Adaptive Approach: Leveraging A Creative Management Methodology for Coastal Resilience on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Robins, Adrian, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Putalik, Erin, Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

The Eastern Shore of Virginia faces an existential threat to its culture, communities (of all species), economies, and landscape. This threat comes not from the up-to-18’ of projected sea level rise over the next five generations (NOAA), but from the consequences of current “solutions” of retreat, displacement, and proceeding business-as-usual. This thesis project proposes that long-term resilience is only possible by embracing the uncertainty and inevitability of change, engaging with rural perspectives and practices, and applying normative practices of landscape architecture to create responsive economies, hydrologies, and topographies.

Through a vision for Virginia’s Eastern Shore inspired by a creative management methodology, I propose dynamic and adaptive spatiotemporal reorganization of tidal projections through small-scale, low-cost landscape design guidelines inspired and co-produced by long-term farmers and landowners. I leverage and adapt existing techniques, knowledge, and land-based practices such as ditch filling, tree felling, and dredge placement to guide the aeolian, fluvial, and tidal forces that build, erode, and reshape the land at larger scales of time and space. The Eastern Shore, like any rural coastal community, already has the forms, forces, and practices required to adapt to coastal change. Landscape architecture provides the projective and responsive approach required to realize this vision.

MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Coastal resilience, Eastern Shore, Creative management, Rural design
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