Raise the dikes and re-use the past? Methodologies for studying climate adaptation planning as heritage practice

Linde Egberts*, Svava Riesto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Across Europe, coasts are drastically being changed to adapt to relative sea level rise, which will influence coastal landscapes and heritage in many ways. In this paper, we introduce a methodological starting point for analysing the ways in which landscape architects and spatial planners engage with coastal landscapes and coastal heritage in the context of current climate adaptation projects. We test these methodologies by applying them to the Marconi dike strengthening project in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. This city’s dike fortification is an interesting case, as it offers many opportunities for re-designing heritage. The city borders the Wadden Sea area, a tidal mudflat area protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and geological heritage values. The area also consists of a rich cultural landscape, which is overlooked in the public image and in local policy. We conclude that landscape architects and planners should strengthen not only the dike, but also the interpretation of the past that dominates policy and political debates in the area. We also find that the existing heritage production model of Ashworth and Tunbridge can provide some useful structure for understanding and contextualizing spatial planning for climate change as a way of doing heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalMaritime Studies
Issue number3
Early online date17 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the editors of the special issue, in particular Cormac Walsh and Martin D?ring, for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of this article. We would also like to thank Bert Brouwenstijn for reproducing the figures by Ashworth and Tunbridge (1997) and Marilena Mela for making a map of the study area.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Climate adaptation
  • Cultural heritage
  • Landscape architecture
  • Methodology
  • Natural heritage
  • Spatial planning


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