Coastal Cities 2015
International Conference on Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future
7 - 9 July 2015
New Forest, UK
The International Conference on Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future took place in the New Forest, UK, home of the Wessex Institute (WIT), represented by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, its Director, and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, represented by Prof German Rodriguez.
The meeting was sponsored by the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, launched by WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute.
The International Conference on Coastal Cities has evolved from a series of meetings organised by WIT in the past, dealing with the Coastal Environment, Coastal Processes and City Sustainability. It is dedicated to the presentation and discussion of issues related to the integrated management and sustainable development of coastal cities.
The world population’s preference for living in coastal areas brings in economic growth and consequent urban development and increases the need for resources, infrastructures and services.
The strategic location of coastal cities, for instance, facilitates transportation and the development of related activities, but this requires the existence of large ports, with the corresponding increase in maritime and road traffic with all its inherent negative effects.
The above-mentioned activities, and others common to coastal cities, require the development of well-planned and managed urban environments, not only for reasons of efficiency and economics, but also to avoid inflicting environmental degradation that causes the deterioration of quality of life and human health.
To resolve these problems it is necessary to consider coastal cities as dynamic complex systems which need energy, water, food and other resources in order to function and generate diverse activities, with the aim of offering a socio-economic climate and better quality of life.
As a consequence, the integrated management and sustainable development of coastal cities is essential, with science, technology, architecture, socio-economics and planning all collaborating to provide support to decision makers.
This International Conference on Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future aimed to provide a multi-disciplinary forum to discuss a wide range of issues related to the development of sustainability in coastal cities.
Opening of the Conference
The meeting was opened by Professor Carlos A Brebbia who referred to the importance of the conference series for WIT in terms of fulfilling its objectives of acting as a medium for knowledge transfer.
Carlos explained that WIT achieves that aim through a series of activities in addition to the conferences, ie publications, research, science to industry and training. WIT – Carlos said – collaborates rather than competes with many organisations, including research and academic institutions and industry.
The publishing arm of the Institute, WIT Press, produces a substantial number of books every year, including conference volumes. It has also launched five different International Journals, and will be shortly including two more - the emphasis of these publications is on interdisciplinarity.
The collaboration of WIT with industry and advanced research institutions is centred on the development of computational models, based on the boundary element method, a powerful technique originated by WIT researchers. The application of software tools based on this method is one of the proudest achievements of WIT, Carlos said.
Another of WIT’s activities which helps to bring together members of the international community is the series of medals and prizes offered by the Institute, usually in conjunction with other Institutions.
The best known of these is the Medal in honour of Prof Ilya Prigogine which is awarded once a year to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions following the idea of that Nobel Prize winner. This year the event took place at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, with the collaboration of Prof Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia. The special lecture given by the awardee, Prof Larry Li from the University of California at Riverside, was very well attended (for further details see the Post Conference Report of ECOSUD 2015 at http://www.wessex.ac.uk/15-conferences/ecosud-2015.html.
Carlos ended by wishing all participants a very successful conference and hoped that they would have time to see part of the New Forest, an area of outstanding beauty. He also explained that WIT is happy to consider collaborating with research groups and institutions. WIT also welcomes research visitors from all over the world.
The conference keynote address was delivered by the Co-Chair, Prof German Rodriguez, on the topic of “Monitoring coastal zone hydrodynamics for management”. German explained the work carried out at his laboratory on the development of inexpensive monitoring. The Canary Islands are particularly concerned with how to monitor and manage their environment which is under stress mainly due to tourism and the possible hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation plans.
Other invited papers which enhanced the programme were the following:
“Revising the basis for planning a new kind of progress: the case of the City of Valencia” by Jose Luis Miralle i Garcia, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.
“Coastal zones along the Adriatic Sea. Italian and cross-border experiences”, by Donatella Cialdea, University of Molise, Italy.
“Coastal cities: a discussion of the flooding potential for coastal cities in this century”, by Ove Gudmestad, University of Stavanger, Norway.
“Jellyfish outbreaks in coastal city beaches from the management perspective”, by German Rodriguez, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
The conference offered many opportunities for the delegates to interact. In addition to coffee and lunch breaks, a special BBQ was organised in the grounds of the Ashurst Lodge campus. It consisted of roast lamb and a variety of side dishes. Hampshire is renowned for the quality of its lamb and its slow cooking ensures it becomes lean and tender. The delegates then had an opportunity to see WIT facilities. The good weather contributed to the enjoyment of the occasion.
A special visit was organised by Southampton City Council to show the delegates the many developments now taking place there. It started with a short introduction by Mr Darren Shorter, City Design Group Leader of the Council. After that the delegates walked, via the new Arts complex to the park and the City Centre. They proceeded to the new Watermark West Quay complex, then through the Old Town to the Walls overlooking Mayflower Park. From there they went to Queen’s Park and the Ocean Village development, from where they could see across the water to the impressive Centenary Quay development.
Southampton has always been a City with strong marine connections. It is now in a state of rapid development, reinforcing and strengthening its links to the sea. This is reflected in a series of major buildings, its growth as a cruise port and the development of several marinas. A special Museum has also been built in the Civic Centre to record these historical roots, centred around the Titanic tragedy, in which many crew members from Southampton lost their lives.
The Conference banquet took place in one of the most remarkable buildings in the New Forest, now a hotel, but formerly a private residence of a rich heiress from Nottingham and her Navy Officer husband. The property built at the end of the XIXth century, looks externally like a Scottish castle. Inside, however, it shows a variety of styles with each major room following a different one. The most impressive being the Grand Hall, with a high hammer and beam roof resembling the one in the Ancient Hall of the House of Commons.
Even more extraordinary is the room where the dinner took place, an octagonal room built in the Moorish style of Southern Spain. The room which was originally a smoking room is decorated with tiles and other assortments of typical Islamic art. The good food and excellent wines contributed to the enjoyment of the occasion. Carlos also said a few words thanking the delegates for their participation and hoping they found the conference useful and were able to see a bit of the National Park where WIT is located.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner in one of the best local restaurants to discuss the progress of the meeting and its reconvening in 2017. Several possible locations were discussed as well as a list of new topics. The evening was most convivial and led to further discussion regarding the latest research carried out by the participants
Closing of the Conference
Carlos ended the conference by explaining that the papers in the conference book are now being archived in the WIT site (http://www.witpress.com/elibrary) where they are permanently available to the international community. He also reminded them that they have up to six months to prepare an enhanced version of their work for submission to one of the Institute Journals. This offer is an important added value benefit to colleagues presenting papers at WIT conferences. The most appropriate Journals for the conference being those of Sustainable Development and Planning, and Design & Nature.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary in Volume 148 of WIT Transactions on the Built Environment (ISSN:1746-4498 Digital ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://witpress.com/elibrary