Chapter 6: Connection with other sub-systems

The overall outcome of the Health, Happiness and Well-being subsystem is to ensure an improvement of the life quality of Texelaars and visitors reflected in more happy and healthy lifestyles among inhabitants and the share of such habits by visitors. In order to achieve this goal, the need to joint efforts with the other sub-systems in the Texel system was recognized to ensure all initiatives’ alignment towards a positive influence in the living of Texelaars. Furthermore, it was necessary to define what the required contribution of this subsystem would be in order to achieve the overarching goal. As this specific sub-system is the only one directly addressing people, their lifestyle and their perception of life, it was concluded that its main contribution has to be related to the society transition towards more sustainable values.

      This sub-system requires a lot of synergy with the others as several aspects regarding the definition of life quality, such as healthy food, green spaces, good education, access to clean water, increase of wealth, low pollution, access to exercise and leisure, etc., depend on other sub-systems to be addressed and reinforced. Moreover, for the development of social strength it is necessary to have a joint vision on how the different initiatives are going to promote cohesion not only among inhabitants but also to include visitors, as they have a high impact on the island’s development and are critical to the success of Texel’s sustainability goals.  

     In order to ensure such synergy, support from governmental bodies, norms, and regulations are needed to ensure proper development and timing of the different initiatives to increase their impact on Texelaars’ living. Moreover, initiatives must be prioritized or even merged in order to attend the major unsustainabilities first, so transition will be facilitated as people will start experiencing the more expected benefits sooner and will be more willing to join the movement. Finally, as initiatives and proposals are mostly connected to people, it is critical to assess the impacts of the execution of initiatives together and not separately, in order to have a clear picture of the real influence of the system and do not generate undesirable side effects. 


Expectations and Tensions.png

Figure 1. Relations with sub-systems and the Texel system


Figure 1 presents the connection of the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system with the other sub-systems and the Texel System. As the connection with the overall system was stated previously, the following analysis will be focused on the expectations and possible points of tension with the other sub-systems in order to achieve the desired transition:


  • Food and more: The major expectations are related to the production of healthy (organic) food, and the promotion among Texelaars of local products’ consumption as this will reinforce the sense of belongingness in the island and will support the adoption of healthier habits. Priority was not given to the products that come from outside the island, so this is a point that gives room to improvement of current proposals and may create some tensions. On the other hand, land pollution due to the possible use of pesticides may endanger population’s health and represent a concern for the platform. Finally, as green areas are a priority for social strength, assessing the possible impact of agriculture on landscape and the management of green spaces is a priority.


  • Leisure and knowledge: There is a strong connection with this sub-system and its initiatives, as it influences three key concepts: fun factor, innovation and education.  The expectations are centered in how to integrate the concept behind the empowerment platform, the innovation center and sustainable schools. Moreover, the potential to link green areas managements and the proposed route gives room for the strengthening of social capital in the island and the integration of inhabitants with visitors and of both with sustainability concepts. The only possible source of tension would be the balance between the events and life quality in order to avoid negative effects that could decrease levels of happiness and satisfaction with the desired rhythm of life.


  • Materials and waste: The main expectations regarding this sub-system is the improvement on life quality due to a sustainable and efficient management of waste to decrease Texelaars ecological footprint. Moreover, it gives room for innovations that can be generated in the platform. On the other hand, there are concerns regarding air and soil pollution that might cause some tensions.


  • Public space: This subsystem is quite relevant on maintaining high levels of happiness among Texelaars as there is a huge influence of the surroundings in the possibility to strength social cohesion  and promote healthy habits like exercise. A plan towards a proper management of green areas to encourage social interactions is expected, and the lack of it on the proposals could generate tensions regarding the synergy between sub-systems.


  • Sustainable mobility: The main expectation about this sub-system was the generation of proposals towards increasing healthy means for mobility among inhabitants and visitors. Transportations is seen as a valuable opportunity to promote exercise and healthy habits among the population. Possible tensions are related to concerns regarding the maintenance of air quality standards and having clear proposals to avoid possible negative effects on mental health of insufficient measures to control traffic on the island due to tourism.


  • Texel as host: There are possibilities of synergy in the developments of facilities for eco-tourism as it can have a positive impact in the transition towards healthier and more sustainable lifestyles among inhabitants, and can be used to promote such values among visitors. Furthermore, proposals are expected to be directed towards the increase of social cohesion between inhabitants and visitors, so the latters can be engaged to the sustainability initiatives of the island. The main source of tension come from the way touristic seasons affects the stability of people’s life in terms of job security and wealth. Moreover, the balance between the amount of visitors and keeping a quiet and enjoyable environment in the island has to be analyzed.


  • Water cycle: The main expectation for this subsystem is regarding to keeping public health by ensuring proper water access for the population. Moreover, clarity on the desired behaviors of people towards water management is needed in order to ensure proper synergy among sub-systems and to define needed changes in people’s lifestyle to ensure the reduction on water use in the island.


Finally, once the commonalities and possible points of conflict were identified, it is necessary to find concerted solutions among sub-systems to connect the system and ensure the transition towards the desired state. It is expected that, once in Texel, this part of the research can be completed.

Tiwanee van der Horst , Pieter van Hall , María José Galeano Galván