Coastal territorial systems: opportunities, constraints, adaptation

Coastal territorial systems:
opportunities, constraints, adaptation


Coastal areas face major management, development, and conservation challenges. We study them following a territorial approach, considering both geographical space and society, which compose specific systems that we call coastal territorial systems (CTS). In many parts of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean, CTSs are subject to strong land, tourism, and residential pressures. These produce a specific spatial structuring of coastal areas, reflected first and foremost in settlement and land use patterns at various geographical scales (seaside vs. inland neighborhoods within a city, seaside vs. inland municipalities within a coastal region, etc.). This spatial structuring creates not only specificities and advantages, but also imbalances potentially leading to territorial dysfunctioning. To cope with this trend, public policies promote integrated approaches, with relative efficiency.  With climate change and associated coastal risks, CTSs are under even more pressure. Still attractive and targeted by development, they are increasingly vulnerable and subject to hazards and disasters. Therefore, the adaptation paradigm is promoted, but its implementation faces numerous obstacles (cost, resistance, lack of skills, etc.). Our group specializes in four main research areas on the coast:

  • urbanization, land and territorial dynamics
  • risks and adaptation to climate change
  • recreational practices: knowledge, management, and development
  • socio-ecological dynamics linked to coastal environment quality and amenities.

We are also working on a theoretical framework for the analysis of CTSs. Our aim is to show the relevance of a territorial approach to understanding and proposing solutions to the challenges faced by coastal areas, while implementing an approach that articulates individual and collective dimensions in the adaptation process.