Urbanisation Processes in Ocean Space: North Sea case-study

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The sea as a realm within which specific processes of extended urbanization are unfolding- processes which are unfamiliar in urban terms and which cannot be described using inherited understandings. Research shows that almost no part of the global ocean is free of human impact.
I argue firstly that ocean space is therefore exemplary of the condition of the end of the wilderness- identified by the theory of planetary urbanization as one of the four most marked socio- spatial transformations of the last 30 years.
And secondly, that seascapes have been operationalized for productive purposes on a vast scale- systems of energy extraction, production, distribution, maritime transport and primary sectors of fisheries, have all intensified and expanded across, through and within ocean space.
This intensification has formed specific types of porous, distended urbanized territories which are hard to decipher yet firmly anchored in rigid territorial frameworks of management and control, some of which are highly abstract- for example this petroleum extraction grid in the Barents Sea, as well as the recent demarcation of exclusive economic offshore zones out to a distance of 200 nautical miles under UNCLOS- the United Nations Law of the Sea. My current research as a Marie Curie Fellow at the TU Delft focuses on emerging formats of extended urbanization manifest in the North Sea – which I claim are crystalizing into a new generation of sea-borne socio-economic spaces. An analysis of the specific physical & cultural characteristics of the North Sea should enable us to formulate some hypothesies about this development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 16 Jan 2018
EventTerritories of Extended Urbanisation Conference - Future Cities Laboratory (ETHZ), , Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 16 Jan 201816 Jan 2018


ConferenceTerritories of Extended Urbanisation Conference


  • extended urbanisation, landings, North Sea, operationalisation, Humber Estuary, Norwegian continental shelf

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