Coastal Cities 2017

2nd International Conference on Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future


24 - 26 April, 2017
Cadiz, Spain



Coastal Cities 2017

The International Conference on Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future took place in Cadiz, Spain, sponsored by the University of Cadiz, represented by Prof David Almorza, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, represented by Prof German Rodriguez, and the Wessex Institute, represented by Prof Carlos A Brebbia. The meeting was sponsored by the WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment and the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.

Cadiz was a most appropriate location for the meeting. This city and port was founded by the Phoenicians approximately 3,000 years ago and is thought to be the most ancient surviving city in Western Europe. Situated in South Western Spain, Cadiz is surrounded by sea on three sides. Its name and reputation have forever been linked with its maritime heritage and its prominence as the principal fort for trading with the Spanish Empire. Due to its rich history, the monuments, buildings and museums are full of stories and depictions of the past.

Opening the Conference 

The Conference series took place at the School of Human Resources of the University of Cadiz. Although the University’s origin dates back to the creation of the College of Pilots of the Sea in the 15th century, the modern University was founded only forty or so years ago. It has attracted a large number of students and offers a rich variety of careers from medicine and marine sciences to engineering.

The location and venue of the Conference were most conducive to the study of coastal issues. The coastal city of Cadiz can be seen as a case study for sustainability.

The growth of the world’s population and the people living in coastal areas has resulted in their necessary development.

Coastal areas are the most common destination, which brings in economic growth but implies additional urban development and increases the need for resources, infrastructure 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, and all its inherent negative effects.

The activities 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 the quality of life and human health.

Coastal cities are dynamic complex systems which require energy, water, food and other resources in order to work and generate diverse activities, with the aim of offering a better socio-economic climate and 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 contributing to provide support to decision makers.

Invited Presentations 

The delegates were welcomed by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor José Luis Pulido. Following that Prof David Almorza asked Carlos A Brebbia to address the meeting.

Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Director of WIT, welcomed the delegates in the name of Wessex Institute, and expressed his appreciation to the University of Cadiz, and particularly to Prof David Almorza, for hosting the meeting at the School of Human Resources, located in a heritage building.

He then described the many links of WIT with the University of Cadiz (UCA) and the fact that both institutions have collaborated in holding other meetings in the past.

Carlos also pointed out the unique character of Cadiz, its historical commitment to international links and trade, and its importance in shaping Spanish democracy.

He then described the work carried out at the Institute, particularly the research in marine problems and aerospace, born out by the expertise of WIT in Boundary Elements, a method developed by his group which started at Southampton University and which continues to this day in the WIT New Forest Campus.

Carlos also stressed the important initiative taken by the Institute in making its eLibrary of conference and journal papers freely available to the international scientific community. The papers at can now be downloaded for free. This will substantially increase the number of citations and highlight the importance of the work presented at WIT Conferences and published in the International Journals.

WIT’s programme of meetings, consisting of Conferences such as Coastal Cities and others, plus seminars and courses given at the WIT campus and other locations, is of practical importance to disseminate advances in engineering and sciences. Its success for more than 30 years has been due to the quality of the presentations. The meetings also foster the development of links amongst the delegates and have led in many cases to the creation of networks and joint projects.

Carlos then described the latest developments at WIT, including the construction of new premises and the upgrading of current facilities.

He ended by expressing his gratitude to all participants for coming to Cadiz and, in particular, to his Co-Chairs, David Almorza and German Rodriguez, for their work, as well as to the members of the Scientific Committee and other colleagues who contributed to the success of Coastal Cities by reviewing abstracts and papers.

The next speaker was German Rodriguez who gave a keynote address on “Rare events and risk assessment in coastal regions”. He pointed out that as the coastal region populations continue to increase the risks become more important.

Coastal regions have complex dynamics, with a large energetic component and a fragile equilibrium. These are the parts of our planet where there is an interaction of air, soil and water. German then explained how to carry out an extreme value analysis in environmental terms. The rarer are the events, the lower its probability of exceedance and therefore the greater its return period.

We always need to be careful when dealing with extreme values as there are many inaccuracies associated with the use of limited data sets. There are also uncertainties associated with different steps in the procedure.

Other invited presentations were:

  • “The changing climate and the Arctic coastal settlements”, by Ove T Gudmestad, University of Stavanger, Norway.
  • “Food and medicinal plants consumed in Manila, the Philippines”, by Isobel M Madaleno, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
  • “Strategic environmental assessment for metropolitan plan of coastal areas”, by José Luis Miralles i Garcia, Politecnica University of Valencia, Spain.
  • “Measures to reduce air pollution caused by fugitive dust emissions from harbour activities”, by Carlos Borrego, University of Alveiro, Portugal.

Conference Topics  

The conference papers were grouped in a series of sessions with the general heading of:

  • Coastal processes
  • The beach: sediments and water interaction
  • Coastal risk assessment
  • The coastal city and its environment
  • Tourism and the city
  • Urban planning
  • City heritage
  • Air quality studies

Special Session

A special session on “The Beach: Sediments and Water Interaction” was organised by Prof Isabel Lopez-Ubeda comprising papers dealing with the following aspects:

  • “Factors influencing the retreat of the coastline”
  • “A software application to obtain the depth of closure from beach profile data”
  • “Relative position of the size of sediments in the cross-shore profile”
  • “Determination of the most influential factors in the concentration of bacteria in coastal waters”

The meeting offered numerous possibilities for the delegates to interact with each other, during the Conference sessions as well as during the coffee and lunch breaks, and the evenings.

Conference Dinner

The International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Conference met over dinner to discuss various ways in which the Conference could be improved when it is reconvened. Different additional topics were discussed as well as the relationship of the meeting with the publications of WIT Press. Carlos specially mentioned the launching of the new Journal on Environmental Impacts which aims to look in an integrated manner to all contamination issues and their effects on society. The new publication, although officially starting at the beginning of 2018, has already attracted a substantial number of excellent papers. The first issue is already printed and is being distributed throughout the world.

The Conference Banquet took place in the renowned Peña Flamenca La Perla (Flamenco Academy) which is an important component of the cultural life of Cadiz. The town has its own distinctive style of flamenco, with a series of Alegrias typical of Cadiz. Alegrias, which means happiness, can also be translated as the joie de vivre, a form of celebrating life to the full. The flamenco show that took place after dinner included, as a friendly touch, a niece of David Almorza in the programme. She is a gifted amateur dancer who has recently won an important competition. As different from numerous shows now offered in Spain, this was a genuine flamenco night.

The quality of the show and informal setting contributed to the friendliness of the occasion and created the right atmosphere for the development of stronger links amongst the delegates.

Closing of the Conference

The conference was closed by Carlos who once again thanked the delegates for their participation as well as all those who contributed to the success of the meeting, in particular the University of Cadiz for the use of their facilities and their continuous collaboration to make the meeting successful. He also thanked the members of the International Scientific Committee who reviewed abstracts and papers, ensuring the quality of the published material.

He hoped that the participants found the Conference useful and that it will lead to future collaboration amongst themselves as well as with UCA and WIT. Wessex Institute in particular is always keen to participate in joint activities.

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