Values of amenities in coastal zones

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Any policy of coastal zone protection and land use planning would benefit from a better idea of the benefits and costs associated with different patterns of land use. The pressure on the coasts is coming from individuals who derive benefits from living near the sea. Yet the same actions are causing external costs in the form of reduced visual benefits and reduced access to others who enjoyed these environmental services before. The aim of this section is to report on research that has valued such benefits and costs.

There are a few studies available of the value of coastal landscapes. Here we divide them into those that value a landscape for households that own and occupy or households or hotels that rent property with a sea view, and those that relate to the value of a landscape from individuals who are not occupiers of property on the coast. The latter are divided into people that visit the coast or live in coastal areas but not in close proximity to the sea, and people that want to see the coast preserved but do not visit the coast (the so-called non-use values). Often these two sets of values are in conflict: for owners to capture the value of a sea view means detracting from the value those visitors may get from access to a sea view or access to a beach or may wish to see it preserved for its own sake. The next section reports on how these conflicting values compare and uses them to assess policy options.

This article is part of the case study on urbanization in Mediterranean coastal zones. Return to the main article

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