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Stakes and Challenges for Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Era of Blue Growth and the Role of Spatial Planning: Implications and Prospects in Greece


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Underwater cultural heritage (UCH) constitutes an invaluable asset, which is lately being challenged by the blue growth trend that cannot be easily reconciled with the goal of UCH preservation and promotion. Maritime spatial planning (MSP)—under a place-based approach—creates better chances for UCH to receive more attention in the future compared to other resources, since it is considered to be the key procedure for tackling growing competition among sea users (user-user conflicts) and for mitigating the pressure these users put on the marine environment (natural and cultural). In Greece, a country with great insularity, extensive marine space, and a long and glorious past, UCH resources are in abundance. According to the official Ministry of Culture data-base, there are 88 designated UCH sites throughout the national waters, the majority of which are found very close to the shore. They usually concern ancient cities and built monuments that were eventually submerged (due to earthquakes, geological processes, etc.), so they usually have a mixed nature—terrestrial and marine. These sites, however, constitute a very small part of what is actually lying on the Greek seabed. Estimations for the future identify a rise in accidental discoveries of UCH, due to the blue growth trend and an increase in access to and work in the sea. In this event, much controversy is expected, concerning the appropriate type of management for UCH. The role of MSP in this decision-making process will be decisive, being about “when” and “where” human activities take place at sea, to ensure these are as efficient and sustainable as possible.
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Stakes and Challenges for Underwater Cultural
Heritage in the Era of Blue Growth and the Role of
Spatial Planning: Implications and Prospects
in Greece
Marilena Papageorgiou
Department of Planning and Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece;
Received: 30 January 2019; Accepted: 26 March 2019; Published: 2 April 2019
Underwater cultural heritage (UCH) constitutes an invaluable asset, which is lately
being challenged by the blue growth trend that cannot be easily reconciled with the goal of
UCH preservation and promotion. Maritime spatial planning (MSP)—under a place-based
approach—creates better chances for UCH to receive more attention in the future compared to
other resources, since it is considered to be the key procedure for tackling growing competition
among sea users (user-user conflicts) and for mitigating the pressure these users put on the marine
environment (natural and cultural). In Greece, a country with great insularity, extensive marine space,
and a long and glorious past, UCH resources are in abundance. According to the official Ministry of
Culture data-base, there are 88 designated UCH sites throughout the national waters, the majority of
which are found very close to the shore. They usually concern ancient cities and built monuments
that were eventually submerged (due to earthquakes, geological processes, etc.), so they usually have
a mixed nature—terrestrial and marine. These sites, however, constitute a very small part of what is
actually lying on the Greek seabed. Estimations for the future identify a rise in accidental discoveries
of UCH, due to the blue growth trend and an increase in access to and work in the sea. In this event,
much controversy is expected, concerning the appropriate type of management for UCH. The role
of MSP in this decision-making process will be decisive, being about “when” and “where” human
activities take place at sea, to ensure these are as efficient and sustainable as possible.
Underwater cultural heritage (UCH); maritime spatial planning (MSP); blue growth;
place-based approach; Greece
1. Introduction
According to estimations made by UNESCO, there are millions of wrecks worldwide spanning
thousands of years of history, with hundreds of ancient cities now lying beneath water surfaces
due to natural phenomena (changing sea levels, earthquakes, etc.) as well as manmade disasters
(shifting landmasses, building of dams, etc.), and many geological formations (caves, etc.) that at some
point were flooded, hiding prehistoric sites beneath the water surface [
]. Such valuable resources,
however, are lately being challenged by the blue growth trend and the ever-growing interest in the
development of maritime economic activities and infrastructure that may be directed at or indirectly
affect underwater cultural heritage (hereinafter, UCH).
So far, existing literature for UCH, which is quite extensive, mainly focuses on issues of maritime
archaeology and preservation [
]; on jurisdictions and rights as included in the international or
regional legal documents [
] pertaining to management and promotion [
]; or in its correlation
with natural and technological hazards and threats [
]. On the other hand, literature correlating
Heritage 2019,2, 1060–1069; doi:10.3390/heritage2020069
Heritage 2019,21061
UCH with stakes and challenges related to the blue growth trend—which, according to the EU is about
supporting sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole—is still very limited.
This fact, however, comes as no surprise, if one considers that the EU Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP)
was announced in 2007, whilst the EU Maritime Spatial Planning (hereinafter MSP) Directive was
launched in 2014.
Given the above, the present paper focuses on UCH resources, especially submarine, which are
within the MSP geographical scope. It also highlights the increasing interest in blue growth (and the
way it may affect UCH) and the role of MSP in protecting and promoting UCH. Focusing on the case
of Greece, the paper aims at contributing to the ongoing discussion regarding the wise management
and planning of the marine space (MSP), always taking into consideration the UCH parameter, which
is lately being severely challenged by the blue growth trend—a trend that cannot be easily reconciled
with the goal of UCH preservation and promotion.
