Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities (School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia) has been researching the impacts of seawalls and testing alternative seawall designs in Australia.
Exeter University is conducting research in the United Kingdom, to help understand how coastal biology responds to artificial hard structures built in the intertidal zone and what steps can be taken to help maximise the ecological value of these structures.
Cristina Bump, architectural designer for Mithun, received the AIA Seattle (American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter) Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship to travel to Australia and study innovative seawall designs there. She documented the experience on her blog, along with more recent posts about the upcoming Seattle waterfront redevelopment:
We are also conducting research at the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park, testing the effectiveness of the created habitat bench and pocket beach in enhancing the shoreline as compared to adjacent seawall and riprap armoring.