7.1 Current Situation
As it has been mentioned within the previews chapters, Public Space is defined as a meeting place, a market place and/or traffic place (Gehl, 2003). In fact, in order to analyze and categorize a public space it is important to consider the 3P factor, which analyze the interaction between People, Planet and Profit, which should be in balance.
During the last months, it has been a common concern to understand Texel and Texelaars interactions. For instance, what is peculiar about Texel is that a lot of tourists visit the island during summertime, and during wintertime the island is almost completely empty of tourists. What is more, tourists prefer attractive public spaces where many activities are located and centralized, such as leisure, shopping, site viewing, nature, and quietness. Therefore, Den Koog is the main attraction for them because this village centralizes many activities. Nowadays, there are few markets in the island, but according to our interviews, Texelaars prefer to buy their products on the supermarket because is easier; hence, the markets are developed mainly as an attraction for tourists, so just few remain within wintertime. However, every once in a while, Texelaars find interesting products that are going to be sold in the market, so those products catch their attention and they go to the market.
Regarding all these factors and after our previous analyses, the visit of the island and the interviews with the inhabitants, it has been stated that nowadays, public space is mainly adapted to the tourists; hence, Texelaars earn their money from them. Even though, Texelaars are closely related to each other and to the island.
It is important to mention that many tourists come to Texel to visit and enjoy the nature within the island. Although, for the further development of the subsystem only the public space within the villages are going to be considered in this research, the beauty of the nature of Texel should not be ignored. In fact, the surrounding nature of the villages should be emphasized in order to embed the village in the nature of Texel.
7.2 Future System
It is clear that we want to achieve no intervention at natural landscape areas that include beach and dunes. We propose to preserve these and focus on the built environment and use it more efficiently, keeping in line with ecomare. We propose to use areas where there is infrastructure already existing and enhance the interaction of tourists and Texelaars. The focus is on showing the innovation on the island and sharing the knowledge and the targets groups are both the islanders and the visitors.
The aim for the future system is to use public space a connection node within the other subsystems. This is done with two methods: A First Ever “SUSTAINABLE MARKET” (and events) and “Markers indicating other innovations”
On speaking to the locals, we realised that the weekly markets are mainly aimed at tourists. The Texelaars prefer to buy their local needs from the shops. However, they do visit these markets when they want to buy something specific from a market, for example when they hear about some special cutlery from olden times. they also confirm that if there was an innovation market every week, they would visit it much more often to check if there was something for them.
“The First Sustainable Market” at Texel once a week will initially begin with a stall at the market selling innovative sustainable produce from Texel. We selected De Koog as a starting point of these markets. Once this idea takes flight and gets more popular among the people, it can be even expanded to other villages. The reason of selecting De Koog is simple, it has a high influx of tourists, and hence, best to make a good first impression, because the foot fall will be high. The church square (where market is located) is a common passing point and the place will definitively make the passerby curious.
To develop this system, the time of the year is going to be very important factor. The market is more oriented towards the tourist during summer-time whereas in wintertime the products on the market are relating more Texelaar and outsiders visiting island for special purpose. The characteristic difference between this market and another market is that, this one will also invite young and not fully mature innovators to come and demonstrate their idea.
The major advantage of this is the fact that no additional infrastructure is required for building it. The tents and market already exists, the living quarter around it also exists, and also the websites where these are informed to tourists. However, a managing committee is required that helps small and medium scale innovators by providing them this platform.
As more and more tourists are getting aware to the innovations and the growth of the new sub-systems, the public spaces should also be extended to annual events which should be organised in squares and public buildings and related innovators (in addition to the general visitor) should be invited to conference/ seminars/ workshops. With these events, also the younger people should be involved and children should be encouraged in workshops to start young with sustainability education. The fundamental difference between the culinary event (which is already in practice) and the proposed event is that innovators are invited and workshops should take place that will make people more involved with the real Texel, below the surface of what they see as a tourist.
X.2.2 Markers for the route.
This solution is aimed at the tourists. The fact that they see the physical markers for the food just eaten from the restaurant will make the visitors curious to follow and find out how it actually looks like. These markers direct to the place where the visitor can find more information and ask questions, maybe even be involved in the process. This builds memories of actions created and will bring them back, to explore the other knowledge centres.
The knowledge centres connect to routes and the markers will give impetus to the routes, thus giving a clear physical presence to the route. It is suggestion that the markers should be of same visual appearance and this should be designed in coordination with the community, as they know best.
The fact that this sub-system is the connecting node to other sub-systems essentially means that the Connecting “node” or Public space is dependent on how well are the other sub-systems: how many people want to visit the other subsystems. Furthermore, it is proposed to use public space not just like a connection point, but a place that supports and promotes the other subsystems.
In fact, public space subsystem is totally dependent on the development of the other subsystems, due to the fact that it represents a node that connects them. The strategy is to highlight the connections or routes between the subsystems.
As stereotypical engineers, we first proposed designs for the need for trees and regeneration of nature, allowing birds and fish to live in harmony with the humans, to make this place more sustainable. On our visit, we realised that this will not work, because 1.these initiatives are already being taken and 2. Most of the land does have ecology and are the main attraction points of the tourists.
We saw that the Texelaars do have innovative sustainable Technologies, but what is missing is communication. As tourists, we would almost never realise that these innovations exist. So, by tackling the “disconnect” and providing platform for these interventions, we can bridge this communication gap. This also requires support from the locals to make it successful.
When you are in a square or commonly travelled road, by visual markers it will be easier to be directed to the knowledge centres. The public markets that will further extend to events will involve the visitors in the knowledge at land, and this will attract a large number of younger people to participate in the activities, because they learn something new and what’s more- they participate in them!
These squares and markets will, therefore, promote the knowledge based on Texel. The public space will thereby provide a physical common ground for the sharing of this knowledge and showing up the innovations. We observe that Texelaars are proud to be a part of the island. to be a part of an innovative island and be known by the outsiders as the innovative people reinitiates the sense of pride and public space proposals like these will help in providing a physical platform and a visual voice there. With these strategies, it is expected that the role of visitors on the island will change from being mere tourist to more aware individuals. The market would take time for large scale recognition. However as a beginning point, we can already start using the innovations that are developed on the island by markers and events, and even starting the pilot “Sustainable Market” project that can showcase the innovations from various researchers and events.
As it has been mentioned before, Texelaars are closely related to each other and to the island, and the subsystem proposes to promote it. Therefore, the meeting places should reflect the identity of Texel. The public spaces and events should highlight the Texel beyond the Touristic vision and enhance the current events in innovation direction, something that the Texelaars are extremely good at
The aim is to improve public space within the island through showing and promoting the identity of Texel and its villages, so people will have a feeling of attachment to the Texel land. Moreover, we realized that the Public Space as a subsystem completely depends on the other subsystems: the success of those systems is going to allow the success of the “Sustainable Market”, that will allow the interchange of knowledge and products among tourists and inhabitants.by using designs from the locals, we can place the markers at public splaces like squares and traffic junctions.
The strategy is to promote the identity of the island by integrating the knowledge centres relating to the other sub-systems, and connect them through connections that promote their essence.
It is highly suggested that in order to achieve the goal of a sustainable subsystem and/or island, environmentally friendly technologies and strategies need to be supported by the integration of cultural, social, educational and environmental policies that create the ethical and intellectual knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of citizens.