Enhanced mobility for sustainable rural tourism_By Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero

Enhanced mobility for sustainable rural tourism_By Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero – see the challenge proposed by the Langhe Monferrato Roero Tourist Board.

THE_TOPIC

The challenge is proposed by the Langhe Monferrato Roero Tourist Board. Langhe Monferrato Roero is a UNESCO Landscape Heritage area characterised by a peculiar vineyard landscapes. It is located between the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo, and comprises 100 municipalities with an average population of a few hundred inhabitants. After the inclusion in the UNESCO List, the area has experienced a significant growth of tourists driven by the intention to experience Piedmont’s hilly vineyard landscape and its eno-gastronomic assets.

The growing impact of tourism contributed to the emergence of incremental awareness of the need for a higher sustainability, understood as the development of wine-related tourism activities that are compatible with the sustainable development of the territory. In this light, it is of strategic importance to identify alternative and sustainable mobility systems, capable of satisfying the need to experience the territory and its assets, while ensuring their preservation, sustainable development and fruition.

THE_CHALLENGE

In recent years, the Langhe Monferrato Roero area has seen a sharp increase in the number of tourists, in most cases from abroad and with little capacity for independent mobility in the area. Hence the need to understand how to address innovation in tourist mobility, going beyond the private-car model. The limited availability of tourist-friendly transport in an area where inhabitants and tourists travel by their own means due to the scarcity of an adequate public transport system constitutes a serious challenge. The impact of private motorised means of transport on an area that is unique in the world and needs to be preserved and developed sustainably is indeed a challenge, that needs to be weighted vis-à-vis tourists’ mobility needs and the quality of their experience.

Acknowledging the above, the proposed challenge concerns the design of sustainable transport models in rural areas with diffuse anthropisation. The teams will investigate, devise and design sustainable transport models and solutions suited to the needs of tourists and the territory.

Langhe-Roero and Monferrato for sustainable tourism – Locals talking

On Tuesday, September the 20th, 2022, students and researchers from the SPOT project had the opportunity to participate in a session called ‘Locals talking’ organized by the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning of Politecnico di Torino. The session took place in Serralunga d’Alba, and was moderated by Prof. Giancarlo Cotella. In this occasion, they have been discussing the challenges and opportunities for a more sustainable development of tourism activities in the area Langhe-Roero and Monferrato.

The following stakeholders participated in a session: Aldo Buzio (Ideazione Srl), Claudio Boasso (President of Pro Loco Association of Serralunga d’Alba), Dr. Sergio Moscone (Major of the Serralunga d’Alba Municipality), Enrico Rivella (ISMEA RRN), Enrico Rivetto (Wine producer), and Silvia Soldano (LINKS Foundation).

We were introduced to the area by the President of Serralunga d’Alba Pro Loco Claudio Boasso. Pro Loco is municipal’s spin-off responsible for local development, including tourism. One of the recent concerns of this agent, especially in the recent years when the tourism fluxes have been increasing incrementally, is to make tourism development more sustainable.

Tourism and enogastronomy are the basis for economy of the area. For example, in Serralunga d’Alba, a town inhabited by approximately 500 people, are located as many as 30 wine cellars, and another 50 wine enterprises have acquired vineyards on the territory of the municipality. During last years, tourism has not only increased, but it has significantly changed. This is the result of wine tourism development supported by investments in the development of activities that runs in parallel to the latter, as well as to alternative transportation facilities to better link and interconnect the area. Buying vine is no longer the only purpose of visiting the area, and the region is no longer targeting only one-day visitors. Foreign tourists are hosted mostly during summer for longer stays, Italians are accommodated here mostly during weekends. Autumn is the period preferred by tourist interested in enogastronomy. It is worth to mention that, in the same days as our study visit, the case study area of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato is hosting the UNWTO global conference on enogastronomy tourism.

The meeting with local actors started with the welcome speech by Dr. Sergio Moscone, Major of the Serralunga d’Alba. Then, all local stakeholders had a chance to present themselves and their view on the challenges that prevent a more sustainable development of tourism activities in the case study area. After a first roundtable, the speakers were interacting the researchers and students from the SPOT team, answering their questions and further elaborating their thoughts.

Silvia Soldano represents LINKS Foundation and was part of the technical advisory team preparing the application of the case study area to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. She argued that during the application stage, the knowledge about the local exceptional identity and heritage was taken directly from the local stakeholders. She explained that the assessment of the tourism carry capacity is one of the activities recommended by the UNESCO. Thanks to the analysis done, we know that the local inhabitants do not aim to mass tourism, as wouldn’t feel comfortable with shuttle busses bring hordes of tourists to the area. They are rather interested in a more diffuse and sustainable tourism, that spread around the area in a softer way.

