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Ambiente & Sociedade

versão On-line ISSN 1809-4422


SCHMIDT, Luísa et al. Alterações climáticas, sociais e políticas em Portugal: processos de governança num litoral em risco. Ambient. soc. [online]. 2012, vol.15, n.1, pp.23-40. ISSN 1809-4422.

The Portuguese coast is one of the most threatened by coastal erosion in Europe, a phenomenon that will be intensified by climate change, due to sea level rise and changes in the wave system in the Atlantic coast. Along with this physical fragility, the coast has witnessed an accelerated urban and tourist pressure, which increased in Portugal since the 60's. This phenomenon creates social fragility, which in turn links with a political fragility resulting from the state's inability to deal with coastal management in a consistent way. The main response to coastal problems has been investing in heavy defence structures strongly supported by EU funds. However, this type of investment is increasingly compromised due to the economic downturn and the prospective reduction of European funds. Based on three case studies - in the North, Centre and South of Portugal - we will address the current social condition of risk perception in three unstable areas of the Portuguese coast, where urban centres with a strong touristic motivation were installed: Vagueira, Costa da Caparica and Quarteira. Despite having in common recent growth dynamics, these areas show different occupation processes and different levels of coastal erosion. The paper addresses these three places from the point of view of its administrative condition and the effects of public policies for coastal planning. Furthermore we propose a reflexion about the need for new institutional models of governance and sustainable coastal management.

Palavras-chave : Climate change; social change; coastal erosion; local communities.

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