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Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Village of Korea: Rehabilitation of Water-Friendly Environments as Healthy Habitats and Tourism Resources

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  • Biology
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


The global warming due to the enhanced greenhouse effect seemed to be accelerated in the 21st century. The projected warning will increase the sea level rise of ocean which have large adverse effects such as coastal lowland inundation, wetland displacement, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion into estuaries and freshwater aquifers, altered tidal range in rivers and bays, change in tide and wave patterns, change in sedimentation on the coastal zone in which rich natural ecosystem is exhibited and active socioeconomic system has been already occurred. Coastal cities worldwide are vulnerable to climate change. With sea levels continuing to rise, more than 308 points are expected to be affected by coastal erosion in Korea. Number of the cities, counties and districts located in coastal area is 78, which corresponds to 33.6% of total number of the country. The population in these areas is 12million, about 27.2% of total population. For the 1-m sea level rise scenario with high tide and storm surge, the maximum inundation areas appear to be 2,643 km², which is about 1.2% of total area of the Korean Peninsula. The population in the risk areas of inundation is 1.255million, about 2.6% of total population. Except this kind of critical risk, coastal areas are under various changes such as reconstruction for high-rise residential areas after losing attraction as a tourism resource with the decreasing sandy area. Demographic and economic shrinkage is also predicted and observed in coastal area, where the impacts of sea level rise such as coastal lowland inundation has been shown. Impacts of Sea level rise on coastal village can be divided into two categories; which are natural environmental effects such as coastal lowland inundation, coastal erosion, change in tide and wave patterns and socioeconomic effects such as industrial infrastructure facilities inundation, fishery industry removal, and the threat to tourism. These two effects cause secondary effects; 1) Asset (real estate, buildings) Deflation which is resulted from negative impression as a tourism resource, 2) Total collapse of economy which is resulted from industry infrastructure removal. The secondary effects lead to declining population from the bad condition of job market, and finally result in the vulnerability to human habitat. To improve this negative situation, however, variety of precautions and responses are examined and implemented for realization of safe, open-refreshing, and eco-friendly coast to bring a natural symbiosis in coastal area; moreover water-friendly environment as healthy habitats and tourism resources for revitalization of neighborhood. Therefore, the paper tries to find an appropriate design strategy for revitalization of waterfriendly environment corresponding to the vulnerability of the sea level rise and preventing the negative impacts. For this, the paper concentrates on demographic/economic impacts on the coastal neighborhood caused by natural, environmental, and socioeconomic risk by searching out the relation how global change, especially climate change, affects the local people’s life and the natural/built/social environment and interrelations between them. The second part of the study analyses and categorizes the precaution and responses for this change into three groups: managed retreat, accommodation, protection. In this part, this study concentrates on the example of Pohang City which has been building a governance system with local people and POSCO, the local co-operation trying to solve the problem of Song-do beach. Song- do beach used to be one of the best beaches in Korea with beautiful sandy area and pine trees from 1970s. Pohang City has been working on the recovery project for Song-do beach where has been closed because of decreasing sandy area from sea level rise, typhoon and other reasons. Finally, this paper suggests that appropriate adaptation of design strategies for safe, natural-symbiosis, and user-friendly water front space should be developed with case studies dealing with the process of information and awareness, planning and design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation in continuity and long-term period.

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