In a further discussion it was explained that tour operators organize in the region of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato educational tours mainly. The main target are schools rather than other groups. The reason that other markets are not considered is that mass tourism is seen as unsustainable. Thanks to the work of a destination management organization (DMO), the shift from big international groups towards family tourism has already happened. We were explained that in Italy, DMOs are private institutions owned by tourism enterprises and actors. However, the DMOs operate on a regional level. At the local level, responsibilities of DMO are covered by Pro Loco. However, tourism is not the only focus of this type of agency.

Enrico Rivetto is a local owner of vineyard, understanding his role through a rather innovative approach. When the case study area became very popular, he realized that ‘green’ and ‘sustainability’ are just empty words. According to his perspective, before talking about tourism and sustainability, we should ask ourselves what can we do individually to change the status quo. “How I can change my vinery” was the very first question that Enrico Rivetto asked himself. He believes that changing our small worlds can make the whole world better. “We are what we do!”. He argued that the revolution which is expected in terms of environmental issues is rather going to occur as the sum of individual decision, than as the consequence of a collective effort piloted from the top down. However, local aggregation of like-minded individuals from the bottom-up is crucial to upscale the result of their action-

Aldo Buzio, the project managet of Ideazione consultancy company, contribute to orient the development of tourism activities in the area by offering services for local spatial planning. The company is cooperating with already mentioned LINKS Foundation. For now, the focus of the company is to deliver tourism strategies for both cities and regions. Shift from broad holistic strategy of development to creation of tourism oriented plans and projects is the general idea of planning supported by the company.

Enrico Rivella work is to make agricultural activities more sustainable, mainly in terms of environmental sustainability. Sustainability of cultivation is one of the issues important from the perspective of the case study area of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato. Cultivation of grapes contributes to the cultural landscape protection. However, excessive increase of cultivation results in some risks affecting the traditional landscape, e.g. deforestation and soil erosion. The situation of the soil is getting worse, due to both excessive cultivation and climate change. “Respect the land!” Enrico Rivella said. The experience of food and vine is place-embedded, and comes from a thorough understanding of local environmental conditions and traditions. There is no outstanding tourism experience with no sustainability. The cultural landscape is a significant asset for tourism development and, as such, its quality must be preserved.

The President of the Pro Loco Claudio Boasso is also the owner of vineyard. He argued that sustainability is an impellent problem of the area. There are a lot of anticipatory experiences towards a more sustainable production of wine that should be confronted and then combined. Synergizing and integration of various local actions is the main goal of the Pro Loco agency. It started in late 1970’s when trying to apply integrated approach when selling vine on international markets. And is now focusing on the promotion of an integrated tourist offer. “Were to go”, and “what to do” are the main questions asked by tourist to the Pro Loco agency. In this light, to link and jointly promote all the activities and assets that the territory offer is becoming a more and more central aim.

Potential clashes between tourism, local development and landscape protection were discussed. However, the excessive concentration of tourism in particular places and times is neither evidenced nowadays, nor expected in the future. On the other hand, local actors argued that any development of the infrastructure aimed at increasing tourism accessibility should be developed keeping in mind the preservation of environmental and landscape values.

Broad understanding of the local reality and its many challenges is a must. It is not possible to solve them from a narrow perspective. Biodynamic agriculture is to rebuild an efficient and balanced agriculture organism. Financial resources are a very serious problem as well. If the land is extremely expensive, it is not easy to motivate farmers to differentiate the production, and to divide the area of cultivation into many different species, which is the foundation of biodynamic farming. However, biodynamic farming is against mainstream economy. Thus, with no change of the development paradigm, it would be difficult to change anything inside the economic system. A similar balance should be achieved when talking about tourism.

From the perspective of mayor, to improve the present situation is a rather complex task, that should be tackled through multiple, parallel perspectives. Care of inhabitants and their needs, care of agriculture, and care of cultural landscape which is already appreciated by the UNESCO are the most important concerns of the area. Cultural activities are unfortunately developed for tourists, with limited focus on locals. So, cultural tourism has a significant potential. However, participants of the session complained that this kind of offer could be more oriented on inhabitants of the area.

SPOT project team celebrated 20th Anniversary of ERDN

Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała represented SPOT project team during celebratory seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN (European Rural Development Network). The event was held on September 14-16, 2022 in Mielno (Poland), and organized in cooperation with the Koszalin University of Technology. The title of the seminar was ‘Cooperation and experience of science in support of policies for rural development’.

