Portsmouth city






Conflict cases

Langstone Harbour / Farlington Marshes

Tipner Regeneration


MAP_PortsmouthPortsmouth is a compact coastal urban region where urbanization exerts intense pressure on the natural environment. It has developed mostly on Portsea Island, which is surrounded by two estuarine basins - Portsmouth and Langstone harbours. Over time, there has been extensive land reclamation, and construction of sea defences, so that a significant proportion of the city currently lies below sea level. This poses major challenges which are exacerbated by anticipated sea level changes.

The coastal areas have been significantly modified over time by human activities, which have altered the functioning of natural processes by affecting the sediment budget through flood and coastal defence works, controlling river drainage/flow, and dredging for navigation purposes. Portsmouth harbour includes one of the four largest expanses of mudflats and tidal creeks on the south coast of Britain. It has internationally important populations of mud-snails, shrimps, and wading birds and wildfowl. The mudflats are inhabited by dense populations of photosynthetic micro-organisms that are highly significant contributors to the biological productivity of the ecosystem. Saltmarshes at the uppermost elevations are often used as roosting areas for wading birds and wildfowl at high tide, whilst terrestrial birds use them as feeding areas. There are especially acute concerns about the long term losses of salt marshes as a result of climate change: if current rates of loss continue, it has been estimated that salt marshes may disappear by the end of the twenty first century.

The present day city has an estimated population of circa 200,000. It developed historically as a port from the 13th century, and as a naval and commercial hub. Current economic activities are dominated by public and private sector services, including a significant element of waterfront regeneration related to retailing, leisure and tourism. Port activities remain significant. Although a relatively prosperous city by UK standards, it is also characterised by social polarisation and areas of multiple deprivation. Urbanization pressures, migration, commuting and tourism flows are exerting intense pressures on the limited land resources in the urban area, and there is strong competition between the different stakeholders who use the urban space.