Small and Medium-Sized Cities and Insular Communities in the Mediterranean: Coping with Sustainability Challenges in the Smart City Context
As an introductory chapter, the present paper aims to set the geographical ground of this book by shedding light on a very special region of the world, the Mediterranean region. The scope of the chapter is, firstly, to illuminate the specific attributes of this region, which render it one of the most intriguing but also vulnerable regions of the world; and identify the character of the region as a ‘hot spot’ in several respects. Secondly, it aims to justify the type of cities considered within this geographical context, i.e. small and medium-sized cities and insular communities, usually lagging behind in terms of smartening up efforts; and having little opportunity to join a smart journey, as the public lights and related funding opportunities are usually shared by large, very successful, powerful and market attractive, smart cities that become examples on the global and the EU scene. Thirdly, the paper elaborates on the specific attributes and distinguishable rating of these cities in: economic terms (tourism, culture, sea trade nodes etc.); geographical terms (coastal and port cities at the cross roads of Mediterranean); cultural terms; etc. It reveals their development potential for both the Mediterranean and the EU context. A discussion follows on the emerging risks in the Mediterranean, which place at stake the sustainable future development of this type of cities and communities. Digitally enabled solutions, in conjunction with sustainability policies, appear as a full of promises path and an evolving policy direction for reaching inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable end states within such a full of challenges new era. Finally, some concluding remarks are discussed as to the planning approaches that need to be in place for coping with threats and sustainability challenges in this specific part of the world.
KeywordsMediterranean region Sustainability Small and medium-sized cities and communities Insular communities Smart Sustainable Cities (SSC)
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