Sustainable Development and Planning 2011
Fifth International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning
12 - 14 July 2011
New Forest, UK
The fifth International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning was held in the New Forest, UK, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology. The meeting built upon a conference started in Skiathos (Greece) in 2003, and evolved into another three meetings in Bologna (2005), the Algarve (2007) and Cyprus (2009).
The current economic development model based on increased urbanization, deforestation, predominance of private car against public transport, unplanned tourism and industrial development, uneven consumption of water and goods between different regions, has led to a dramatic environmental and ecological degradation of the planet. A major impact of human intervention is climate change which is not just of scientific interest but it is a reality felt in every country of the world. We are living in an era of rapidly global changes which includes alterations to the climate amongst many other things.
In this context there is an urgent need for the necessary adjustments for survival in this period of transition until a new ecological balance is established with nature. Policies, for natural resources, agricultural production, environmental protection, urban development and management of natural and cultural heritage must reconsider their priorities in this new context taking into account scientific progress and technological advances. Consequently, planning is the prerequisite for the sustainable development at any level: local, national, global.
There is a need to change the existing models of consumption and production as well as those of geographical mobility towards a new direction where the economy and ecology will cease to be in parrallel and independent courses, but will combine and act together since their ultimate goal remains the same: the achievement of sustainable and livable environment.
The conference was opened by Professor Carlos Brebbia, Director of the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), who welcomed the delegates and explained the aims of the institute. Carlos started by discussing some of the activities of WIT, in particular the work carried out in the development of advanced computational models, many of them in conjunction with industrial and research partners in different countries. WIT – Carlos said – focuses on advanced engineering techniques seeking to apply them to a wide variety of problems, working with colleagues from different disciplines. This objective of collaborating, rather than competing, with other institutions is characteristic of WIT, that sees itself as a mechanism for knowledge transfer.
Carlos also described the importance of the conference programme to achieve WIT’s objectives. The meetings bring together a wide variety of practitioners and researchers, as most WIT conferences are of an interdisciplinary character. Papers are published at very high standards and distributed all around the world in hardcover book as well as digital format, the latter becoming more important now. They are also permanently archived in the eLibrary of the Wessex Institute http://library.witpress.com
This gives a unique prominance to WIT conference papers, which are regularly included in the ISI Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge.
Furthermore, WIT has launched a series of new Journals, including the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning. Conference participants are encouraged to send extended versions of their work for publication in the Journals, further helping to disseminate their work. This is a unique aspect of WIT conferences which help to improve the quality of the work presented at the meeting.
The papers presented at the conference covered a wide variety of topics, grouped under the following headings;
- Regional planning
- City planning
- Sustainability in the built environment
- Cultural heritage
- Environmental management
- Resources management
- Social and political issues
- Rural developments
- Sustainable solutions in developing countries
- Energy resources
Special Session and Keynote Addresses
Professor Francesco Russo from Reggio Calabria University organised a Special Session on ‘Container maritime transport on an international scale’ . The session consisted of four invited papers on;
- 'A procedure for aggregate estimation of demand variables'
- 'A model to simulate the demand flow in the Mediterranean basin'
- 'A choice model of service and hub port'
- 'A data envelopment analysis for transhipment port'
The meeting opened with two keynote addresses;
- ‘Sustainability in projects: an analysis of relevant sustainability aspects in the project management process based on the three pillars model' by Roman Brandtweiner, University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria
- ‘Real estate crisis and sustainability in Spain' by Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia, Politechnic University of Valencia, Spain
Social Events and Conference Dinner
The delegates had numerous occasions to socialise during coffee breaks, joint lunches and the welcoming barbeque at the Wessex Institute campus, which was preceded by a piano recital. The recital consisted of a concert given by Pier Paolo Strona, a Fellow of Wessex Institute, who after a successful career as a research engineer, has dedicated his energies to his two passions, music and photography, both fields in which he has excelled. The concert took place in the Chubut Centre at the Ashurst Lodge campus of WIT. Pier Paolo’s repertoire included pieces by Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven, which were well received by the audience.
The Conference Banquet took place in one of the landmarks of the New Forest, Rhinefield House, now an outstanding hotel. The hotel occupies one of the most interesting buildings in the Forest.
Rhinefield House was one of the original lodges set up at the time of the Normans as places for the King and his party to rest during his hunting expeditions. The lodge became the residence of one the Keepers as well, and was to be renown for having the nursery and arboretum of the Forest, which explains the quality and diversity of the gardens and the drive leading to the properties.
Rhinefield Lodge burned down and eventually the land was purchased by a family from the north of England, who gave the property as a wedding gift to her daughter when she was to marry a Naval Officer. The gift included the money to build the impressive building that now houses the hotel.
Rhinefield House has a variety of rooms built in different styles, and a diversity of architectural types. The most impressive is the Great Hall, a large room with a beautifully carved roof built in the hammer-beam type made famous by the ancient Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. The banquet took place there, while the delegates were entertained over dinner by a string trio playing classical music.
At the end of the dinner Carlos thanked all the participants for having come to the conference, explained the history of the house and offered them a copy of his book ‘The New Forest’. He also gave each participant a ceramic pot hand-made and decorated by a well-known local potter. The pots were specially commissioned by WIT.
Finally, Carlos asked his friend and colleague, Pier Paolo Strona, to say a few words regarding his photographs, copies of which were distributed to the participants. Pier Paulo explained how he constructed his images of glass and water, some of them depicting surrealist images.
The dinner ended in a very amicable manner with all the participants charmed by the attractions of the Forest.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 150 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (Online ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com