The Baltic Region

2022 Vol. 14 №1

Coastal Studies7

Sustainable development of coastal regions: geographical and geopolitical factors and limitations

Abstract

Having formed at the end of the 20th century, the concept of spatial development retains its relevance today. Yet, it is associated with a range of problems with its practical implementation and theoretical vindication, especially at a regional level. Attaining sustainable regional development, understood as a steady progress balanced across the economy, social industries and environmental protection, has been deemed impossible without identifying and considering regional development factors, such as geographical and economic-geographical position, environmental conditions and their geographical diversity, natural resource and their location, spatial features of the economy and the settlement structure. Coastal regions are affected by sundry other factors, such as the presence of a seacoast, viewed as a special resource, access to maritime transport and the availability of marine resources, including renewable ones, which are essential for sustainable development. The geopolitical situation of a region and the components of this situation are considered as geopolitical factors. Other limitations include extreme natural processes and events (large waves, tsunamis, typhoons etc.) The article aims to show that an integral geographical system or a combination thereof covering a region should be considered as the most appropriate object for assessment, planning and management of sustainable development, which is based on regional nature management including water and land resources. It is proposed that sustainable development criteria include economic, social and environmental metrics of regional development. Strategic marine and spatial planning and the monitoring of regional environmental management and development are identified as principal tools for attaining and maintaining sustainable development.

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The marine component of human geography studies in Post-Soviet Russia: key trends and development priorities

Abstract

Originated in the 1960s, the ‘marine branch’ of Soviet, and later Russian, economic and social geography contributed to the diversification of geographical science and expanded its scope. The new branch was a product of the rapid growth of the marine economy and the country’s military infrastructure and settlement system starting to gravitate towards the world ocean. This article uses bibliographical and scientometric materials to explore the factors, features and priorities of the development of Russian post-Soviet human geography of the world ocean. Special attention is paid to the path dependence in the evolution of this branch of geography (associated with the established professional community, the fundamental research themes and the basic concepts) and the emergence of new growth poles within the scope of marine human geography. Although this subdiscipline showed a high degree of resilience in the first years after the demise of the USSR, it became marginalised from the scientific mainstream. The interest in marine studies revived only in the early 2000s, gaining momentum after a decade of desolation. The renaissance was due to new transboundary marine research, analyses of the geopolitical and geoeconomic aspects of the marine economy and close attention given to coastal border areas (particularly the prospects and risks of their socio-economic development within the continent-ocean dichotomy). The marine focus of Russia’s geostrategy will generate steady demand for national human geography of the world ocean, including its inevitable humanities component. Another trend is the involvement of human social geography in cross-branch geographical synthesis. The study also identifies Russian research and publication centre of excellence in marine human geography.

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