Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas

Past projects

BaltSeaPlan Vision 2030

BaltSeaPlan logo

Within the project BaltSeaPlan (2009-2012) the department Human Dimensions of Coastal Areas had been contracted to support the development of a long-term vision for Maritime Spatial Planning in the Baltic. A preparatory report “Towards a Common Spatial Vision: Implications of the international and national policy context for Baltic Sea space and MSP” (BaltSeaPlan Report No. 8) developed the context for the vision. The resulting “BaltSeaPlan Vision 2030 - Towards the sustainable planning of the Baltic Sea space” is based on Pan-Baltic thinking, considering the whole Baltic Sea ecosystem and the whole Baltic Sea as one planning space. It identifies 4 topics that need to be addressed jointly as well as principles for cooperation and planning in a trans-national setting. mehr

At home amongst wind turbines – The Dutch Wadden Sea coast from the populations point of view

area of enquiry

Nature and society are interconnected systems. It is important to understand values and attitudes of individual people, in order to understand the relationship of dwellers and nature. Perception of the coast, the region where people live, was surveyed in different studies along the German Wadden Sea coast. The present study is intended as the Dutch extension to these and explores the awareness of people with respect to space and place.

Study "At home amongst wind turbines" (HZG-Report 2013-7) (German) (8,0 MB)

Wadden Sea survey on cultural identity in Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands

Cultural Identity Study

The survey, initiated by Prof. Ratter, has been conducted in cooperation with the Dutch foundation WaddenArt in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands. Between July and December 2012 residents of the Wadden Sea area were interviewed about their cultural identity.
The results of the survey were published in November 2013 and can be downloaded here.

Cultural Identity in the Wadden Sea Region of Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands (1,5 MB)

Tide-Elbe – people's perception on culture, nature and economics in this region


The Department of Human Dimensions in Coastal Areas at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG) asked in a survey about challenges and chances for an integrated management of the Tide-Elbe region. The study has been conducted on behalf of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) and showed that people are interested in enhanced nature conservation for the Elbe region but hesitate to participate in planning processes.

Further infomation can be found here (German).

KnowSeas - Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe's Seas


The overall objective of the project is: a comprehensive scientific knowledge base and practical guidance for the application of the Ecosystem Approach to the sustainable development of Europe’s regional seas. This will increase the evidence base available for decision makers and facilitate the practical implementation of the Ecosystem Approach, currently seen by some stakeholders as confusing and nebulous.


Coastal Futures

Logo Coastalfutures

The project cluster "Zukunft Kueste – Coastal Futures" works towards integrated assessment for coastal changes. Based on the notion of socio-ecological systems, the application of the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) approach and the concept of ecosystem services, the cluster focuses on risks and opportunities associated with offshore wind farms in the German North Sea as an example for sea use change. The cluster with several work packages and project partners is led and coordinated by HZG. Specifically, HZG research within the cluster looks at societal and socio-economic impacts of offshore wind energy in the context of spatial planning.

Coastal Futures

Sense of place, environment and risk at the German North Sea coast


In the summer of 2008 the Wadden Sea Study 2008 was conducted in 22 communities of the North Sea coast in the Länder Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. Issues were regional identity, the natural environment as well as the perception of natural hazards.

Results are unfortunately only in German but can be downloaded here:

North Sea survey (German) (1,9 MB)