Water resources and its close relation with food and energy, was a hot topic in a week-long intensive Urban Lab workshop held in Lloret de Mar last January. A team of experts from the Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF), an organisation linked to the United Nations, worked with local stakeholders to provide fresh and feasible ideas for building resilience in economy and resources.
Infamous for its 1960s mass tourism, Lloret has two clearly distinguishable faces: in winter, it is a small town of 40,000 people on a quiet, beautiful, natural coast surrounded by forest; summer transforms Lloret into a “beach and party” city, the population soars to around 200,000 people, filling hotels, bars and discos. This not only challenges the sleep of local residents but also strains water (and related food and energy) resources during dry Mediterranean summers.
Can Lloret change its image to become an economically diverse, resilient, resource efficient city, hosting diverse tourism that keeps its residents happy in the beautiful old historic centre? Can Lloret set an example for the many tourist towns on the Mediterranean that represent a huge stress on water resources? These were the questions to which the Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF) provided answers during the Urban Lab workshop.
Our Marie Curie and TECNIOSPRING research fellow Dr Natasa Atanasova was invited to the workshop, and contributed to propose a new approach in order to consider water as an integrated part of the city’s green infrastructure. The event was an excellent opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration, and provided a creative environment for a new urban planning that goes hand-in-hand with sustainable management of resources.
You can read Natasa Atanasova’s report from the workshop on the International Water Association (IWA) blog: http://www.iwa-network.org/blog2/towards-resilient-cities-the-lloret-de-mar-urban-lab-experience