Giant's Causeway

From Colandwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

>>>back to working groups overview

Area Giant's Causeway
Place Antrim
Country Northern Ireland
Topics Heritage and Nature protection
Author(s) Melanie Schnürer
Giant's Causeway sunset.jpg


The Giant's Causeway is located in Northern Ireland, in the Country Antrim. If you visit Northern Ireland, you must visit the World Heritage Site "Giant's Causeway", which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986. In addition, the Giant's Causeway is a tourist interesting and worth seeing element. It is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and is one of Northern Ireland's most popular attractions. It is important that the more than 60 million years old rock formation is further protected.

Location and scope

You can edit this map with the map editor

Loading map...

A Landscape System Analysis

A.1 Landscape layers and their system context

Geomorphology, landscape units and coastal typology

The rock formations with more than 40,000 individual, black basalt columns are interconnected and predominantly hexagonal in shape. But there are also basalt columns that are quadrangular, pentagonal, heptagonal and octagonal. The Giant's Causeway is about 5 km long and leads along the cliffs into the sea. Some of the basalt columns have a height of about 12 meters and the rock layer is about 25 meters thick.

The formation of the basalt columns is due to the cooling of hot lava. The volcano that was responsible for this formation was eroded by erosion. Generally one can say that it is a rock coast.

Land use

Giant's Causeway is located on the Atlantic Ocean in the Country Antrim on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. The settlement of Bushmills lies west of the Giant's Causeway and is the closest village. A big city, which is about 80 km away, is Belfast.

To get to the Giant's Causeway, the small trails can be used. However, the best way to get to the attraction is to take a walk along the cliffs or over the hills. The main roads can be found at some distance. The green areas, especially grass areas dominate the surroundings.

In the past, the adjacent cities were smaller and the green areas were larger. The expansion of the trails was not as good as it is today.

As it is a UNESCO World Heritage, the extraction of raw materials and energy in the immediate area is not allowed.

Green/blue infrastructure

Both blue and green infrastructures exist on this area. These green and blue infrastructures are today important indicators of biodiversity conservation, as well as the strengthening and regeneration capacity of ecosystem functions. The aim is a sustainable use of nature. This green and blue infrastructure contrasts with the gray infrastructure. The concept of green and blue infrastructure has a huge impact on the future and is strongly promoted, including by the EU.

In order to improve the green and blue infrastructure, sealing through the gray infrastructure must be avoided. In addition, you can develop green and blue infrastructure, for example, if nature pieces are renatured again. Another possibility would be to turn Gray Infrastructure back into green and blue infrastructures.

Here you will find the following green infrastructures:

  • Agriculture (in Northern Ireland total 74%)
  • grasslands
  • open fields
  • forest areas (at some distance) (in Northern Ireland total 8%)

and the following blue infrastructures:

  • sea
  • some bays

When it comes to Ireland's landscapes, you hear again and again the phrase '40 Shades of Green '. Ireland is VERY green.

Actors and stakeholders

The landscape is changed by important actors. The actor who has the most influence in this landscape is the tourist. Every year, over 750,000 people visit the Giant's Causeway. Another major actor is the National Trust, which acquired Giant's Causeway in 1961 and has since been responsible for protecting and preserving the site.

Other actors include the tourist industry, businesses and local people who benefit from the Giant's Causeway, whether through rentals to tourists or through the sheltered spot for their own health.

Likewise, the region has an impact on the site, but does not benefit primarily from the Giant's Causeway. The region has other unique locations besides the Giant's Causeway, from which it benefits.

Actors who are not particularly influential on the Giant's Causeway are investors and the port and the fishery. Also, they do not benefit from the place. They do not benefit from the location, as there is a harbor some distance away (in the next village) and fishery is hardly possible due to its status as a World Heritage Site and it is not allowed. Investors have no opportunity to invest in something here.

The environment also has little impact, but it benefits from the Giant's Causeway as it represents a unique and special biotope. This biotope is home to animals and plants.

Sacred spaces and heritage

The Giant's Causeway is itself a World Heritage because it is unique and very old (over 60 million years). It has a cultural value for the entire population, since this rock formation occurs only in certain places and is very rare to observe worldwide. There are also some special places within the Giant's Causeway that are as unique as they are intriguing. These include Portcoon Jetty and Lacada Point.

