Allocation of Residential Areas in Smart Insular Communities: The Case of Mykonos, Greece

Allocation of Residential Areas in Smart Insular Communities: The Case of Mykonos, Greece

Chrysaida-Aliki Papadopoulou (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) and Thomas Hatzichristos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/IJEPR.2020100103
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Smart cities and communities constitute urban environments where cities' potential, ICTs, and human capital are intelligently interconnected under the framework of sustainability. Citizens form a city's identity while ICTs support the smart management of citizens' needs. ‘Smart people' is among the main dimensions of a smart city, something that entails the active role of citizens during the development of infrastructures and decision-making processes. This paper focuses on the smart exploration of possible residential areas in the island of Mykonos (Greece). Emphasis is placed on the effective management of land, the protection of natural resources, and the establishment of a sustainable pattern of housing development. The problem is analysed with the support of a methodological approach that incorporates crowdsourcing, living labs, and participatory evaluation as the main components of its backbone. Geographical Information Systems and multi-criteria decision analysis are also utilized as an integrated Spatial Decision Support System.
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Smart cities and communities have already become a dominant trend supporting sustainable urban development through the exploitation of innovative ICT applications and infrastructures. Under this framework issues such as economic prosperity, social development, sustainable management of the available resources and standards of living are dealt under the concept of ‘smartness’. This implies the adoption of ICTs in order to support city functions and the inclusion of citizens in a smart urban environment. The majority of smart city definitions integrate concepts like ‘smart economy’, ‘smart people’, ‘smart environment’, ‘ICT infrastructure’, ‘intelligent development’, ‘ICT-based solutions’, ‘smart collaboration’, etc. (Caragliu, Del Bo & Nijkamp, 2009; Dameri, 2013; Giffinger et. al, 2007; Meijer & Bolivar, 2015; Neirotti et al., 2014). Despite the fact that a general definition, corresponding to all kinds of cities, has not been found yet, such concepts are used to indicate the “transition from a world of materials and energy to the one of data and information” (Batty, 2017, p.5). Data and information cut horizontally all dimensions of a smart city and are constantly incorporated in almost any function that takes place in the city.

The concept of ‘smartness’ concerns not only large metropolitan areas and cities but also smaller communities such as rural regions and islands. Smart rural development entails the reinforcement of innovation, knowledge background and local skills. It may also be seen as an important factor having the potential to enhance sustainability in rural regions through the elimination of digital divides, the adoption of new technologies by the agricultural and tourist sectors, the effective management of natural resources by exploiting ICTs, the development of smart rural economies and the inclusion of rural population in efforts aiming at ‘smart transition’.

Islands are often perceived as rural regions with particular features due to their insular character. In many cases they are remote areas, located far from urban centres and facing problems of accessibility, availability of resources, lack of health infrastructures, etc. Tourism is a dominant economic sector in the majority of islands, worldwide. This entails the need for accommodation infrastructures and facilities and the consequent exertion of pressures on natural resources such as water, land and energy, specifically during the peak tourist season. In this context, housing development and suitable site selection becomes extremely important not only in cases of dense-populated urban areas but also in smaller communities, facing similar problems due to the seasonal and massive population flows.

Islands in the Aegean and Ionian Sea constitute an indicative case in Greece. The majority of them are small-scaled islands with limited natural resources and high rates of tourist development. Housing development and coverage of accommodation demand becomes a great challenge due to the limited space; the specific terms and conditions regulating the building sector, and the legislative framework concerning the sustainable management of natural and cultural resources and the protection of local identity. Smart real estate and smart management of land uses may contribute to the sustainable development of residential areas and the reduction of pressures put on natural resources, especially in islands with significant tourist flows and high demand of housing infrastructures.

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