March 30th to April 2nd, 2017 (immediately before the 2017 AAG Conference in Boston)

Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT

Conference Organizers:

C. Patrick Heidkamp, Ph.D.; Southern Connecticut State University;

John Morrissey, Ph.D., Liverpool John Moores University;


The coastal zone is rapidly changing, and represents the frontline in climate change adaptation and resilience building. Recognizing that coastal areas, despite only occupying a relatively small percentage of the Earth's land-surface, provide more than one third of the globe's value of ecosystem services, and recognizing that coastal areas are increasingly at risk due to changing environmental conditions as well as human development pressures. This coupled with the large-scale failure of contemporary governance approaches to direct development to more sustainable outcomes presents stark challenges for coastal stakeholders. Nowhere is this clearer than in contested coastal zones, where intense demand on coastal resources sits uneasily with stewardship, habitat protection and natural resource maintenance imperatives. Coastal zones represent a frontline in the battle for sustainability, as coastal communities face unprecedented economic challenges while coastal ecosystems are subject to overuse, loss of resilience and increased vulnerability. The emerging field of socio-technical transitions research presents a promising new lens through which to address sustainability challenges. This conference aims to bring together scholars focused on—or interested in—the dynamics of coastal zones as economic spaces in order to catalyze a discourse on new coastal economies, addressing problems of lock-in and system inertia in the current regime and exploring means to foster radical innovation for sustainable and resilience based coastal development. 

Sub Themes:

We welcome theoretical, methodological as well as empirical or case study contributions especially related (but not limited to) the following sub-themes: socio-technological transitions in the coastal zone, resilience in coastal economies, innovations of governance for coastal sustainability, communication mechanisms for best practices in socio-technological regime transformations, stakeholder engagement approaches in the coastal sustainability discourse, coastal spatial planning and sustainability, integrated coastal zone management and sustainability, sustainable waterfronts/sustainable coastal cities, energy transitions in the coastal zone, sustainable transport (ports/harbors), coastal aquaculture/3-D ocean farming, climate change and coastal sustainability, radical transition pathways.


The conference will be hosted by Southern Connecticut State University at SOTG (Southern on the Green), our downtown campus in historic New Haven, CT. SOTG is walking distance to a number of lodging opportunities, an exceptional variety of restaurants, museums, theaters as well as the Yale University campus. Southern's main campus and Union Station are a short shuttle ride away and New Haven is easily accessible from Boston and New York by train and car and the area is served by Tweed New Haven airport.


Key Dates:

October 1st: Abstracts Due (200 words; plus 3-5 keywords)   

          Please submit abstracts to: or

November 15th: Acceptance Notification of Abstract & Conference Program, Registration Opens

January 15th: Complete Papers Due  

February 15th: Final Conference Program & Papers to Discussants

March 30th to April 2nd: Conference

Conference Fees:

Conference Attendance (Open)                                                          300.00 USD

Conference Attendance (Students w. verification)                            200.00 USD

The conference fee will include a welcoming reception, coffee and tea during breaks, two catered lunches (Friday and Saturday), and a dinner on Saturday evening to close out the conference.

Travel Bursaries:

A limited number of fee waivers and/or travel bursaries will be available on a competitive basis with a priority given to scholars from less-developed economies.

Post Conference Field Trip:

There will be an optional field trip on Sunday, April 2nd to various sites along the Connecticut Shoreline (Bridgeport CT, New Haven Harbor, Hammonassett State Park, Thimble Islands, etc.). We will need to have a minimum of 10 people sign up for the field trip in order to run it.

Field Trip Fee                                                                                           65.00 USD (includes breakfast and box lunch)

Conference Outcomes:

Papers presented at Coastal Transitions will be invited for peer review and subsequent publication in an edited volume and/or edited issue in a journal focused on Sustainability Transitions in the Coastal Zone. 

The IGU Commission on the Dynamics of Economic Spaces has a strong record of publishing from its conferences.