The future of coastal landscapes
: Perceptions and conflicts on the west coast of Ireland

  • Maria Pafi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Blue Growth opens new frontiers for economic development but with little consideration about how the strategy’s contradictions will affect coastal communities and their landscapes. Concerns about BG projects have been mainly represented in technical terms that address the loss of coastal views related to specific marine uses (such as wind and fish farms), yet complex relationships between people and coastal landscapes remain invisible. Understanding these relationships from a community and tourist perspective and how BG affects them is key for resisting hegemonic BG and making its deployment less conflictual. This thesis conceptualises coastal landscape as triadic space switching between perceived, conceived and lived dimensions, and uses a mixed methods approach with two coastal communities and tourists on the west coast of Ireland to understand how contestation occurs in places faced with multiple Blue Growth pressures. The thesis finds that landscape change is perceived as economic and policy-induced change, with a knock-on effect for assets and resources embedded in the coast. It also highlights significant crossovers between community and tourist experiences that challenges conceptual insider-outsider challenges and points to the transformative potential of lived space, not as a descriptor of a different typology of coastal landscape, but rather as a resource to understand how communities affected by multiple pressures can understand their options, capacity to resist and what their goal might be for the future of the coast.

Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsMarine Institute
SupervisorWesley Flannery (Supervisor) & Brendan Murtagh (Supervisor)


  • Marine governance
  • coastal landscapes
  • blue growth
  • contestation
  • coastal communities
  • Lefebvre
  • spatial triad

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