This reading list is concerned with coastal environments as public space through an interdisciplinary lens. A consideration of the social construction of coastal environments (Corbin 1994) and the shifting conceptualizations that people have with these spaces (Sharp 2002) highlights the variety of interpretations by which people have considered the relationships between people in these environments. This work also considers the biological aspects of coastal environments (Maun 2009) as well as the issues posed by urban development in these places (Nordstrom 2004).
This reading list is focused on oceanfront beaches as they are often the focus of much social science research. Beaches specifically have been understood to be relevant as public spaces where shifting racial tensions are played out (Durrheim & Dixon 2001), as well as places of social importance (Mccaffrey 2009), and third-spaces where resistance is possible (Junka 2006).
This work gains increasing significance as coastal communities continue to have some of the most tangible experiences of environmental changes due to our changing climate. As sea levels rise and storms become stronger due to climate change, coastal communities will be required to engage in decision-making processes about how to respond and recover. This literature considers the social use and relationships between people and coastal environments that may provide critical insights for coastal policy and practice. These readings may be of interest to social science or urban studies researchers or graduate or advanced undergraduates in these fields, to policy makers or coastal managers, or to anyone thinking about people and the coast.