Date of Award
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
This thesis examines how issues related to the increasing erosion and inundation of coastal wetlands across New England due to sea-level rise and more frequent storms threaten public and private property as well as valuable natural resources in these important coastal ecosystems. Current coastal barrier solutions are often constructed with concrete hard revetments, which have limited effectiveness, and may exacerbate erosion. Furthermore, these solutions are also not able to support cradle-to-cradle design approaches.
In studying these issues and how they affect marine and coastal life, including human and non-human coastal communities, this thesis investigates alternatives to conventional concrete solutions. Material studies were conducted systematically to replace sand with other aggregates in the making of concrete, such as locally sourced seashells and other available coastal debris. The resulting eco-concrete mixes, developed with low-tech methods and techniques, may offer complimentary alternatives to the existing barrier protection systems by introducing flexibility, porosity, and weathering as fundamental qualities to host diversity, while still allowing for the barriers to offering protection to land from erosion. The thesis’ main argument, therefore, is that encouraging more flexible ways of building protection in highly dynamic coastal environments is not only essential to the preservation of coastal landscapes and their communities, but they may also suggest more democratic ways of constructing those protections collectively.
Zhang, Huaiwen, "Eco-concrete: reimaging Nantucket infrastructure system" (2021). Masters Theses. 794.
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View exhibition online: Huaiwen Zhang, Reimage coastal resilience with exploration of eco-concrete