The celebratory seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN was the outstanding opportunity to meet all members of the network. The ERDN was established in 2002 as a forum for exchange of ideas and research experience and a platform for cooperation between Polish and European scientific and research institutions in the field of rural development and agriculture, especially in the perspective of the European Union enlargement and its future policies.

Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała contributed to the seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN by the presentation entitled ‘Going back/forward to rurality: Case of tourism in Bełchatów industrial district’. The goal of the presentation was to discuss rurality as the neglected context of the wider perspective of co-evolution of tourism and core industries of the Bełchatów industrial district: lignite mining and energy production. The Bełchatów industrial district in Central Poland is the case study area. It consists of the city of Bełchatów and thirteen rural communes. The case study area was delimited based on industrial transformation of rural landscape resulting from lignite mining and energy production and fitted into administrative divisions at local level.

The roots of tourism development in Bełchatów industrial district date back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. At that time, it did not stand out against the economic background of the region, remaining a typically agricultural area with limited expansion of holiday homes along newly built railway line connecting Warsaw and Vienna. The first triggering event for the development relied on the discovery of rich and accessible lignite deposits. Since the mid-1970s, the case study area has undergone rapid and permanent structural changes with unprecedented development of opencast mining and energy production. That included stimulation of leisure and tourism through organizational and financial support targeting employees and their families, as well as direct investment in facilities for holidaymakers (social tourism).

Economic transition is considered as a second triggering event shaping co-evolution of tourism and industrial sectors of Bełchatów industrial district. In 1990, lignite mining and energy production were marketed in Poland. Bełchatów Mining and Energy Complex was included in assets of the company currently called PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna (Eng. Polish Energy Group). Development of a large enterprise in Bełchatów industrial district stimulated significant increase of both demand and supply of business tourism. In 2014 the exhibition of ‘PGE Giganty Mocy’ (PGE Giants of Power) was opened. This event triggered the development of educational tourism in the case study area.

The future of Bełchatów industrial district is shaped by the European Green Deal and implementation of Just Transition Mechanism. To make the European Union (EU) climate-neutral by 2050, the lignite mine in Bełchatów industrial district will be closed, and the way the power plant works will be transformed. It is proposed that tourism, in particular leisure tourism, might become one of new developmental functions of Bełchatów industrial district. It should be emphasized that all mentioned processes of both mass tourism and industry development were triggered by political decisions at regional, national and European level.

The perspective of the local stakeholders is substantially different from supralocal once. Local actions groups operating in the case study area identified folklore, history, local traditions, culture, and material heritage, as well as – interestingly – contemporary economic and social challenges, as the most significant elements of local identity. Sustainable tourism development is directly indicated as a way to increase social participation and social capital. Thus, promoting agritourism and ecotourism combined with organic farming and ecological food processing is requested.

In both spatial and development strategies in the case study area it is clearly stated that the focus on quality of local spatial policy and spatial order will affect the increase of supralocal interest in developing areas for second homes construction. It should be indicated as a great chance for Bełchatów industrial district to keep relations between the inevitable outflowing population and its recent places of permanent stay. The path from industrial dwelling-places towards rural second homes should be considered as the bottom-up alternative for top-down decisions. This is the path going back/forward to rurality.

Programme of study visit to Italy and local seminar

See the programme of study visit to Italy organised by the SPOT project. We are going to concern the case study of “vineyard landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato”. All activities are presented in Italian time zone (CEST). Students and academicians are requested to take own laptops. You might also download the programme of the study visit to Italy as a PDF file, and the programme of the local seminar (PDF file).

Notes

September 19, 2022, Monday, Study visit Day 1

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
09:45 – 10:00Meeting at Castello del ValentinoRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:00 – 10:30WelcomeGiancarlo Cotella (POLITO, SPOT Partner Leader)
Andrea Bocco (DIST, Head of Department)
Marco Santangelo (POLITO, School of Planning and Design Vice-Head)
Tomasz Napierala (ULODZ, SPOT Project Manager)
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 11:30Introduction to the Case Study AreaMarta Bottero / Vanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
11:30 – 13:00Spatial Planning, Landscape Planning and Tourism in ItalyGiancarlo Cotella / Emma Salizzoni (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
13:00 – 14:30Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club
14:30 – 15:30Subdivision into Groups & Meeting with the Tutors7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
15:30 – 16:15World Heritage Sites – Cultural Landscapes and TourismYasemine Sarikaya Levent (UMERSIN)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
16:15 – 17:00The Challenges of Climate ChangeVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
17:00 – 17:30Break
17:30 – 18:15Enhancing Sustainable Tourism in Rural Areas – Mobility ChallengesElisabetta Vitale Brovarone (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
18:15 onwardsFree Evening

