How does a region sustain a growing tourist industry and allow for continued growth and development while maintaining its unique identity and sense of community?
This is the question that myself and a group of 11 other graduate students in Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Planning grappled with while studying the impacts of tourism and development on the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey.
Located on the Aegean coast, the Bodrum Peninsula is a region known for its pristine waters, archeological remains and vibrant arts scene. Tourism, once seen by the municipalities as the solution to their economic problems, has taken over the region causing rapid growth and development. Development, if gone unregulated, will transform this unique region into a series of generic resort communities no different from those seen in the coastal regions of Spain, France and Italy.
Planning for tourism is a balancing act which works to create harmony between the environment, the community, the economy, the quality of life, and the tourist experience. In the case of The Bodrum Peninsula, short term economic gain and a desire to cater to tourists has precedence over all else.