Coastal greening of grey infrastructure: an update on the state-of-the-art

Louise B. Firth, Jessica Bone, Aaron Bartholomew, Melanie J. Bishop, Ana Bugnot, Fabio Bulleri, Su Yin Chee, Louw Claassens, Katherine A. Dafforn, Tom P. Fairchild, Alice E. Hall, Mick E. Hanley, Valeriya Komyakova, Anaëlle J. Lemasson, Lynette H.L. Loke, Mariana Mayer-Pinto, Rebecca Morris, Larissa Naylor, Matthew J. Perkins, Sylvain PiochFrancesca Porri, Kathryn A. O'Shaughnessy, Nina Schaefer, Elisabeth A. Strain, Jason D. Toft, Nathan Waltham, Moises Aguilera, Laura Airoldi, Franz Bauer, Paul Brooks, John Burt, Charley Clubley, Jeffery R. Cordell, Free Espinosa, Ally J. Evans, Veronica Farrugia-Drakard, William Froneman, John Griffin, Stephen J. Hawkins, Eliza Heery, Roger J.H. Herbert, Emma Jones, Kenneth M.Y. Leung, Pippa Moore, Juan Sempere-Valverde, Dhritiraj Sengupta, Marcus Sheaves, Stephen Swearer, Richard C. Thompson, Peter Todd, Antony M. Knights

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the marine environment, greening of grey infrastructure (GGI) is a rapidly growing field that attempts to encourage native marine life to colonize marine artificial structures to enhance biodiversity, thereby promoting ecosystem functioning and hence service provision. By designing multifunctional sea defences, breakwaters, port complexes and off-shore renewable energy installations, these structures can yield myriad environmental benefits, in particular, addressing UN SDG 14: Life below water. Whilst GGI has shown great promise and there is a growing evidence base, there remain many criticisms and knowledge gaps, and some feel that there is scope for GGI to be abused by developers to facilitate harmful development. Given the surge of research in this field in recent years, it is timely to review the literature to provide an update update on the state-of-the-art of the field in relation to the many criticisms and identify remaining knowledge gaps. Despite the rapid and significant advances made in this field, there is currently a lack of science and practice outside of academic sectors in the developed world, and there is a collective need for schemes that encourage intersectoral and transsectoral research, knowledge exchange, and capacity building to optimize GGI in the pursuit of contributing to sustainable development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Maritime Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Design
  • Environment
  • UN SDG 14: Life below water


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