In the wider area, in Bushmills, you will find some important places that are valuable. In Bushmills there is the "Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway". The Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway operating between the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills. The line is about 3 km long. Also located in Bushmills is the "Old Bushmills Distillery", the most famous whiskey distillery in the world. The Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre is also located in the vicinity and is an information center for the Giant's Causeway.

Other highlights include the Causeway head, the shepherd's steps Giant's Causeway and the Dunseverick castle.

Visual appearance and landscape narrative

There are different forms of presentation. There are countless different postcards available at the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre, but can also be found as souvenirs in other stores. These postcards may be elements of the former Giant's Causeway, but there are also postcards showing the current situation.

Some famous paintings were also painted. A special picture was painted by Scott Naismith, who has painted the picture with special colors. Another picture painted by James Kelly, which stands out for its simplicity.

Known is the legend told about the Giant's Causeway. Learn about the history and myths of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre. The star of the story is Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) - an Irish giant who fought a dispute with the Scottish heavyweight Benandonner. Legend has it that the giants hated each other. So it happened that one day, after constant insults from Benandonner, Fionn built a trail of stepping stones from Ireland to Scotland. However, Benandonner destroyed this way shortly thereafter. The result is the Giant's Causeway!!

The most significant narrative are the photos that visitors of the Giant's Causeway make, as it allows everyone to tell their own story.

A.2 Summary of you landscape system analysis and your development Targets

The DPSI (R) model shows the Driving Forces, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses to be found at the site.

Drivers in this case are tourism, climate change and developments. Developments could be, for example, land development or demographic developments. Due to demographic change, cities will continue to grow, which will then lead to land development. The cities have to spread and grassland has to disappear.

Pressures are the growing number of visitors, climate change and pollution. These pollutions are due to the growing number of visitors as they bring the garbage and do not take it home again. In addition, the environment is heavily used by the influence of these visitors.

States are the water quality, the quality of the soil and the quality of the landscape, as they suffer from pollution. The water, but also the soil suffer from the rubbish of the visitors. The quality of the landscape suffers because this place is unique and should not be polluted by pollution.

Impact is reflected in the loss of habitat and biodiversity of the place. In addition, the place loses aesthetics. When this impact takes place, it leads to a loss of tourism. This influence will then show in the ever-decreasing number of visitors and give no reason to visit this place.

Response can be to make regulations, but also to inform visitors and residents. Likewise, Giant's Causeway must be controlled to preserve and maintain World Heritage status.

These responses are already covered by the World Heritage status, but should always be checked again. Also, the National Trust is responsible for the protection.

Of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Goal 1 (no poverty): End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2 (zero hunger): End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3 (good health and well-being): Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all

Goal 4 (quality education): Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Goal 5 (gender equality): Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls

Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation): Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy): Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth): Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure): Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10 (reduced inequalities): Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities): make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production): Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13 (climate action): Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 14 (life below water): Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

Goal 15 (life on land): sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions): Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Goal 17 (partnerships for the goals): Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

the following goals are particularly at risk:

* Good health and well-being

* Quality education

* Climate action

* Life below water

* Life on land

My hypothesis for this landscape is the following:

  • Increase in gray infrastructure:
  • Roads are being expanded
  • Cities grow and enlarge
  • Industry is growing in the immediate vicinity
  • Traffic is increasing
  • Decrease in green and blue infrastructure:
  • Green areas shrink and are broken up
  • Green areas are polluted
  • Waters are polluted
  • No more habitat for animals and plants
  • Pollution of the environment
  • Fishing is increasing
  • In the worst case: destruction of the world cultural heritage

Generally, the quality of the place will decrease and the aesthetic value of the Giant's Causeway will also decrease. A unique phenomenon could not be preserved for posterity, thus destroying an ancient testimony of ancient times.

A.3 Theory reflection

Northern Ireland does not belong, as the name implies, to Ireland, but is a country and part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. One of the most beautiful tourist destinations is the Giant's Causeway. It is away from major cities and is located in nature.

The sustainability goals of the United Nations show many aspects that can be transferred to the Giant's Causeway. There are some of these goals in this landscape: No poverty; Zero hunger; Good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions

In general, the other goals can also be found in some parts (decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption; partnerships for the goals).

