Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A Research Cliffhanger Awaits University of Cincinnati Team Heading to Crete


A tiny speck of an island in the broad expanse of the Mediterranean is drowning with tourists. And for that reason, the exquisite Greek island of Santorini awaits an interdisciplinary team of University of Cincinnati students and faculty this summer. That team – having proven itself in other locales in Greece – will serve as an academic version of “Extreme (Tourism) Make-Over” from June 10-August 14.

Photo: Provided by Michael Romanos

On the tiny Greek island of Santorini, a vividly painted village perches precariously at the very lip of a sheer, straight-shot drop of 1,000 feet to the sea below.

While, to the cruise ships below, the village seems carefree, defiantly heedless of all notions of gravity, the cliff clinging Oia (pronounced “ee-a”) is actually grappling with an avalanche of troubles caused by its postcard perfect location and winning beauty.

That’s where an experienced tourism “rapid response team” from the University of Cincinnati comes in. The team, led by Michael Romanos, professor of planning at UC’s prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, has visited municipalities in Crete for four years now, providing on-the-spot aid to underprepared and overwhelmed locales unexpectedly caught in tourism’s rising tide.

Five or 10 years ago, places like Santorini, an island 110 miles north of Crete, were backwaters. Now, they’re tourist boomtowns struggling to cope with the environmental, economic and cultural backlash caused by a deluge of tourists. Just between 1990 and 2000, tourism in Crete jumped by about 50 percent, such that it [tourism] now accounts for about 30 percent of jobs in the region. More than a quarter of Greece’s 10 million annual tourists head for Crete, and tourism now supports about 90 percent of the regional economy in parts of Crete that once relied heavily on agriculture.

The problems are intensified on Santorini. According to Romanos, “You have an island about eight miles long, with 12,000 year-round residents, that receives a huge number of tourists, up to three million of them a year. The carrying capacity of the island is just too small for so many. The beaches and pedestrian streets of the small towns and villages just cannot contain them, and everybody wants space and leaves waste – from cruise ships to the growing number of hotel developments. Transportation and parking and garbage management are nightmares…The infrastructure costs for sewage and imported food supplies are extraordinarily high for the island.”

A native of Crete and an international expert on development in emerging economies, Romanos adds, “Once, Santorini was a small island with a small economy, locally famous for its fava legumes and wines. The men often became fishermen or were sailors in the Greek merchant marine. Now, the island actually has to import fava beans because of their popularity with tourists who want ‘Santorini’ fava legumes….A million visitors a year come to examine the ancient town of Acrotiri that is perfectly preserved under volcanic ash, spewed forth during a enormously destructive eruption…it’s something like the Pompeii of Greece.”

Large employers – like hotel chains owned by non-residents and cruise ships that dump waste in their wake have brought enormous changes to the island’s land- and seascape, as well as altering its culture and economy. Thus, local leaders invited the UC team to come this summer after seeing the work done by similar teams from the university in and around Hersonissos, Crete, for the last four years

There, the UC team conceived of ideas for low-cost, environmentally friendly “tourist” activities that would spread the “tourist wealth” beyond the narrow strip of Crete’s seacoast and beaches. Among the accomplishments of UC faculty and students in and around Hersonissos:
  • 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.

This summer’s multidisciplinary team consists of nine students (six planners and three architects) and Romanos, along with:

  • Carla Chifos, assistant professor of planning
  • Frank Russell, director, UC’s Community Design Center
  • Menelaos Triantafillou, visiting associate professor of planning
  • Frank Wray, associate professor of biology

Summer 2004 will mark the team’s first stay in Santorini, during which they will focus on rapid assessment, evaluation and data collection regarding the island’s problems and priorities. During the coming academic year, these faculty and other students will continue to examine the specific issues facing Santorini. Then, next summer, a larger planning and design team will travel to Santorini to work with residents and island administrators on furthering comprehensive sustainable-development plans.

UC’s work on Santorini is funded by the island’s municipality and by the university’s Institute for Global Studies and Affairs.

Mary Reilly | University of Cincinnati
Further information:

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University

nachricht New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>