September 20, 2022, Tuesday, Study visit Day 2

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
08:30 – 09:45BUS travels to the case study areaMarta Bottero / Vanessa Assumma (POLITO)Castello del Valentino – Serralunga d’Alba
09:45 – 10:15Exploratory walk in Serralunga d’Alba TownSerralunga d’Alba
10:15 – 12:15“Locals talking” – Discussion with various stakeholders from the case study areaVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Maria Cappellano Square, Serralunga d’Alba
12:30 – 13:30Lunch time (Lunch box)Verduno Belvedere
14:00 – 16:00Visit in the WiMu Wine Museum in BaroloFalletti Castle, Falletti Square, Barolo
16:00 – 17:30Scenic walk from Barolo to La Morra BelvedereBarolo – La Morra (Download GPX file for your GPS device)
17:30 – 18:45BUS travels back to TorinoLa Morra – Castello del Valentino

September 21, 2022, Wednesday, Study visit Day 3

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
09:00 – 10:30Workshop: Stakeholder AnalysisKatarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała / Marta Nalej (ULODZ)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 12:30Students working in groups on stakeholder analysis7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club
14:00 – 15:00Workshop: How to Support Decision Making EffectivelyVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
15:00 – 17:00Participated SWOT Analysis: Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
17:00 – 17:30Break
17:30 – 19:00Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
20:30 onwardsSocial dinnerLo Sbarco – Via Silvio Pellico 5

September 22, 2022, Thursday, Study visit Day 4

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
09:00 – 12:30Workshop: Writing Actionable Policy RecommendationsKatarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała / Marta Nalej (ULODZ), Yasemine Sarikaya Levent, Tolga Levent (UMERSIN)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 12:30SPOT Consortium MeetingIn parallel to the working groups (max 2 persons per every SPOT Project Partner)Room Astengo
12:30-14:00Lunch break
14:00 – 18:30Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group will be supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
18:30 onwardsFree (working…) evening

September 23, 2022, Friday, Local seminar

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
09:00 – 09:15Welcome speechGiancarlo Cotella (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
09:15 – 09:30Presentation of the SPOT ProjectTomasz Napierała / Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (ULODZ)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
09:30 – 11:00Students’ presentation. Round I15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes of discussion for each of 3-4 groupsRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
11:00 – 11:30Break
11:30 – 13:00Students’ presentation. Round II15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes of discussion for each of 3-4 groupsRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
13:00 – 14:30Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club

September 23, 2022, Friday, Study visit Day 5

TimeActivityPresenter(s)Venue
14:30 – 16:00Evaluation of educational effectiveness of teaching on the spotInstructors (2 per group) will conduct focus with each of students’ groupRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
16:00 – 16:30Summary of the study visit to ItalyRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino

Łódź: The city of ITC2022

General info about Łódź: the city of ITC2022

Łódź is the second largest city in Poland area-wise (293.2 m2) and the third largest population-wise (694 990). It is situated in the very centre of the country, just 120 km away from the capital. The location at the crossing point of two main communication routes in Poland makes it a very important spot on the logistic map of Poland.

The city was established in 1423 however, its true development started in 1821 when the central government decided to create a textile settlement in the city. The following years saw the arrival of specialists and workers from all over Europe. The city developed rapidly as new production plants and large industrial plants opened. In the years 1821-1939, the population grew 67 100% (only Chicago was developing at a quicker pace at that time!). This is how Łódź became one of the most important textile centres not only in Europe, but in the entire world.

The current economy of Łódź is based on the service sector. The largest international companies are opening their branches here. Łódź is also a centre of creative industries attracting a growing number of people from different sectors, such as IT, commerce, real estate, and sustainable development. The city is also an important cultural centre with 26 museums and 16 theatres. Łódź is also one of the most important academic centres in Poland boasting 28 higher education institutions with more than 70 thousand students.

Despite its dynamic growth and constant changes, Łódź does not forget its roots in the 19th century textile industry. Old factories located in the city centre are not being demolished, but converted into service centres and tourist attractions. Historical pre-war tenement houses are being restored in order to preserve the original 19th century city layout.

Transport information

Łódź is located in the heart of New Europe. Thanks to its central location the city is in fact served by two international airports: the local Lodz Central Poland Airport (LCJ) has regular flights to 6 European cities: London-Stansted (STN), East Midlands (EMA), Dublin (DUB), Brussels-Charleroi (CRL), Milan-Bergamo (BGY) and Alicante (ALC). You can get to the city centre from the airport by bus number 65B (25 minutes), or by taxi (15 minutes).

