Research Themes and Cases

Drawing on work in human geography, anthropology, and policy studies, we are interested in understanding two broad questions about ocean planning through our research:

  • How are communities and the environment being represented and engaged in ocean planning processes?
  • And conversely, how are communities and the environment shaping the future of ocean planning itself?

To do this, we are exploring specific research themes and cases that get at these issues. Each research theme follows a particular path — tracing the role of goespatial data in informing decisionmaking, for example, or exploring how particular coastal or sectoral communities are engaging and shaping planning processes — but together they help us characterize what ocean planning might mean for the United States, its coastal communities, and ocean environments. While much research has explored particular sectors in US (and global) oceans, like fisheries, offshore energy, or rural coastal communities, little work in the US has engaged with MSP or other comprehensive ocean planning processes. As something new in US oceans governance, this is both a fascinating and urgent research topic.

Our research is organized into seven themes. For some, click and follow their links to find out more.

The ontological politics of marine spatial planning

How marine spatial planning is and is not a process of ocean enclosure

Coastal community interactions, opportunities, and outcomes in ocean planning

The role of spatial data and technologies in shaping ocean planning and human-ocean relationships

The role of the environment in planning efforts, including how ocean animals (and their representations in data and discourse) affect processes and outcomes

Understanding modern environmental governance through regional ocean planning

The evolution of “marine spatial planning” to “regional ocean planning”