- Sustainability, Rural Development, and Lifestyle Mobilities in Architecture and Placemaking: Mikri Vigla, Naxos, Greece
- Tutor: Andres Alver, Douglas Gordon
- Landscape with existing and added buildings, streets and vegetation (white added). MDF board, plastic, paper, paint, dried plants, glue. Mixed media.
This master’s thesis focuses on the future development needs of the village Mikri Vigla on the Greek island of Naxos, set within the context of future changes in rural development, balancing sustainability with lifestyle mobilities, and creating a vision and master plan for how new development should fit into the vibrant environmental framework and structure. The aim of this thesis is to create a sense of place for the village by re-designing the village structure in a sustainable manner, both from an economic point of view as well as environmentally, to enable the village to maintain and unite it’s local community and yet manage to accommodate the pressures for change from increasing aspects of tourism and rural development.
In researching this thesis, I have analysed the context from a social, economic and sustainable set of perspectives in order to determine the challenges, needs and potential of the area, and from this I created the spatial Vision for the future, providing specific architectural solutions and design formats that fit the seaside environment. An implementation set of guidelines were listed in detail as to how the Vision would be brought to life, to which I formatted a series of designs in terms of site plans, area analysis, massing, sections, perspectives, building designs, plan layouts and a complimentary spatial structure for the village’s future.
A new street design has been constructed together with how forms of placemaking can be achieved. In this respect, the spatial character is indigenously maintained whilst enabling infill development to be constructed sustainably to dampen economic changes to be more modest and respectful of community needs.
Change is necessary and inevitable. It is important that change is determined by spatial structure and not randomly, which may spoil the balance of activities in the village and miss potentials of even more diverse activities. My vision, in my opinion, has offered a clear set of structural changes that meet the needs and future potential of the village without it becoming a resort for the elite.
The most important aspects for sustainable development of Mikri Vigla is keeping it’s specificity and extending the season. In this case it will provide greatest benefits to it’s different communities. Growing a permanent lifestyle population is likely to help reaching this goal. However combined with tourism, it will also increase the loads on high season, when Mikri Vigla is already too crowded. The diverse activities increase the satisfaction on non-windy-days, but do little to reduce the crowd on the beach on the busy windy days. Because of that, Mikri Vigla should not develop in short term tourism, but focus on the local community and long term visits. There is a need for lively center that could function throughout the year with more residential and commercial spaces. There is also a need for some beach facilities, and willingness to pay for their use. The village space as well as the island space will benefit from more compact built space, that leaves space for agriculture and nature.
The propositions made in this project implement the necessary functions into a holistic plan of the village. It is just one of the ways to design this and the plans would need to be reviewed step by step according to how the first realizations go.
Most likely Mikri Vigla will continue developing in it’s own direction with new buildings appearing on the beaches and more fences added around the central plots and natural access routes. Still some parts of the project can realize at least on the level of a couple of building and if successful, it might extend to a wider area. I have done this project in hopes that it can improve the wellbeing of Mikri Vigla’s diverse community.