NorthSEAfaring: Maritime Heritage + Spatial Planning

Between 2005-2007 the Landscape Interface Studio team based in the School of Architecture + Landscape at Kingston University, London supported the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), ‘NorthSEAfaring’ project . During the course of the project,  in excess of 100 landscape architecture students and staff produced more than 200 design proposals developed through port appraisal visits, consultation with local partners, stake holders and specialist agencies.

the project

Interreg IIIB ‘NorthSEAfaring’ project defined creative spatial planning scenarios that anticipated and reflected the rich maritime heritage of the North Sea.


 project definitions

  • spatial planning – the description of future qualities of open space, in docks and at the coast, inclusive of infrastructure, water, and all occupying activities.
  • maritime heritage – historic, current and speculative identity specific to the sea and coast, represented by physical, social and cultural artefacts and narratives.


Lowestoft proposal

project context

  • environmental – global resources and rising sea levels
  • economic – changing global trade, service and industry
  • social – aging populations and evolving demographics
  • cultural – threats to local distinctiveness


Dundee proposal

 project aims

  • to structure a comparative framework for identity, threats and solutions generated between partners
  • to develop integrated guidelines for distinctive spatial planning and maritime heritage; and project exemplar solutions
  • trans-national communication to maximise access, appropriation and testing by the North Sea community and global maritime landscapes.


Colchester proposal

 the process

Landscape Interface Studio – a spatial planning, landscape and urbanism, practice, teaching and research unit at Kingston University – acted as consultant to the NorthSEAfaring project – initiating, developing and working with Colchester Borough Council, lead partner, and all other 7 project partners.   The experience and capacity of the Interface Studio at Kingston University integrated staff-student teams which studied each port, allowing for extensive on-site and remote interrogation, consultation with local partners, stakeholders and specialist agencies.  Preliminary proposals were added to by public and professional consultation and critical review to extend and refine the ambition.

To support the project outputs, Landscape Interface Studio was asked to:

  • structure a comparative framework of analysis
  • develop integrated guidelines and exemplar solutions
  • facilitate trans-national communication 


 Partner meetings and conferences facilitated evolution:

  • The spatial planning workshop in Haarlem, North Holland engaged partners in scoping spatial planning strategies.
  • The maritime heritage conference in March 2006 clarified the definition and aspirations for individual and collective maritime heritage.
  • The Aviemore Joint Annual meeting of the North Sea programme June 2006 provided the opportunity to exhibit the work achieved across the partner sites within the framework  of identity threats and solutions at scales ranging from the immediate material scale to the transnational context of NorthSEAfaring, for representation to the wider North Sea project community.
  • Sample projects exhibited in Aviemore revealed the potential for spatial planning solutions that optimise and celebrate port specific maritime heritage
  • Interreg IIIB North Sea Region – Joint Annual Conference 2007, Brunstad, Norway.  Landscape Interface Studio successfully bids for additional EU funding to develop and produce an exhibition of outputs from the NorthSeaFaring project.  The exhibition tours across Europe.


 Landscape Interface Studio’s involvement offered the opportunity for:

  • the sharing of information and ideas
  • the testing of graphic representation for wide dissemination
  • the future inclusion of new ports  

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