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42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
The paper context is dealing with the changes in the spatial structure, within small island areas of Greece, caused by the rabbit tourist development of the last thirty years. In the early seventies, tourism was a new direction for the island rural communities and economies, having a complicated and multileveled spatial organization, knowing that it involves effectively: 'international', 'national', 'territorial' and 'local' level, over the island space, which was mostly believed as a 'closed' system ('closed' local society, local economy etc). In these terms tourism has become today the main factor of regional and local growth, affecting to: the evolution and agglomeration of the population, the function of the local labour market and the distribution of labour, land uses and the location of services and central activities, the role of small towns and settlements and their 'connectivity' level with 'autonomous' (how much?) tourist areas. We examine -as a case study- the above matters in a 'fully' tourist developed area of the greek islands space: Kos and Nisyros spatial unity, located in South Aegean (totally about 30,000 resident population and 32,000 hotel beds in 2000). Our research was based in empirical/ qualitative information but also in secondary/ quantitative data, comparatively presented. At the beginning we attempt to build a 'scenario' describing the process of the development. We detect the development phases by checking the spread sequence of the tourist units (and activities) compared with the existing spatial structure of the island/ rural case study area ('how'). At the same time we try to explain and connect this process with the changes within the local economy, the local community and the basic 'rules' of the land market ('why'). This 'scenario' is used as a framework for (the) following specific investigations referring to: -the differentiated evolution of the population in each island town/ settlement, due to a number of reasons related directly to the agglomeration of the tourist activities, -the changes in the location and the categories of labour and its increasing mobility, as a result of the special characteristics of tourism, -the role of the transportations and the spatial forms of the retail sector in a tourist environment, -the functional relations and the networking between a tourist area and a small town/ rural settlement, investigating whether the tourist areas are functionally embodied with the surrounding settlements. Finally the paper comes to some schematic types of spatial relations according to the size of each settlement and the spatial relations it develops in general. These spatial types contain the main conclusions of the above analysis and they describe how the area is transformed and reshaped under the changing developing procedures.
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