Understanding the Working Waterfronts' Contribution to the Blue Economy | Working Waterfronts

May 4, 2021

Working waterfronts power the blue economy.

Individuals have been drawn to the coastline for centuries, evident by the number of thriving metropolitan cities located adjacent to waterfronts all over the world. In the United States, 40% of the population resides near the water. Not to mention, the blue economy has grown at a rate that is faster than the overall GDP for the country, as it has proven to be a primary driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth.  Our strong desire to be near the water might be simple to see, but quantifying this importance is no easy task. The Blue economy is a vast network with land, people, places, real estate, tourism, ports, fishing, shipping, maintenance, military- all dependent on this vital resource and interconnected. On this show, we are going to explore the Blue Economies of two Atlantic coastal states -- Rhode Island and South Carolina.  Our guests are going to guide us through the process their coastal states have undertaken to access valuable information and not only assess the current activities on their coastline, but also plan for the future of the working waterfront. An economist will also introduce us to a new and innovative strategy aimed at valuing non-market features on the waterfront such as wetlands, sand dunes, open space, oyster reefs and other types of mariculture.

Show Transcription
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Ashley Bennis

Ashley Bennis is a Michigan native that grew up in Metro Detroit and received her Bacherlors of Art from Wayne State University. Bennis began volunteering with nonprofits in the city and became very involved in the community revitalization happening there through coordinated public outreach and education efforts. She earned her master’s degree in Urban Design and Planning with a specialty in Environmental Planning from the University of Washington in 2016. While there she worked as a Research Assistant with the Institute for Hazard Mitigation, Planning and Research, an interdisciplinary team focused on helping communities plan for hazard events. The purpose of her project was to improve visual representations of FEMA’s revised floodplain maps to help with their usefulness and effectiveness for residents in flood prone areas. In the winter of 2018, she joined Texas Sea Grant as a planning specialist with the Community Resilience Collaborative, a partnership of Texas Sea Grant and the Texas Target Communities program in Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture. Her primary responsibility is to provide technical assistance to Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley coastal communities in land use planning and hazard mitigation.