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International Symposium Intelligent Coast*
Tourism XXL.The European Megalopolis
Edition 2007- Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona – CCCB
Organized by Intelligent Coast*
Directed by Manuel Gausa, Silvia Banchini, Luis Falcón


The International Symposium “TOURISM XXL. The EUROPEAN MEGALOPOLIS” invites thinkers, businessmen and politicians to debate the new coast developing models as privileged geographic tourism areas, economy and new society. The Spanish Mediterranean coast will be the main topic.
Over the last two decades, South European and Mediterranean metropolis have become new destinations of migration flows – inner and foreign – mainly originating from Europe's northern regions. These geographic areas have been registering, at the same time, a large scale urban sprawl and a fast growth. In less than 30 years, most of the cities and European metropolitan regions have duplicated and sometimes tripled the occupancy of their urban soil. In the world-wide ranking, Spain is the second country in terms of tourist numbers and business volume generated by the tourist sector. At the moment, it is experiencing the most accelerated process of urbanization in its history. Today its Mediterranean coast is concentrating 44% of the population and 42% of the GDP. Only in the coastal provinces of the Mediterranean strip, there are 17 million inhabitants dwelling the area, a number that – according to the National Institute of Statistics – will increase to 21 million by 2020. This year, the arrival of 18 million tourists are forecasted for the same territory. Due to its fast development and a concentration level similar to Shangai, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo, the Spanish Mediterranean coast has become a European megalopolis. Nowadays, who is governing this new geopolitical unit? Considering the urban pressure, globalization effects, global warming, low cost airlines and high speed transports and the need of optimizing resources, how do we have to rethink the model of the coast?

The Symposium aims to achieve a final document where coast intervention quality criteria are proponed.


The Symposium is organized throughout 3 days. 

1st DAY PROGRAM - Thursday july 19th


International outlook on the phenomenon of coastal densification, through experiences and general reflections about the world-wide panorama, with a special focus on the European Mediterranean situation and the Spanish coast.

simposio dia1

17.00 – EDWARD W. SOJA (Picture 1) – Geographer, Urban planner. EEUU.Sociólogo, USA.
The new geographies of tourism, designed by the effect of three main forces: the globalisation of capital, labor and culture; the process of economic restructuring and new technologies of informational systems.
Main changes and redefinition of urban regions.

18.00 – GEORGE RITZER (Picture 2) – Sociologist, USA.
Effects of the rationalization/“McDonaldization” of the coast. Main factors for the growth of a consumption culture. The Grobalization of Nothing. Elements for developing an intelligent coast.

20.00 – JOAN BUSQUETS (Picture 3) – Urban Planner, Spain
Urbanism and water. Definition of “Coast”, its weak condition and pontentials. Coast development and coast recycling as new opportunities of intervention and work by architects and urban planner. Comparison between Spanish coast and other coastal areas around the world.

2nd DAY PROGRAM – Friday july 20th


The local Spanish situation presented by representatives of territorial politics and the private company sector. Search of new urban planning models which are more coherent with the paradigms of global economy and environment protection. Real experiences of an integrated management of the coasts.

simposio dia 2

10.30 - Opening 2nd day.

11.00 - ORIOL NEL.LO (Picture 1) – General Secretary of Territorial Politics and Public Works
Directives of the new Master Plan of the Catalan Coastal System. Managment vs. administration. Policies of development and forecasts of the future.

11.45 – FAUSTINO G. MARQUÉZ (Picture 2) – Architect, Urban Planner, Director of Regional Environmental Planning of Canary Islands
Directives of the General Territorial Plan of Gran Canaria. Landscape as a resource, sustainability as a process. Combination of short and long term strategies in order to control the land consumption and the Real Estate sector.

12.30 – JUAN LÓPEZ DE URALDE (Picture 3) – Director of Greenpeace, Spain
Vision on current processes of development at the Spanish coast. Main results of the last report published by Greenpeace “Destrucción a toda Costa, 2006.” Alternatives for the future.

13.15 – ARNALDO MUÑOZ (Picture 4) – General Manager of EasyJet for South Europe.
Origin and main characteristics of Low Cost Phenomenon inside the airline companies. Role and effects of low cost airlines on the development of the Spanish coast and the inland areas. The selection policy of destinations by EasyJet. New trends of growth for EasyJet: the importance of Marrocco. EasyJet and its next challange to contribute to the planet sustainability.

