A Path to Spatial Justice
Edited by Shelley Egoz, Karsten Jørgensen and Deni Ruggeri
Chapter 5: Shatter-zone democracy? What rising sea levels portend for future governance
As global sea levels rise in response to climate change, coastal inhabitants will vacate their communities and seek security inland, with implications for state coherence and governance. Recent work suggests accelerated sea level changes beyond standard predictions, with tumultuous consequences. The present research addresses the question: will ‘future-proofing’ interventions by governments facing crowded landscapes alter democracy as we know it? In the coming century, in one scenario, a subdued but sustained tsunami will produce a coastal surge zone, where seawaters and people are on the move. This contrasts with the interior shatter zone, inland destinations where up to ten per cent of the world population will relocate. Democracy may become problematic in shatter zones not only because of competition for space and resources, but because of significant barriers to entry arrayed against resettlement. Should resulting disorder evoke soft martial law and evermore dirigist decision-making across landscapes, shatter zones will be proving grounds for new democracies, or perhaps post-democracies.
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