Journal of Mountain Science

Integrated development planning in mountainous areas - the case of Konitsa, Greece

Abstract In the research literature, we have identified a lack of common understanding of the “development” concept. The meaning of development has changed over the last decades from referencing simple economic growth to embracing social and environmental concerns. The aim of this paper is to highlight the Worth-living Integrated Development theory (WID) in the context of postgraduate education and interdisciplinarity. In particular, through the description of three research projects undertaken within the interdisciplinary postgraduate programme “Environment and Development of Mountainous Areas” of the National Technical University of Athens, the methodology of WID applied to the Greek mountain area of Konitsa is presented. In the first step of the methodology, the recent development strategies enacted by the municipality of Konitsa were compared with the principles and the values of WID. This was done to document the necessity of an integrated development process. In the second step, the investigating parameters and indicators were selected and then bibliographically and empirically researched following extensive discussions within the interdisciplinary team. In the third step, the data were analyzed to highlight the problems, the objective and the “potential” development opportunities, as well as the objective constraints on the Integrated Development of the study area. In the fourth step, a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches was followed by interdisciplinary workgroups for the formulation and documentation of alternative scenarios for Integrated Development. In the fifth step, a set of criteria was described to allow residents to evaluate the proposed development actions and choose the optimal development policies for the Municipality of Konitsa. Finally, a set of principles and values was clarified to help residents speak out and reject actions or policies that might lower their living standards. The results of each methodological step and the integrated development approach for the region of Konitsa can be used as an important tool in the planning, development and support of relevant policies.

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