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Unit 1 Section D - Coastal areas are a valuable resource

Page history last edited by K J Hutchinson 12 years, 3 months ago

Lesson 1 - How are coastal areas used? A case study of Southampton


Learning objectives:

- to be able to explain why coastal areas attract so many businesses and people

- to be able to describe the range of human activities found in the Southampton area

- to be able to explain why such a range of activities were attracted to the Southampton area


The map below shows the distribution of the world's millionaire cities (cities with over a million residents) in 2006. Many of these cities are at the coast. In fact, 8 of the world's largest cities (by population) are coastal. More than 4 billion people live at the coast, and this figure is expected to rise to 5.5 million by 2020. So why do so many people live at the coast?




Coastal areas can be a very good location for industry and business where they have a port. Shipping can then be used for importing or exporting goods, allowing large quantities to be moved around in a fairly low-cost mannner. Deep harbours which allow access to even the largest vessels are very valuable for industry. If large quantities of flat land are available nearby, they are often used for warehousing to store imports/exports.




Coastal areas attract a wide range of industry and businesses and they also offer plenty of opportunities for recreational activities. As a result, they attract lots of businesses and people. If there are a range of employment opportunities in an area, it will attract workers. These workers then need other services to be provided to support their lifestyles (eg. people working in an oil refinery may want to go swimming in a local pool or use a gym; they need to buy their groceries; they may wish to eat out in restaurants, or drink in bars; they will need to buy clothes and other items etc etc) and so new businesses open to cater for them. These also need people to work in them, and these people also need shops, entertainment and services to be provided for them. As a result, the area grows. This effect is known as the positive multiplier effect.


We live in an incresingly affluent society and more and more people are now starting to buy second homes. Many of these are at the coast and this has an impact on the development of coastal areas and the kind of services that they offer. The pleasant climate and surroundings found in many locations are a real attraction for holidaymakers, which also fuels development in these areas. In addition, coastal areas have traditionally been very popular locations for people to retire to. Once a place has a reputation as offering a good quality of life for elderly residents, it will attract more of these people and the services that they need will flourish. This then boosts the area's reputation as a reitirement location still further, attracting even more people to retire to the coast!





Coastal areas can also offer plenty of opportunity for recreational uses, such as sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sea kayaking, rambling, birdwatching etc. As a result, they attract a lot of holidaymakers. Caravan and camping sites, hotels and B+Bs often thrive in coastal areas as a result.


How is the area around Southampton used?


The Port of Southampton is crucial to British Industry. 7% of all UK trade and 50% of our trade with the Middle and Far East goes through the Port of Southampton. Southampton Water has a very deep harbour, which is sheltered yet allows huge container ships to dock safely. There are good rail links from Southampton to the rest of the UK for easy onward movement of imports. Southampton is the second largest container facility in the UK and has a huge vehicle shipment terminal that handles over 750,000 vehicles a year. There are also 3 cruise terminals that handle over 200 ships per year.


The ExxonMobil oil refinery at Southampton is the largest oil refinery in the UK. It handles over 2000 ships  ayear, carrying 25 million tonnes of oil. Over 3000 people work at the refinery so it is a major employer in the Southampton area. The Fawley chemical plant is another major employer. It is one of the largest chemical plants in Europe, producing paints and rubber. The large, flat site next to the deep water is ideal for storing and moving raw materials as well as finished products.


Recreational activities in the local area include those offered at the Calshot Activity Centre (which offers a wide range of water-based activities - see link below) and the Lepe Country Park. There is also a nature reserve nearby at Keyhaven Marshes. This is run by the Hampshire WIldlife Trust. The Ocean Village Marina on the River Itchen attracts a large number of sailing enthusiasts and the nearby internationally-famous sailing resorts at Lymington and Cowes also offer sailing clubs and marinas. The local rivers attract a wide vareity of wildlife, and consequently birdwatchers and ramblers.


The city of Southampton is one of the largest cities in the south of England and it hosts the regional shopping centre, WestQuay. There is also a major university which is world-renowned for research into the marine environment.


The map below shows some of these human activities in the Southampton area.


View Southampton - a multi-use coastal area in a larger map


Useful weblinks:

RSPB information about Lymington-Keyhaven Marshes

Calshot Activities Centre

Lepe Country Park

ExxonMobil's Fawley Chemical Plant

Port of Southampton maps

Port of Southampton webcam


Lesson 2 - What is happening in Dubai?


Learning objectives:

- to recognise that the coast is an important resource for economic development

- to be able to define the terms 'infrastructure' and 'growth pole'

- to know how Dubai has developed, and to consider what the future might hold for Dubai


Dubai is one of the emirates that together make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is in the Middle East. Dubai itself lies on the north-west coast of the UAE, between Ajman and Mina' Jabal Ali.




Dubai is one of the fastest-growing places in the world. The photo below shows how one street changed in the 13 years between 1990 and 2003. Changes like this have huge impacts on the use of resources in the area. Dubai is naturally a desert area - building on this scale requires huge amounts of resources to be brought into the region. 



The most expensive coastal development project in the world ever is currently taking place in Dubai. It includes builkding 3 plam-shaped islands, along with another 300 islands in te shape of the world. An artist's impression of the final development is shown below.



The total length of the coastal front will incease by 400 km by the time the project is finshed!


The waterfront development in Dubai is a growth pole - an area designated by the local government as a zone for business development. The world's first 6* hotel has been built here and tourism figures are expected to have doubled in the ten years between 200-2010 from 3,900,000 visitors per year to 8,400,000. There are huge shopping malls, a ski-dome, the world's first air-conditioned beach, golf courses, hotels, themes parks, exhibition centres, swimming pools and financial centres. Dubailand - 24 theme parks and shopping malls - is under construction.


The government of the UAE have had to spend a huge amount on improving the infrastructure of the area in order to attract private developers. The Dubai economy used to be based on oil - but the oil is running out so they need to develop alternative industries instead. The government believe that the tourist industry has a huge potential. The UAE government sees the Dubai coast as an excellent location for the development of a range of business opportunities that are based largely around tourism. Dubai is a tax-free haven, making it very attractive to shoppers!


Infrastructure means the network of links (including transportation and services such as schools, roads, hospitals, airports, ports, electricity supplies, water supplies, sewage treatment etc) needed for a place to develop. Without the infrastructure in place, it is very difficult for a place to develop as individual businesses won't be able to afford to put this netwrok of links into place. The government has therefore invested heavily to ensure that the infrastructure is in place so that Dubai can expand.


Not everyone is a 'winner' in Dubai's expansion. There are social, economic and environmental effects of growth both on the local area and the world as a whole. Many workers in the construction industry have been paid very low wages to work in Dubai, and they do not have job security. Working conditions can be harsh, with little regard for health and safety of the workforce. The building materials all have to be brought into Dubai and this has a huge environmental impact. Some people have argued that many of the developments are inappropriate in a desert - do we really need to have a snowdome and an air-conditioned beach?


Useful weblinks:

The official Dubailand website

Government of Dubai official tourism website

The Palm Trilogy

The cost of Dubai's growth - Channel 4 report

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