Handbook on Resilience of Socio-Technical Systems
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Handbook on Resilience of Socio-Technical Systems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Stefan Goessling-Reisemann

The goal to improve the resilience of social systems – communities and their economies – is increasingly adopted by decision makers. This unique and comprehensive Handbook focuses on the interdependencies of these social systems and the technologies that support them. Special attention is given to the ways in which resilience is conceptualized by different disciplines, how resilience may be assessed, and how resilience strategies are implemented. Case illustrations are presented throughout to aid understanding.
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Chapter 14: Ecological design for urban coastal resilience

Ashley Cryan, Brian Helmuth and Steven Scyphers


Often implemented in the context of coastal resilience and in response to sea-level rise, urban shorelines are being armored at ever-increasing rates on coastlines worldwide. Engineered structures (that is, seawalls, bulkheads and revetments) are designed to mitigate risks from flooding and storm surge. While shoreline armoring can serve as an effective means of protecting people, property and infrastructure from damage, engineered ‘gray’ solutions often have unintended and cascading negative consequences to coupled human–natural ecosystems, including the coastal communities they are designed to benefit. For instance, gray infrastructure can actively degrade the marine environment by reducing habitat heterogeneity and biodiversity, which significantly dampens the plethora of ecosystem services humans receive from healthy coastal habitats. In some cases, the unintended negative consequences of shoreline armoring can be more severe in magnitude than the problems they are designed to solve.

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