The main international airport near the city is the Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) with almost 200 flight connections from all over the world. The airport is situated 120 km from the city. You can get to the city from Warsaw Chopin Airport directly by Flixbus (2 hrs) or by train with one change in Warsaw (2,5 hrs).

Łódź has quite good developed public transportation system with buses and trams. The local carrier MPK Łódź provides an online directions search. You can buy a special tourist ticket for 3 days. The ticket is available in Tourist Information at 28 Piotrkowska Street and in chosen hotels. There are also several taxi companies operating in the city such as: 400.pl, 800300200.pl or green-cab.pl. Navigation through the city is easier with Google Maps or JakDojade app.

Hotels

See the list of hotels offering discounted room rates to ITC2022 participants. When booking, be sure to mention that you are a participant of the “International Tourism Congress”.

Hampton by Hilton Łódź:

  • 370 PLN / night – SGL room with breakfast included
  • 425 PLN / night – DBL/TWIN rooms with breakfasts included
  • contact: sebastian.michniewski@hbhlodz.com

Hotel Novotel Łódź Centrum:

  • 350 PLN / night – SGL room with breakfast included
  • 390 PLN / night – DBL/TWIN rooms with breakfasts included
  • contact: h7830@accor.com

Vienna House Andel’s Łódź:

  • 15% discount
  • contact: reservation.andels-lodz@viennahouse.com

The Loom Hotel:

  • 20% discount
  • contact: recepcja@loom.com.pl

Hotel Puro Łódź:

  • 20% discount
  • contact: lodz@purohotel.pl

Tourist attractions in Łódź

Piotrkowska Street – one of the most renowned streets in the country and also the longest Polish promenade forms a symbol of the city. It is a pedestrian zone surrounded by tenement houses and palaces from 19th century that house local shops, restaurants, cafés, restaurant yards, pubs, and music clubs. Piotrkowska pulsates with life all year round.

Manufaktura – One of the biggest Polish shopping and entertainment centre filled with restaurants, shops and cultural institutions. Back in 19th century it was a huge textile factory complex with its own fire station and power plant. After restoration in 2006 this extremely successful combination of history and modernity has been granted awards on numerous occasions.

EC1 Łódź – City of Culture – constructed in 1906 former power station converted into a modern Centre for Science and Technology. Apart from exhibitions such as “how the electric energy is made” the Centre also houses one of the most advanced planetariums in Central Europe. EC1 is an open space for artists of various fields, adapted for individual creative work, workshops, and group events. It is a home to the National Center for Film Culture, Łódź Film Commission, and Center for Comics and Interactive Narrative.

Księży Młyn – Former factory-residential complex from 19th century. Back in the days it was a self-sufficient city inside a city. It included factory buildings, together with a huge castle-like cotton mill, warehouses, workers’ houses, school, fire station etc. Nowadays, it forms more intimate district in which you can find local cafes and bars.

Central Museum of Textiles – It is located in so called “White Factory” and has the largest collections of artistic fabrics and weaves as well as outfits used in the 19th and 20th century. In the back part of the museum, there is an Open-Air Museum of Lodz Wooden Architecture with the typical 19th century houses.

Piotrkowska 217 – Not so long ago it was an empty yard, now it’s a place where gastronomy, culture, entertainment and art live together and express themselves during events such as exhibitions, workshops, concerts and festivals.

OFF Piotrkowska – Former factory now turned into local restaurants, design and creative industry complex. It is located at the very central part of the city next to main street – Piotrkowska.

Museum of Łódź – The museum is located in the magnificent mansion from 19th century. Apart from the exhibition of its interiors from the turn of the 19th and 20th century and the exhibition chronicling the history of the industrial Lodz, a number of rooms have been dedicated to artists related to the city and those who were meritorious to the city’s inhabitants.

Film Museum – the museum helps visitors get familiar with old film equipment and objects related to the film industry. It is located in the 19th century palace, next to the famous Lodz Film School campus.

Museum of Art MS1 & MS2 – The collection displayed at the Museum of Art is primarily focused on the art of the 20th century. It is an exceptional collection as it was created by the artists themselves when they donated their works to the museum.

Street Art – The walls of over 170 buildings in the centre of Lodz are covered with huge paintings – so called murals. They makes Łódź the largest urban street art gallery in Poland. The city is also filled with street art installations. The most impressive ones are: “Birth of the Day” at Więckowskiego 4 and “Rose Passage” at Piotrkowska 3 where all the walls of a backyard have been covered with the countless pieces of broken mirrors that form hundreds of rose-shaped patterns. At Piotrkowska 165 you can also find a monument of a unicorn – the brand new symbol of Łódź.

Konrad Czapiewski died on August 25, 2022

Konrad Czapiewski died on August 25, 2022, during his trip to Mexico. This is shocking and devastating news for the whole community of the SPOT project. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends for your loss.

