Coastal zone planning

1.2 Coastal zone

Unlike lakesides and river sides, sea coasts enjoy a special status due to being a zone of transition between the land and sea, two great compositions in the world. This status has turned sea coasts into a resource that should be utilized in terms of certain uses and functions. These uses or functions include (Arslan, 1988):

– Providing industrial or urban settlement in ports through a connection between sea transport and land transport,

– Providing settlement areas to make use of marine products,

– Discharging urban and industrial waste in a cost-effective way,

– Providing as many ideal settlement areas as possible in order to benefit from the positive influences of the sea and beach on climate,

– Establishing favorable environments for agricultural uses,

– Providing favorable areas for tourism activities with their visual features and natural resources.

Ecological features and natural resources found in coastal zones, which penetrate from the coastline into the land to a certain degree, have an influence on human life and make it possible for them to benefit from coastal zones in different ways. Among the natural resources in coastal zones are (Arslan, 1988):

– Wetted areas and outfall bays,

– Alluvial pools, which resemble lagoons in shape, formed in coastal areas following tidal currents,

– Natural resources that must be protected for future scientific research, and educational, instructional and social activities,

– Arable areas and those areas that are suitable for forestry,

– Reserve areas,

– Mineral deposits,

– Beaches and dunes,

– Areas and waters that can be used for recreation,

– Visual features.

In addition to their natural structures and biological diversities, coasts are an ecosystem in which nature is connected to cultural texture and different types of flora/fauna communities with different characteristics are enabled to live, reproduce and grow. Establishing a strong link between land and sea resources, coastal ecosystems play a key role in regulating the life quality of living creatures. The circle in coastal ecosystems is closely intertwined with and depends heavily on the natural structure of coastal zones, their geological features, their micro-climatic impacts, their hydrologic features, their flora and fauna, their soil structure, human activities, cultural structures and the way human beings use water. Coastal zones are dynamic compositions that can be different depending on the quality and intensity of human activities on them. One of the most significant factors in landscape, population growth has rapidly caused human beings to diversify their demands on coastal resources, which, in turn, has led to an increase in use pressure on unit area.

Three fundamental living environments (water, air and land) today are irreversibly polluted and destroyed as a result of rapid structuring and industrialization, population growth, insufficient awareness of environment, uncontrolled human activities and poor land use planning decisions. Ecological balance is becoming more and more upset, which leads to environmental pressure on natural ecosystems about the continuance of biological environments and sustainability of resources. Their distinctive ecological properties and cultural values make coastal areas delicate landscapes (Lindgren, 2010; Scialabba, 1998; Cicin-Sain & Knetch, 1998). Besides, their high landscape value enables multi-faceted spatial solutions to be developed. An example of these solutions would be cultural use for touristic and recreational purposes (Marin et al., 2009; Scialabba, 1998). Coastal destruction is the most common form of natural deterioration. Fill areas that are formed in these regions cause destruction of the fauna through filling of the sea. Therefore, after the construction of fortifications, designs should be developed to be reestablish the balance between the sea and the flora, considering the natural species of that region (Cengiz et al., 2012). It is essential that ecological planning approaches based on the balance between protection and use should be developed in order to minimize environmental pressures on coastal zones and to sustain these delicate areas.

Accordingly, the guidelines to be considered in coastal planning should focus on (Clark,


– A high-quality protection of coastal zones,

– Defining high-quality zones to be protected,

– Defining and protecting delicate coastal habitats,

– Defining special areas and habitats that are suitable for development,

– Determining and controlling the level of pollution from point sources through surface flows,

– Determining the economic structure and environmental pressures that have an influence on the protection and development of coastal zones,

– Raising public awareness.