The Municipal Unit (MU) of Vytina is a small community of connected villages within the municipality of Gortynia at the foot of the spectacular Menalon Mountain. In recent years, the area has changed significantly. Not only is it an attractive tourist area for the residents of Arcadia, but also for visitors from many parts of the Peloponnese, Athens and further north. As the climate due to world and Greek energy production changes, the MU of Vytina must foresee a new and "green" energy future for long-term sustainability. The MU will certainly have to face the challenge of ongoing climate change, assess how we adapt to local effects from it, and take appropriate action.
The Association for Sustainable Development, whose members are citizens of the MU of Vytina, concerned about the viability of their local community, has launched a process for sustainable design in the region. With this design, we have adopted a vision of the future. We will evaluate the current environmental, economic, and local conditions, and identify strategies to achieve the vision that will determine what sustainability means to this unique part of Greece. And all this is with the help and participation of the citizens. Understanding what sustainability means in the MU of Vytina will allow the strategies and actions to be created and recorded, leading to sustainable and managed growth, while at the same time, ensuring protection of ecological assets of value to the community.
On a larger scale, global threats that will almost inevitably (high probability) affect residents and businesses of the MU of Vytina and require strategic planning and innovative solutions are:
• Climate change and severe weather events
• Peak oil crisis and rising fuel prices
• Shortage of food and water
• Loss of biodiversity
• Political instability
• Aging population
• Shrinking social networks
• Air Pollution
A sustainability plan provides, among other things, strategies and proposed actions at the local level to proactively mitigate these global threats and adapt to them. Also, a sustainability plan develops and implements the reactions to local obstacles/threats (uniqueness) for sustainable development of the local community.
Obstacles / threats to the MU of Vytina, and the reactions of the citizens on these have been developed sufficiently in the B - 2040 and in the T.K. 11 August 2012 presentation.
The plan is also important because it will raise awareness of the community towards sustainability and encourage the adoption of more sustainable choices by organizations, institutions, businesses, citizens and visitors.
The Plan for the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) will provide a framework aligned with municipal actions (projects, policies, programs, procedures and initiatives) that are in progress or planned, building on them and taking into account their interactions.
Within this framework and with the long future goal of community sustainability in mind, the SDS of the MU of Vytina has, first, the following general objectives (we all have a common starting point). These objectives are based, on the one hand, on the opinions of citizens who responded to the questionnaire on what makes a sustainable community; on the other hand, we will align, finalize and refine them when we have the vision and goals of citizens:
1. Promote economic diversification and balance in supporting new business development, maintaining existing business and provide training and retraining (e.g., tourism-based economic sector)
2. Ensure open communication and enhance coordination across the community
3. Provide value and support to organizations in the community
4. Provide affordable housing
5. Encourage and support a diverse population: young, elderly, and families
6. Promote healthy and resilient ecosystems: parks, natural green spaces, clean water, and municipal infrastructure
7. Start new programs and activities to support renewable/alternative energy sources and reduce energy consumption. Practice waste reduction and environmentally responsible behaviors
8. Integrate new programs into community action and improve governance and operational practices
9. Preserve culture and heritage
10. Improve transportation: walking, cycling, roads
11. Ensure an accessible community for all citizens and visitors
Design process of SDS
The development of SDS is an organic and locally- driven process. There are four main phases, as shown in the diagram below. Each phase will require data from the municipality, association and the wider public.
(*) Alternatively we can "study it" and understand the system MU Vytina with conditions of SYSTEMS DYNAMICS, as described in B – 2040.
Each phase builds on the previous phase, leading to a final design. The project implementation and monitoring will be ongoing for many years. The community engagement and education in relation to sustainability will be continuous.