Konrad Czapiewski led the SPOT project’s team of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation Polish Academy of Sciences. He was a human geographer, an associate professor at the Department of Rural Geography and Local Development. Konrad was one of the most active members of the Polish Geographical Society, national representative of the Association of Geographical Societies in Europe EUGEO, known and extremely liked in the international geographic community. His interests focused on the subject of rural development.

Konrad was a very-best friend for many of us. He was always cheerful and optimistic about life. He talked a lot and beautifully about travelling, which was his greatest passion. Nothing was impossible for him, so he willingly offered advice on many spheres of everyday life and work. We will all remember his brilliant comments in ongoing scientific discussions during our meetings. Konrad was a person with an extraordinary geographical sensitivity to the surrounding world, which he was able to observe closely.

There are common dreams, ideas, already started publications, projects and initiatives that we will have to implement and develop, unfortunately, without his participation.

Rest in peace our dearest Friend!

SPOT project contributes to the Annual AESOP Congress 2022

Project SPOT actively contributes to the Annual AESOP Congress 2022 ‘Space for Species: Redefining Spatial Justice’ in Tartu (Estonia), July 25-29, 2022.

Just green transition – Polish case study of co-evolution of tourism and heavy industries

The SPOT project team had the opportunity to present one of our case studies during the Annual AESOP Congress 2022 in Tartu. The session chaired by Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (University of Lodz, SPOT) was about culture and tourism. During the session, the SPOT project’s researchers from the University of Lodz (Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała, Marta Nalej, Tomasz Napierała, and Iwona Pielesiak) delivered the presentation entitled ‘Lignite mining and energy production in Bełchatów industrial region: a threat or opportunity for tourism development?’.

In Bełchatów industrial region, all tourism changes have been and will be related to transformative moments such as the development and then the extinction of the core developmental functions in the region: lignite mining and energy production. Exploration of co-evolution of tourism and both of industrial sectors is the focus of a case study conducted by SPOT project’s researchers from the University of Lodz. Recently, the decision on liquidation of the lignite mine and power plant is a consequence of the EU policy related to reducing the use of coal in the energy sector and switching to renewable energy. The Bełchatów Power Plant is responsible for the largest emissions of carbon dioxide in the entire EU.

The announcement of the closure plan of the power plant and the lignite mine was a necessary step in obtaining funds from the Just Transition Fund. It forced both the regional authorities and the state company that owns the complex to set a schedule to shut down the lignite mine (until 2038) and the power plant (2030-2036). This will result in workplaces losses as the employment in the energy complex in Bełchatów is more than 14,500 people. About 4,500 people work in the mine and about 3,000 in the power plant. Another almost 7,000 people are employed in subsidiaries. These numbers should be confronted with the fact that the case study area is populated by more than 130 thousands of inhabitants for now. Just green transition of the Bełchatów industrial region results in substantial economic, social, and demographic consequences.

The fundamental goal of the transformation should be, on the one hand, to convert the economy to modern and green technologies, especially in the area of energy. As the energy infrastructure is an unquestionably strong side of the Bełchatów region. The economic diversification of the region should also be one of the transformation priorities, but it is necessary to focus on the use of existing potentials. The transformation of the Bełchatów industrial district also requires the recultivation and revitalization of areas degraded by open-cast lignite mining. It is expected that tourism, in particular leisure tourism, might become one of the core functions of the Bełchatów industrial region, and a chance for the regional economy to be impacted by the loss of a significant number of workplaces. The recultivation plan is already partially implemented. The Kamieńska mountain was formed at the external dump of the Bełchatów field. Using that, a 760-metre long ski route was created. In the summer, Kamieńska mountain is available for cyclists and off-road vehicles. In total, the area of 7,886 ha will be recultivated. The main focus of the recultivation will be afforestation. It is also planned to create a water reservoir in part of the present Bełchatów field. The process is expected to last until 2070.

Some inconsistencies of the recultivation plan should be indicated. Neighbouring areas of the Bełchatów excavation field are planned to be used as a municipal waste dump, water reservoir, and recreational centre at the same time. There is also a huge time gap between the moment when the lignite mine and the power plant will be shut down (2030-2038), and the moment when the water reservoir will be created and the area will be ready to launch the recreational centre (2070). Moreover, in the strategy for just green transition of Bełchatów industrial district it is estimated that mass leisure tourism development based on a recreational centre will allow to create 50 new workplaces only. Last but not least, the exclusion of local communities from strategic and spatial planning should be mentioned as well. It resulted in significant inconsistencies between the territorial just transition plan for Bełchatów industrial district on the one hand, and local strategies and master plans on the other. While the supralocal document is focused on the development of mass leisure tourism, local strategies and plans mainly consider the development of second homes. All of this brings us to the most fundamental question of planning reminded by Maroš Finka (Slovak University of Technology, President of AESOP) during the opening ceremony of Annual AESOP Congress 2022: Should we plan for people or with people?

