Ecological impacts of coastal development
Urban development in coastal areas can cause substantial detrimental impacts to near shore ecosystems including coral reefs, wetlands and mangroves. These ecosystems are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable on the planet and need to be protected and properly managed for the health of the environment and protection of coastal populations. Consistent monitoring of coastal areas is required to reduce ecological impacts of new coastal development and for the proper management of existing urban areas.
Socioeconomic impacts of coastal development
Urban developments in the coastal zone area are at risk from sea level rise, coastal erosion, tsunamis and coastal storms. Ecosystem and infrastructure resilience in these communities is crucial for the socioeconomic stability of these regions. Research into coastal resilience relies on ocean and coastal observations and provides information to developers and local managers that support the sustainable development of the coastal zone.