Emerging solutions to return nature to the urban ocean

Laura Airoldi, Michael W. Beck, Louise B. Firth, Ana B. Bugnot, Peter D. Steinberg, Katherine A. Dafforn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Urban and periurban ocean developments impact 1.5% of the global exclusive economic zones, and the demand for ocean space and resources is increasing. As we strive for a more sustainable future, it is imperative that we better design, manage, and conserve urban ocean spaces for both humans and nature. We identify three key objectives for more sustainable urban oceans: reduction of urban pressures, protection and restoration of ocean ecosystems, and support of critical ecosystem services. We describe an array of emerging evidence-based approaches, including greening gray infrastructure, restoring habitats, and developing biotechnologies. We then explore new economic instruments and incentives for supporting these new approaches and evaluate their feasibility in delivering these objectives. Several of these tools have the potential to help bring nature back to the urban ocean while also addressing some of the critical needs of urban societies, such as climate adaptation, seafood production, clean water, and recreation, providing both human and environmental benefits in some of our most impacted ocean spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-477
Number of pages33
JournalAnnual Review of Marine Science
Early online date31 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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