21 Feb 2020 – A call for action for coastal cities as “hope spots” for environmentally responsible and socially progressive city living and critically important places to prioritize regenerative actions for improved planetary health. This article presents a holistic concept of Ocean Cities and a global Call for Urgent Action to citizens and leadership of all coastal cities. The authors offer suggestions for transformative ideas, feelings and actions that if enacted collectively would transform a coastal city, no matter where in the world, into an Ocean City with greater prospects for enduring community wellbeing.
The Ocean City Pledge was co-created with Professor Tim Beatley of the Biophilic Cities Network and refined through collective thinking during aworkshop at The Nature of Cities Summit in Paris (June 2019) where delegates from twelve countries discussed three key questions:
- How can we enable healthier coastal cities through blue city plans, practices and policies?
- How can we better connect cities and the sea for inclusive wellbeing and healthy oceans?
- What do we want the future relationship between coastal cities and the ocean to look and feel like?
The synthesis of this dialogue is presented here and proposes that transformation of coastal cities into Ocean Cities along a restorative blue urban pathway to healthier, happier and sustainable city living has tremendous benefits for the future of the global ocean and the wellbeing of humankind. Longer-term holistic thinking is key. Before the climate crisis, city planning rarely considered futures beyond 25 years. This is changing. It is now increasingly acknowledged that active shaping of future trajectories by city leadership fosters external confidence in a city’s management of its assets and risks making it more attractive to businesses and promoting resilience. Exploration of longterm aspirations and policy options also brings fresh perspectives on unique local assets generating new marketing opportunities. The authors recognize that becoming an Ocean City has potential economic value in destination branding, but taking the blue urban pathway towards an Ocean City offers enduring benefits that flow far deeper into civic life than destination branding alone.