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Glaeser, B.. Social Science Responses to New Challenges for the Coast. In: Schernewski, G., Dolch, T. (eds.). Geographie der Meere und Küsten. Coastline Reports (1), pp. 201-211. 2004.


New developments in German marine and coastal zones present new challenges to their use. Offshore wind energy generation, marine protected areas, or polyculture represent a combination of uses and signify profound change. The likely results of this change will undoubtedly include an intensification of land-sea interactions as well as the emergence of new conflicts over coastal use, for instance, wind farming versus fisheries versus shipping. Spatial planning and the administrative integration of land and sea have become crucial components of national ICZM strategy. Antagonistic interests and rival stakes must be adjudicated/resolved to achieve balanced, satisfactory, and fair use of coastal resources. To this end, spatial planning becomes an important instrument of mediation between the various coastal stakeholders, the actors in the coastal society and the coastal/marine environment. In order to be effective, spatial planning decisions must be based on  accurate analysis of developments, coastal actors, and their interchanges. In addition to the ecological and economic impacts, the social impacts should be given particular attention as the key to directing future trends. This threefold challenge has been taken up by two large, joint research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF). These projects focus on the North Sea (Schleswig-Holstein west coast) and the Baltic Sea (Oder/Odra Delta) respectively. Within the framework of international ICZM requirements, this contribution highlights social science research strategies that will be applied in the context of these projects.

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