14.00 – Break.

simposio dia 2

16.30 – EUGENIO YUNIS (Picture 1) – Director of Sustainable Development of WTO
Challenges of sustainability on tourism - DTS (Sustainable Touism Development). Guide edited by the WTO to local territorial Planners. Main strategies of sustainable development in consolidated tourist destinations, with a high level of infrastructural conections, a high quality of services and tourist technology and a large-scale urban growth. China and India, future tourist countries. Tourism and climate change.

17.15 – JOSÉ FERNÁNDEZ PEREZ (Picture 2) General Manager of Coasts, Ministry of Environment, Spain.
Policy of coastal management in Spain. Current situation and forecasts for the future.

18.00 – JOAN CAMPOLIER MONTSANT (Picture 3) President of the Tourist Foundation of Santa Susanna Case: Santa Susanna.
Presentation of the urban policy of Santa Susanna mainly doomed to tourist development. Emblematic cooperation model between public and private sector.

18:45 – GLORIA BARBA BERNABEU (Picture 4) General Manager of Tourist quality and inovation- Ministry of Tourism, Spain.

20.00 – Round table:

FRANCESC MUÑÓZ (moderator) – Geographer, Spain.

JOSÉ FERNÁNDEZ PEREZ – General Manager of Coasts, Ministery of Environment, Spain.

RAIMÓN MARTÍNEZ FRAILE – ex General Secretary of Tourism, Spain, Advisor of AC hoteles.

JOSÉ MIGUEL IRIBAS – Sociologist, specialized in urban and tourist urban studies, Valencia.
Who are the implied and responsible agents who define the directives of a quality development of the coast? Who thinks the coast? Conflict points and opportunities in current policies of coastal management; in the dynamics of occupancy and structuring of its territories; in the current models of use of resources.

3rd DAY PROGRAM – Saturday july 21st


Debates on operative criteria of coast intervention. Comparison between Spanish local scale and international situations who are getting in a process of fast growth by the effect of the new economy. Spanish coast, a european megalopolis. The differences of a coastal megalopolis.


simposio dia 3

10.30 – Opening 3rd day.

11.00 – MANUEL GAUSA (Picture 1) – Architect, Codirector of Intelligent Coast Master Program, Barcelona
The urban and architectural supply to the increasing development of tourist sector in Spain. Historic panorama and visions of the future.

12.00 – Round table (Picture 4):

JUAN PALOP (moderator) – Architect, Director of Institute 20º, Gran Canaria, Spain.

ANDÉS CÁNOVAS - Architect, Spain

MIGUEL RUANO - Vicepresident of Marriott Vacational Club International

SALVADOR RUEDA – Urban Ecologist, Spain


FEDERICO SORIANO - Architect, Spain

ANDREU ULIED - Engineer, Director of Mcrit, Spain

Who build the coast? Which role is playing nowadays the inheriting projects of the Guggenheim effect for Bilbao? Do they represent an opportunity for a qualitative jump? When the architecture can generate a plus value to tourism? What model of coast will be in the future the one able to absorb and to readapt itself to the changes induced by agents exogenous to local conditions? Which one will be able to redefine itself interacting with global political and economic factors? How do we maintain the balance between the sustainability of tourist business, the landscape’s business and the quality of the environment? The debate defines the Coast as a place of conflicts and comsumption. Coast needs a slow change, as every complex system. Urban and achitectural projects of new cities along Murcia's coast. Polaris World and the selling of immaginary of Real Estate sector.

14.00 – Break.

17.00 – SCOTT LASH (Picture 2) – Sociologist, England.
The genesis of urban processes. The importance of defining the complexity into the processes of urban development (ontological method vs epistemological method). Fractal city and the limit of its scale.

19:00 - Dialog

REM KOOLHAAS (Picture 3) - Architect, Netherlands.


MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ (Picture 3) – Writer, France.

The future of the new contemporary societies in a new European megalopolis, the Mediterranean coast. The new culture of urban leisure and its superposition with the contemporary urban habits. The blossoming of new urban tribes coming from a society of leisure and those who have been developed in western “megalopolitans” areas. Spain as a new tourist destination for elder people coming fom North Europe and from the rest of the world.
New tourist destination: Dubai case. Nowadays architecture must work with the new economy more than with politics.


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