Social and territorial impact of just green transition

The SPOT project team joined the round table of Annual AESOP Congress 2022 led by Kejt Dhrami (Polis University, Co-PLAN Institute for Habitat Development) entitled ‘Fit For Green: Social and Territorial Impact of Just Green Transition’. Giancarlo Cotella (Politecnico di Torino, SPOT) was one of the contributors.

The discussion started with regional similarities and specificities of just green transition. Maroš Finka (Slovak University of Technology, President of AESOP) emphasised that diversity is the main common feature of regions significant from the perspective of green transition. Diversity should be discussed in the context of geographical proximities and dependencies. He noticed that Russian aggression over Ukraine moves Europe ahead, which also refers to the problem of just a green transition. However, any action cannot be successful without the focus on: integration (interdependencies between actions and territories of their implementation), synergies (between all single actions undertaken), and efficiency (as we have limited resources to undertake actions).

Giancarlo Cotella noticed that it is difficult to identify regional specificities of just green transition across Europe. ‘Low-carbon’, ‘post-carbon’ or ‘zero-carbon’? – it is very challenging to discuss EU policies when the goals of those policies are changing so fast. On the other hand, green Europe and just Europe are seen for now as the two main long-term goals of the future Europe. ‘No one left behind…’ is the main construct of social justice – Carlos Tapia (Nordregio) mentioned. Transitions affecting both nature and societies (including their economies) are difficult to engineer, and their outcomes are hard to predict. Giancarlo Cotella emphasised that it is a great progress that the EU does not sweep under the carpet the negative social and economic effects of a green transition.

Thanks to Maroš Finka and Bianca Mitrica (Institute of Geography, Romanian Academy) we had an opportunity to address the issues from the national perspectives of Slovakia and Romania respectively.

Maroš Finka concluded that the EU is at the end of the process of transfers addressing solidarity. Now, we are shifting to the EU focused on transfers addressing local services. We understand that not every region or locality has to be industrial, but every area can contribute in some way to the development of the EU. Rodon Miraj (Open Regional Fund for South East Europe) noticed that in a discourse on just green transition, gender issues are missing, especially that it is well evidenced that women are mostly affected by negative effects of economic transitions. Ledio Allkja (Co-PLAN) concluded that the biggest question is how we can go from the neoliberal economic-centric approach to more just and green. There is also a big question about the winners and losers of just green transition.

Giancarlo Cotella chosen as the new Secretary General of AESOP

Last but not least, we are pleased to inform you that Giancarlo Cotella (leader of the Politecnico di Torino team in a project SPOT) has been chosen as the Secretary General of AESOP. Giancarlo Cotella has over 15 years of international research experience on the comparative analysis of territorial governance and spatial planning systems in Europe and beyond with particular reference to the impact of EU policies on domestic contexts. His work focused extensively on the potentials for transferability of good practices and policy recommendations within the European space. Congratulations!

BUP PhD workshop “Societies, Cultures, Critical Theories”

PhD workshop “Societies, Cultures, Critical Theories” will take place on 6-7 October 2022 at Södertörn University.

Deadline for applications is 22 August 2022.

Read more about the workshop and how to apply on the Södertörn University website.

The upcoming PhD workshop “Societies, Cultures, Critical Theories” aims at strengthening collaboration and find novel ways of interaction between PhD students from participating universities of The Baltic University Programme (BUP), in the name of supporting the key role that universities play in a democratic, peaceful and sustainable development. Drawing on peer-to-peer learning, the workshop offers the possibility for doctoral students to present and receive feedback on their own research, as well as to comment on research by fellow PhD students. In addition, it constitutes a platform for initiating possible collaborations, networks and joint publications. The workshop will take place on 6-7 October 2022.

The workshop focuses in particular on PhD level research in the humanities, arts, and social studies. We especially encourage participation in this workshop for PhD students from the following subjects: aesthetics, anthropology, archaeology, arts, cultural studies, ethnology, history, history of ideas, languages, literature, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, but PhD students from all disciplines are welcome!

Participants that take part during the whole workshop will receive a Certificate of Attendance, issued by the BUP Coordinating Secretariat.

There is no participation fee and accommodation as well as lunches will be provided by BUP (Södertörn University). Participants are expected to cover the travel costs to and from Södertörn University themselves. We are aiming for an in-person event, however, the alternative of a hybrid format remains open.

