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Coastal Nature Lab

Using Locally Sourced Materials for the Creation of Community-Involved Coastal Protection

This project is a collaboration between Lancaster University (Dr Serena Pollastri and Dr Suzana Ilic) and Dr Enrico Tubaldi, Dr Keith Torrance, and Dr Gloria Castro Quintero from the University of Strathclyde


The Coastal Nature Lab investigates the benefits and viability of using locally sourced natural materials in the design of locally relevant interventions for coastal protection that are co-created with local communities. Specifically, the aim of this pilot project is to develop an initial understanding of materials, processes, and designs for sediment trapping and stabilisation. To do so, we employ a Research through Design methodology, in which knowledge is generated through a reflective and iterative design practice, conducted in collaboration with experts in crafts, community groups, and the engineering team and policymakers at Lancaster City Council (LCC), our project partner.

The findings from the project will be published as a Pattern Book, which will be made available online. The format draws from the weaving industry practice of compiling organised catalogues of combinations of motifs and colours, but also from the open design practice of sharing instructions to encourage community self-building practices. It will be divided into three main sections of indexed materials, processes, and designs. Each item in the book will be described for its main characteristics, and for its viability in interventions aimed at promoting sediment retention and accretion, buffering, and scour protection.