2. About Underwater Cultural Heritage
2.1. Definitions and Terms
According to the UCH Convention of UNESCO (adopted in 2001), “Underwater Cultural Heritage”
is defined as: All traces of human existence having a cultural, historical, or archaeological character,
which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years,
such as: (i) Sites, structures, buildings, artefacts, and human remains, together with their archaeological
and natural context; (ii) vessels, aircraft, other vehicles, or any part thereof, their cargo or other
contents, together with their archaeological and natural context; and (iii) objects of prehistoric character.
The convention names a wide range of UCH assets, also introducing a double criterion: (a) Time
(giving a 100-year limit) and (b) significance (distinguishing UCH assets as cultural, historical, or
archaeological) [
]. The convention excludes from the definition of UCH all types of pipelines and
cables, as well as other installations placed on the seabed.
According to the Draft European Convention on underwater cultural heritage (Council of Europe,
1985), UCH resources may be found entirely or in part in seas, lakes, rivers, canals, artificial reservoirs,
or other bodies of water; in tidal or other periodically flooded areas; recovered from any such
environment; or washed ashore. Therefore, by its nature and definition, “underwater cultural heritage”
has a strict geographical scope (cultural assets found within water bodies) and a strong tangible
character (it is solely associated with tangible assets and resources). Other terms used instead of UCH
by international documents (e.g., the 1954 Hague Convention) and literature are “underwater cultural
property” and “submerged objects”, due to the emphasis put on the tangible character of UCH and the
rights for salvage and rescue of their content [7,14].
2.2. Stakes and Challenges for UCH in the Era of the Blue Growth Trend and the Role of Spatial Planning
Marine space is constantly gaining ground as “home” to a growing number of activities and
human uses [
]. Due to improvements in technology, today it is easier than ever to exploit marine
resources found at longer distances and greater depths, as well as to construct resilient infrastructure
and facilities in seas for the development of several economic activities [
]. As a result, the spectrum
of human uses taking place in the sea has grown to include, apart from traditional activities (such
as navigation and maritime transport, fisheries, etc.), a series of new ones, such as: Extraction of
hydrocarbons and aggregates; energy production; aquaculture; tourism and leisure; research and
protection of the marine natural and cultural heritage; military uses; and so on [17].
As recent research indicates, however [
], this great—and usually unplanned—development
of human uses and infrastructure in the sea (as a result of the blue growth trend) is not only threatening
marine natural resources with exhaustion and degradation, but also UCH [
]. To address
this challenge, marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP), which is “a public process of analyzing and
allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological,
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economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process” [
] has
recently become a high priority globally. In fact, with increasing acknowledgment of the threats
that the marine ecosystems are facing, more and more international organizations and bodies (or
even sole countries) are turning their interest towards MSP, and especially towards MSP under a
place-based approach.
This re-orientation of MSP from a sectorial-based approach (which emphasizes the growth of
specific activities each time) to a place-based approach (which aims at organizing all human activities,
so that user–user and user–environment conflicts are avoided) is of paramount importance to UCH,
which is now receiving growing pressure and threats due to the blue growth taking place in oceans
and seas [17,23].
MSP under a place-based approach creates better chances for UCH to receive more attention
in terms of protection and management. At the same time, MSP under a place-based approach is
considered to be suitable for tackling the growing competition among sea uses (user–user conflicts)
and for mitigating the pressure these uses put on the marine environment (natural and cultural) [
However, even if place-based MSP occurs, the greatest challenge for UCH will be how to reconcile
blue growth trends with UCH preservation and promotion: In other words, how should UCH be
prioritized, compared to other marine economic activities and resources, when planning for human
uses of the sea.
3. Considering the UCH Parameter in MSP
3.1. Maritime Protection Zones and UCH
Protected areas (or protection zones) constitute a special type of zone, specifically addressing
management and protection of natural and cultural heritage and assets. At an international level,
zoning aimed at UCH protection—a special “cultural heritage protection zone” (The UCH convention
on underwater cultural heritage was launched in 2001 to stipulate further provisions for the protection
of UCH in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In the initial draft of the convention, a “cultural heritage
protection zone” was proposed to assist a key objective of the convention, i.e., “in situ” protection [
This zone, however, was soon removed from later versions, for raising controversy with existing
zoning provided by UNCLOS. If left, it could have been established by any coastal state party, covering
areas beyond its territorial sea and up to the outer limit of the continental self, giving jurisdiction over
all kinds of activities affecting UCH [
].)—was first conceptualized during the drafting of the United
Nations UCH convention on underwater cultural heritage. Such a concept, though, never reached
the final version of the convention. As a result, zoning explicitly addressing the protection of UCH is
entirely a national affair. This means that conceptualization and designation of such zones (having
as the sole focus protection of UCH resources) can only be undertaken individually by each state,
either within its territory, territorial waters (According to UNCLOS (art.3), “Every State has the right
to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured
from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention”), or the contiguous zone (According
to UNCLOS (art. 33), the contiguous zone may not extend beyond 24 nautical miles from the baselines
from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.).