The SPOT project at the IGU Congress in Paris

The team of Erasmus+ SPOT participated in the congress of the International Geographical Union “Time for geographers”, which took place in Paris, University of Sorbonne, between July 18th and 22nd, 2022.

After a few IGU conferences held online in 2020 and 2021, almost 2,200 geographers from 92 countries all around the world finally gathered “face to face” at this prestigious event. Also, an additional 300 scholars were present online. This IGU Congress was the Centennial Congress of the International Geographical Union, which celebrated 100 years of regular meetings. The host and main organiser of this extraordinary event was the French Committee of Geography (CNFG).

After opening the IGU Congress and addressing the contemporary challenges of geography and geographers by keynote speakers, the congress consisted of numerous round tables, almost a hundred scientific sessions, exhibitions and various social events.

Some outputs of the SPOT project have been presented during the scientific session entitled “Tourism governance in the Anthropocene: enhancing landscape, local knowledge and pro-environmental behaviour for facing environmental crisis” organised by the IGU Commission Geography of Governance. Presentation entitled “Diverse challenges of tourism spatial planning: evidence from Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Turkey” was presented by Denis Cerić and Konrad Czapiewski from the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning – Polish Academy of Sciences.

Denis Cerić and Konrad Czapiewski presented the outcome of the SPOT project regarding tourism governance development in five different countries. Answers on two research questions have been elaborated: 1) How the challenges of spatial planning in tourism destinations are addressed in the strategic documents of five selected European countries – Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Turkey?, and 2) Which changes in spatial planning of tourism could be observed regarding the COVID-19 pandemic?

Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Turkey are countries characterised by substantially different locations within the continent, different importance of tourism in creating national income, different nature of tourism, and different ways in which tourism is managed and planned. Authors argued that the comparison of such different countries can make an important contribution to discussions on addressing tourism spatial planning challenges in strategic documents prepared by central and sub-central governments. The research’s empirical layer was based on peer-reviewed theoretical and case study reports on spatial planning systems, concepts and tourism developments in mentioned five countries developed by SPOT project beneficiaries.

Content analysis has been employed to identify the challenges for spatial planning in observed countries and the output summarises and underlines the common challenges and those specific to a particular area. Common elements of tourism spatial planning could be found in planning tradition, regulatory layer, the desire for a fast response to the challenges of socio-economic development processes and challenges related to the social dimension, and other various common challenges of spatial planning of tourism destinations.

The chosen topic fit well inside this session of IGU Congress: a couple of questions being asked after the presentation, a few comments and interest in the SPOT project itself, and the appreciation from the sessions’ chair Federica Burini (University of Bergamo). The topic will be published as a chapter in a SPOT project’s book entitled “Contemporary challenges of spatial planning in tourism destinations” edited by Tomasz Napierała, Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (University of Lodz) and Giancarlo Cotella (Politecnico di Torino). Follow our project for detailed results and conclusions – the publication is in preparation.

Committees of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress

See the Committees of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress. Meet the people responsible for organisation of ITC2022. Members of CiTUR ITC Board were elected in accordance with an amendment to the CiTUR Regulation of December 13, 2021.

Organising Committee of ITC2022:

  • Katarzyna LEŚNIEWSKA-NAPIERAŁA (University of Lodz), Poland – Chairperson, President of the Organising Committee
  • Tomasz NAPIERAŁA (University of Lodz), Poland – Co-Chairperson, Secretary General of the ITC2022 Scientific Board
  • Eugénia DEVILE (Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra), Portugal – Co-Chairperson
  • Catarina Antónia MARTINS (Polytechnic Institute of Braganca), Portugal – Co-Chairperson
  • Agnieszka KOWALCZUK (University of Lodz), Poland
  • Tomasz MINKIEWICZ (University of Lodz), Poland
  • Marta NALEJ (University of Lodz), Poland
  • Patryk OŻADOWICZ (University of Lodz), Poland
  • Iwona PIELESIAK (University of Lodz), Poland
  • Joanna ULAŃSKA (University of Lodz), Poland

CiTUR ITC Board:

  • Vitor AMBRÓSIO (Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo do Estoril), Portugal
  • Eddy CASTILLO (Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas), Portugal
  • Maria Eugénia DEVILLE (Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra), Portugal
  • João Paulo JORGE (Politécnico de Leiria), Portugal
  • Catarina MARTINS (Instituto Politécnico de Bragança), Portugal
  • Filipa PERDIGÃO (Universidade do Algarve), Portugal
  • Susana TELES (Universidade da Madeira), Portugal

Scientific Board of ITC2022

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