3rd International Conference on Defence Sites: Heritage and Future
4 - 6 May 2016.
The 3rd International Conference on Defence Sites: Heritage and Future will be reconvened in 2016 in Alicante following the success of the previous meetings held in Portsmouth, UK in 2012 and the Arsenale di Venezia, Italy in 2014. The conference series launched by the Wessex Institute is co-organised on this occasion by the University of Alicante, Spain.
Redundant defence sites offer a range of opportunities to planners, architects and local communities to redevelop large areas, bringing new life to often neglected parts of towns. The opportunities are common to many countries and the papers to be presented at the conference will stress this common feature and help to share experiences of the transformation of defence sites to civilian uses around the world. The conference objective is to raise the knowledge of the scale, design and functions of defence sites. It brings a better understanding of the issues raised by their redundancy and the implications of different disposal processes for the land.
The re-use of defence sites also raises questions regarding the need to recover brownfields and contaminated land which can have far-reaching legal responsibilities and environmental consequences. Another aim of the conference is to discuss the need to achieve sustainable development which involves issues related to maintenance and conservation, as well as built and natural environmental controls, while responding to the needs and aspirations of the community.
1st International Conference on Islamic Heritage Architecture and Art
17 - 19 May 2016. Valéncia, Spain
The Conference aims to highlight the importance of Islamic Heritage Architecture and Art to the world and its influence across different regions.
The Meeting will deal with the design of many types of buildings in Islamic countries, including not only the better known public buildings such as mosques, mausolea, citadels and forts, but also houses and gardens, engineering works such as bridges and dams, irrigation systems and many others which have also had a profound impact on society. Islamic Architecture has enriched design with a wide variety of structural shapes, including among others, unique arches, a wide variety of vaults and domes which allow for new forms to be developed. The influence that these structural forms have in non-Islamic countries will be one of the themes of the Conference.
There is much to learn from past experiences to arrive at solutions which are environmentally sound and sustainable in the long term. As conventional energy resources become scarce, the Islamic design heritage can offer invaluable lessons on how to deal in an efficient manner with cases of hard and extreme environments. Traditional architecture and urban environment in most Islamic countries is now being eroded by overemphasis on global type of architecture and city planning. As a consequence, many regions are losing their identity. The Conference will aim to review these developments in the light of what the classical Islamic urban designs and architectures have to offer modern society. An equally important part of the Meeting will analyse the materials employed and the types of structural elements, particularly those unique to Islamic architecture. Associated topics of discussion will include music, textiles and ceramics, which are essential parts of the architectural fabric.
The Conference will encompass papers on construction materials, including not only stone and brick but also more perishable materials such as adobe, wood and reeds. Preserving that Heritage also requires the development of appropriate conservation techniques in response to the different materials used and the ways structural forms work, including under extreme conditions, such as earthquakes. Papers relevant to the influence of Islamic architecture on the development of new structural form, shape and design in the Western countries are particularly welcome. The Meeting will be of interest to all researchers, practitioners and government employees actively involved in the topic of Islamic Heritage Architecture and Art.
7th International Conference on Sustainable Tourism
18 - 20 May 2016. Valéncia, Spain
Sustainable Tourism 2016 is the seventh meeting organised in this successful series. The first was held in Segovia (2004), followed by Bologna (2006), Malta (2008), the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute (2010), A Coruña (2012) and Opatija, Croatia in 2014.
Today tourism is an important component of development, not only in economic terms but also for knowledge and human welfare. Tourism has long since ceased to be something just for the privileged few and today is an activity accessible to a growing number of people. The phenomenon has many more advantages than disadvantages. New forms of economic development and increasing wealth of human societies depend on tourism. Our knowledge of the world now includes a strong component due to tourism. Human welfare has physiological and psychological elements, which tourism promotes, both because of the enjoyment of knowing new territories and increasing contacts with near or far away societies and cultures.
The tourism industry has nevertheless given rise to some serious problems, including social costs and ecological impacts. Many ancient local cultures have practically lost their identity. Their societies have oriented their economy only to this industry. Both the natural and cultural – rural or urban – landscapes have also paid a high price for certain forms of tourism. These problems will persist if economic benefit is the only target, leading to economic gains that eventually become ruinous. It is also a grave error to disregard the fact that visitors nowadays are increasingly demanding in cultural and environmental terms.
Never before have transport and communication links been so important as today. Natural ecosystems are now a rarity on the planet and ecologists talk today about ‘socio-ecosystems’. Given this, tourism and environmental education are facing a major challenge. The ‘Global Change’ is a set of natural environmental changes that are strongly affected by technological and social developments. Natural changes are inherent in the Earth’s ecosystem (the ‘ecosphere’). Also, technological and social changes are inherent to mankind (the ‘noosphere’), and are now becoming widespread. Cities are growing rapidly and industry requires increasingly larger areas. Many traditional rural areas are being abandoned.
Tourism should also play an important role in this context. Thus, interestingly, many historic agricultural districts have maintained, or even recovered,their local population numbers through intelligent strategies of tourism focused on nature and rural culture. Natural landscapes and biodiversity are becoming increasingly appreciated. The tourism industry must be able to respond to these aspirations. Sustainable Tourism 2016 aims to find ways to protect the natural and cultural landscape through the development of new solutions which minimise the adverse effects of tourism. This can be achieved through new strategies involving the active collaboration of society as a whole.