The European Landscape Convention describes what landscape is and how it is best identified and protected. These goals must be considered very strict for Giant's Causeway. Giant's Causeway is unique and must be protected.

Even the Department of the Environment has issued a policy document, which was issued in July 2013. The Planning Policy Statements and Supplementary Planning Guidance includes this document and is involved in the second point for planning and nature conservation.

These three documents show that it is very important for natural spaces to protect them. Since the Giant's Causeway is a World Heritage Site, there are very specific rules that must be followed.

A.4 References

Phase B: Landscape Evaluation and Assessment

B.1 Assessment Strategy

The landscape system analysis has shown different challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the constant growth of cities and infrastructures. This may result in elements of the Giant's Causeway being lost. It is important to maintain this World Heritage Site. Another problem is climate change, which destroys the unique formations and threatens wildlife.

The goals for the assessment of the landscape is to inspire people for the beauty of nature. It also aims to educate people on what climate change is doing, not just in Northern Ireland, but what they can do anywhere in the world. People should also be encouraged to work for climate protection.

These goals are relevant as climate change is a key issue in our times, affecting not only our generation, but also the next and future generations. Demographic change is further expanding cities and infrastructure, and increasing numbers of tourists are polluting places and impacting climate change.

It is important to look at the ecosystem services in the area, as well as possible further development as cities continue to grow and infrastructure is expanded. Ecosystem services are an important factor when it comes to biodiversity.

Growing cities and infrastructures are making the Giant's Causeway area and buffer area smaller and potentially losing World Heritage status.

Another element that needs to be mapped is the impact of climate change on the Giant's Causeway. Over the next few years, more and more columns will suffer and be flooded under rising sea levels. Likewise, the erosions will shrink the Giant's Causeway.

B.2 Mapping

In order to get a better picture I will apply three different methods of mapping.

In the first method I will look at the ecosystem services in the area. The second method is the potential impact of climate change and the third method is the evolution of cities and infrastructures.

Ecosystem services

Possible impact of climate change

Demographic changes

B.3 Problem definition and priority setting

Giant's Causeway is threatened by many problems and risks, but there are also some potentials. Many ecosystem services are threatened by these problems. The most threatened are the coasts and the green areas. The rock formations of the Giant's Causeway are unique and very rare to see. The biggest problem is climate change. Followed by the destruction of the world cultural heritage, the loss of biodiversity and the rise of sea level and flooding. This is followed by the loss of habitats for animals, pollution, developmental changes and erosions.

Potentials include, for example, increased tourism, natural development, the construction of renewable energy, interest groups could increase and recreation.

B.4 Theory reflection

Ecosysem services

By mapping with ecosystem services you can see the different benefits and potential that people live on. All four services are available. In addition to Provisioning Services (Water and Food), there are Supporting Services (soil formation and nutrient cycling), Cultural Services (recreational, spiritual, religious and other nonmaterial benefits) and Regulating Services (regulation of floods, drought, land degradation, and disease ). Some occur more often, others are sparse.

Possible impact of climate change

The mapping with possible effects of climate change shows the negative effects of climate change. Climate change is a big problem today. The effects are extremely dangerous for today's and future generations.

Demographic changes

When mapping about the impact of demographic change and the development of cities and infrastructures, we see that cities are growing larger and cities and infrastructure need to grow.


I encountered some limitations in the landscape assessment. I have found that there are very few data on the future of the places to find. You had to think about what the situation might look like in the future. In addition, it is difficult to see the situation only by means of pictures and maps and to assess correctly. Northern Ireland is not close to where I live and I've never been to Northern Ireland.

B.5 References

Phase C – Strategy and Master Plan

C.1 Goal Setting

The evaluation has shown that many positive aspects are present in the coastal region and are best preserved. There are some planning goals that need to be pursued further.

The following planning goals result from the evaluation:

The first goal: Informing the population about possible effects of climate change and informing about World Heritage

World Heritage has unique aspects that could be destroyed by climate change. You have to educate people about climate change: What is climate change? What are the causes? What can you do about it? What can each one do? What are the consequences? This information can be done inside the visitor center, but also via signs that are attached.

Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 4 (quality education): Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Goal 13 (climate action): Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The second goal: Preserving the unique landscape

Giant's Causeway is unique. There are few places that have the same landscape. You have to try to preserve this landscape. The landscape offers plenty of habitat for animals and plants. Even under water, biodiversity is very high. There are deep spots on the shores of Giant's Causeway, where fish feel comfortable, but also shallow areas where crabs and crabs have their habitat.

Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 14 (life below water): Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

Goal 15 (life on land): sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

The third goal: Creating a recreational area and promoting tourism

For people who work all day and have little time to relax, recreational areas must be designed during the week and on weekends. This recreational area must be maintained, so that more tourism is created and through the additional money generated, can be further promoted, be it with better guides or with additional information signs

Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 3 (good health and well-being): Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all

Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth): Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

The fourth goal: Improvement of the infrastructure

In addition, the infrastructure must be expanded, as Giant's Causeway must be accessible to all ages and impairments. For some people, it is hardly possible to reach the coast because the paths are not suitable for wheelchairs. Also, some ways must be improved, since in some places only with hiking boots unexpectedly progresses.

Sustainable Development Goal:

Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure): Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

The fifth goal: Support from other countries

To achieve these goals, tourism must be promoted. This can be done through a partnership between individual countries, so that they work for the preservation of the world cultural heritage and thus the relationship between the countries is strengthened. Collaboration can also be with various institutions that promote and save the World Heritage.

Sustainable Development Goal:

Goal 17 (partnerships for the goals): Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

C.2 Spatial Strategy and Transect

The five strategic goals (Informing the population about possible effects of climate change and informing about World Heritage, Preserving the unique landscape, Creating a recreational area and promoting tourism, Support from other countries) that I found out in the course of the exercise can be summarized in one vision. The involvement of visitors and other countries creates a commitment to the coast. This commitment can come from each individual, but can also be done through the participation of many. The landscape benefits from the commitment of the people and will represent an important landscape in the future and be of benefit to the people. Nature should continue to exist with the help of people and people get a nice place to stay. All sides profit from each other.

The vision could be: Future for / with Giant's Causeway and Humans

C.3 From Theory of Change to Implementation


Many partnerships are needed to realize my vision. Firstly, the European Union must support Northern Ireland. Both can financially support the vision. In addition, organizations can also support. These organizations have the opportunity to ask the HLF, the Heritage Lottery Fund for help and to get paid. The National Trust also has the opportunity to financially support the Giant's Causeway. Specialists have to do their knowledge and planning and give ideas to local government. The local government can be financed by tourists and can participate in the planning and financing of the vision. The Visitor Center shares information with local people and tourists and financially supports the vision. The tourists and the local people spend time there and spend money on souvenirs and other things. The tourist industry awards jobs to local people and thus financially supports the vision.


Different resources are needed. These include materials, time, money, education and land.


The assets include, for example, donations, knowledge, gifts, help and income.


Year 0: situation analyzed

Year 1: Ideas collected and search for experts

Year 2: submit an application and wait for an answer

Year 3: financing clarified

Year 4: designing and checking plans

Year 5: construction of the ideas

Year 6: design completed

Year 20+: state of the development checked and renewed if necessary.

C.4 References

D. Process Reflection

It was interesting to get to know new methods and apply them. I found it exciting to get to know other landscapes, people and other disciplines and to learn from their experiences. I have learned a lot about coastal landscapes and it has also been a good experience to discover solutions to how to solve such problems. Furthermore, it was important for me to see the solutions of the other groups and lecturers in order to find similar solutions in the future. The lectures I found very exciting and also very instructive and you could transfer something to the own landscape.

There were some limitations. Since I worked alone, it was difficult to interact with others and try out all the new methods. In addition, most of the time was missing to go into detail, because you could not split the work. The scope of the work was very high and almost impossible for the single worker, since other work is also awaiting completion. It was difficult for people who do not live near coast, to master this exercise. You had to imagine the landscape without personal contact, alone from photos and online sources. Sometimes it was difficult to know exactly what is required of you in individual exercises.

Next time, I would be looking for a group to exchange and maybe learn new and different solutions. Working in groups is also a way to get to know other disciplines and benefit from other countries and their ways of working.