According to Dr Gharbia, this inclusive approach helps eliminate disruption caused by public objections to mitigation projects at the planning stage.
“We’ve found that if you don’t involve all stakeholders, the solutions will not be accepted. It’s a problem we have all the time with all the consultations we do. City councils show the project to local citizens, there are objections and then the project doesn’t go ahead,” he says.
“We came up with the Living Lab framework to allow citizens and stakeholders to get together to design the solution. When they come up with something, we feed the data into the digital platform which then works out the climate resilience of their plan and gives feedback.
“Our AI system will be learning a lot as we collect this data. We have 10 cities. If we manage to repeat this in all of them, we will have a network of cities that will learn from each other, which will reduce our number of mistakes overall – even more so as that network expands and the process is replicated.”
Coastal erosion is the most common problem facing sea-facing cities around the world. Dr Gharbia feels the two remaining elements to the SCORE project, namely providing ecosystem-based solutions to climate challenges, and developing digital technology tools that allow regular citizens to monitor their local environment, are vital to slowing coastal loss.