Students at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London have been combining design with citizen science to come up with innovative new ways of increasing the resilience of UK coastal communities.
The designs were entered into this year’s RCA Grand Challenge: Engaging Communities for Generating Marine Sustainable Economies – and from the 97 student groups who worked with volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), partners of the Challenge, to develop design solutions, 12 projects have been shortlisted. These include Tidal Tape, an ‘eco-responsible solution to coastal erosion in Morecambe Bay which also promotes biodiversity through restoring birds’ habitats’; and Insoluble Solutions (pictured above) ‘a filtration system that captures jellyfish, extracting their mucus which attracts water-repellent materials in order to collect microplastics from the water’.
The RCA, a UN Ocean Decade Implementing Partner, is supporting the UN’s efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health.
Talking about the Challenge, which aligns with goals of the UNESCO Ocean Decade (2021-2030), Professor Paul Anderson, Dean of the School of Design at the RCA, said “This year’s Grand Challenge, working in partnership with the RNLI, has provided fascinating insights into understanding coastal communities, their interactions and connections between shoreline and the sea around the UK. Our designers have been investigating and developing new innovative solutions and approaches towards developing New Economic Models for the Ocean (NEMO) and therefore it is hugely impactful to gather data that allows deeper understanding towards developing solutions that protect the environment, protect species and support human activity.”
The public can view the shortlisted projects from 10 – 14 March 2023 at the Grand Challenge exhibition on at the new RCA Battersea campus designed by Herzog & de Meuron.