Sink or Swim: Using GIS to create an index of Coastal Community Vitality
Item statusRestricted Access
In their 2003 report “The Seaside Economy”, Fothergill & Beatty describe seaside towns as “the least understood of Britain’s ‘problem’ areas.” Prior to this analysis, little attention had been paid to the regions in contrast to the weight of analysis undertaken on the decline of bedrock industry in single-industry areas such as ex-mining and steel communities. By 2015, average per capita GVA in coastal communities was 26% lower than inland areas (Corfe, 2017) and low pay, above-par unemployment and poor educational attainments are a long-standing feature of many locales. Indices of Multiple Deprivation have helped focus attention, in 2015 revealing that 15 out of the 20 most deprived English datazones were in coastal communities (DCLG, 2015). However, research also highlights the importance of a wider range of environmental and social factors in terms of the specific strengths and vulnerabilities of coastal locales. Using a matrix of data targeted to encompass the key considerations of these communities, an index of Coastal Community vitality is constructed with the aim of providing a more accurate reflection of the health of Scottish coastal districts. Initial steps look promising but further refinement is required, in particular the inclusion of an environmental domain.