Tourist carrying capacity at the Canary Islands

The Canary Island host around 16 million of tourist per year. This phenomenon happens in a fragmented territory of eight islands, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. With an average stay of 9 days, the Canary Islands manage more than one hundred fifty millions of tourist nights. In this scenario, the concept of Tourist Carrying Capacity has become an issue at the Canaries.

The problem is that this concept is highly problematic in itself. It reduces the issue to a spatial and determinist factor, regardless of its ecological behaviour. As an alternative, the report proposes a definition based on a living system approach. Tourist Carrying Capacity becomes then an envelope of concepts such as urban metabolism, ecological footprint, carbon neutral and circular economy. This new approach may describe better the more or less sustainable behaviour of the tourism-territory equation.

Calvia Coastal & Tourist Development

The municipality of Calvia is situated on the southwest end of the island of Mallorca.

It has nearly 60 kilometres of coastline and it concentrates more than 50,000 tourist beds and as many second homes which totals for more than 50% of the tourist accommodation on the Island. The proposal is based on the geographic system of “cavities” and “convexities” that characterizes Calvia’s coast. The design strategy aims to recover and update the development pattern of the irst tourist settlements where the “cavities” of the coast hosted tourist enclaves while the “convexities” were maintained as landscape reservoirs. This pattern is the basis of the vivid image that characterizes the Majorcan coast, and an example of intelligent and sustainable development of the waterfront. The project also includes a model of sustainable mobility and eight tourist enclaves, each with its own unique identity and tourist proile.

Maspalomas Beach Access

Maspalomas Beach is one of the most renowned beaches in Europe and one of the main tourist attractions on the island of Gran Canaria. The aim of the project is to provide services for the beach users, including staircases, showers, benches and lockers. The design integrates the functional program in a wooden topography that replicates the shape of the surrounding dunes, permitting unexpected uses. Thanks to digital fabrication techniques, the resulting “dune” does not compromise the viability of its construction and provides a complete removable solution. Besides the wooden beans and loors, the materials used include natural iltering systems for showers, integrated mini-solar panels, saltwater plants, and light foundations; all compatible with the beach environment.

Digital Totem for the Canary Islands beaches

The digital totems are smart weather stations that collect and display environmental and local information for tourists and visitors of beaches and waterfronts in the Canary Islands (Spain). They are part of an ICT infrastructural network that celebrates the rooted relationship between the Canary Islands culture and their extraordinary climate.

The design is inspired by the aboriginal ceramic art pieces from the indigenous inhabitants of the islands. This art was based on the worship of the sun god “Magheq”, usually represented through circular shapes and decorative geometric patterns.

The design consists of a digitally fabricated solid wood ring standing vertically with a north-south orientation. The southern face hosts an array of photovoltaic modules that turn sunlight into electricity for phone and e-bike charging. The northern face contains a 1,2 m2 video screen that broadcasts real-time environmental data captured by the totem and useful information regarding tourist activities and services in the area. In addition to its technological and digital features, the totem also provides analogy and material values to attract attention and enrich the pedestrian
urban experience.

The resulting solution celebrates more than five hundred years of the creative relationship of the Canary Islands with the sun. From the marking of the solstices for agricultural purposes and the sun and beach tourism to the more recent challenges of producing sustainable energy with solar panels.