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SANTORINI NEWS Santorini sustainable development

Santorini sustainable development
August 15 2005


Professor Michael Romanos leading a University of Cincinanati Sustainable Development Group presents the study Plan for the Future of Santorini. A Model for Environmental Tourism in Santorini.

Tourism of the future is based on economics – where it’s cheap to go – leavened by quality of service, explained Romanos, professor of planning in UC’s top-ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. The tourism cycle in the Greek islands, which began in the 1960s and 1970s, is now winding down. No longer do you have the economic profit you once did even though you still have large numbers of tourists.

In Santorini for instance, cruise ships come each day, depositing an astonishing three million visitors annually. However, while their sheer weight of numbers fouls everything from traffic to beaches, the economic payoff is anything but fair. Too many visitors come for the day and then return to their ships, injecting too little into the economy for the price the islanders’ pay in daily stress and cultural and environmental degradation, stated Romanos.

During summer 2005, the UC team and individual members from other schools will focus on the following scenarios:

  • Wine rather than whine
    There are grapes, native to the island, that go back 3,000 years, but they are only known locally. One local wine, Vinsanto, is naturally sweet without any coloring or sugar added. This and other boutique wines could be developed for export and to attract a different tourist type.
  • In with the old
    Promote year-round elder villages via discounts to those over age 65. A major health facility already located in Santorini could not only serve an elderly population on that island but on the 20 or so islands within a half-hour copter ride.
  • Park it here
    The entire island would be designated a Cultural Heritage Park with tourism focusing deliberately on architecture, history, archaeology and agriculture, rather than the waning sun-and-sand recipe popular for so long.

    Participants in this summer’s Santorini project include 10 UC students as well as one student from Turkey. Faculty team members are:
  • Carla Chifos, assistant professor of planning at UC
  • David Edelman, director of UC’s School of Planning
  • Asseem Inam, assistant professor of urban design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Michael Leaf, associate professor at the University of British Columbia
  • David Prosperi, professor of planning at Florida Atlantic University
  • Michael Romanos, professor of planning at UC
  • Frank Wray, associate professor of biology at UC

    Past accomplishments by previous UC teams in Greece include the following work on Crete:
  • UC students literally blazed a hiking trail between traditional interior villages.
  • A traditional goat herding village was helped to stave population drain by taking advantage of dramatically rising meat consumption in Greece.
  • In another village, a public square containing two 19th-century schools and a 14th-century Byzantine chapel is being renovated for use by visiting artists and for public events.
  • A completely new circulation and transportation system is being implemented in the capital town of Hersonissos.
  • A new sewer and water system is being built for two major villages in Crete’s interior.

    Author : Travel to Santorini