This complete absence of a special zone directly addressing UCH protection beyond the
contiguous zone of a coastal state can be remediated by other zoning, having a more general and
wider objective and focus, such as marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs constitute spatially-delimited
areas in the marine environment, within which certain human uses and activities are either permitted
or not [
]. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), MPAs
can be designated for a number of reasons, including: Economic resource management; biodiversity
conservation; species protection; and the protective management of natural areas to keep them in good
environmental and natural condition. UCH, being an integral part of the marine natural ecosystem
and landscape, may therefore benefit from the designation of such protection zones [
], especially in
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the cases where a cultural asset is located beyond the territorial waters or the contiguous zone of a
coastal state (i.e., in areas where coastal states’ jurisdictions over UCH do not apply).
The MPAs launched at an international and regional level (by the International Maritime
Organization—IMO, UN, EU, etc.) include a range of specific intended purposes. These are described
in the following paragraphs.
MARPOL special areas
: The MARPOL Convention (International Convention for the Prevention
of Pollution from Ships) was adopted in 1973 by the IMO. According to this convention, special areas
can be recognized at an international level for technical reasons, or due to their particular character and
oceanographical and ecological condition, for the purpose of adopting measures for the prevention of
sea pollution by oil. The convention also provides for an “emission control area” designed to prevent,
reduce, and control air pollution from NOx or SOx and the adverse impacts on human health and
the environment.
Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs)
: Resolution A.982 (24) of IMO, provides the possibility
for the designation of a PSSA, especially in areas fulfilling a set of ecological, social, cultural, and
economic criteria (e.g., be a unique or rare ecosystem, be a significant area for education, recreation,
or tourism, etc.). The designation of an area as a PSSA requires specific measures for the control of
maritime activities in that area, including routing measures, etc. PSSAs can be included in MARPOL
special areas and vice versa.
Special Protected Areas
(SPAs) and
Sites of Community Importance
(SCIs): SPAs and SCIs,
established by the European Union in 1992 (the Habitats Directive 1992/43), constitute the largest
network of protected areas in the world. The network includes terrestrial and marine sites, providing
protection to valuable and threatened species, and habitats of natural importance.
Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Interest (SPAMIs)
: The SPA/BD Protocol of the
Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP) provided the possibility for the designation of SPAMIs. This type
of protected area is established to promote cooperation in the management and conservation of
natural areas, as well as to protect threatened species and their habitats found in the marine space
of the Mediterranean. SPAMIs are also designated in marine areas of scientific, aesthetic, historical,
archaeological, cultural, or educational interest.
Ecological Protection Zones (EPZ)
: Such zones are established in the EU and in the Mediterranean
with the approval of the IMO. The primary objective is to preserve ecological biodiversity and, in some
cases, living resources (such as fishes, etc.).
Given the above options and range of MPAs, selection of the most appropriate type of zone for
the protection and management of UCH depends on: a) The distance from shore, i.e., if its location
falls within the territorial waters (12 n.m. from the baseline) of a coastal state or within a proclaimed
E.E.Z. (200 n.m. from the baseline); and b) the type of valuable resource found in the surrounding area
of UCH. This is, of course, in the case that “in situ” protection and management of UCH is chosen.
3.2. Sea-Use Planning in Areas Including UCH: Identifying Synergies and Conflicts
Although the designation of natural and cultural protection zones is of prime importance for
UCH, even more significant is the content of the planning implemented within the limits of such zones.
In other words, what is more important is to properly allocate and manage the sea uses and activities,
so that synergies are promoted and conflicts are avoided. This section identifies activities that are
compatible with UCH, as well as activities affecting and seriously threatening this type of resource.
According to the existing literature and research experience, maritime activities that constitute
threats to and may directly affect and damage UCH, include [
]: (a) All construction reaching
the seabed (mining of fossils and metals, drilling, aggregates extraction, etc.); (b) all installations making
use of the seabed (pipelines, cables, etc.); (c) certain fishing techniques (e.g., dragnet bottom-trawling)
that create a great disturbance to all living and non-living resources found on the seabed; and
(d) military and defense exercises and activities. Another serious threat now gaining intensity is
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human interference directed at UCH, a result of technological developments that allow easier access
by humans to submerged assets [2,32].
Beyond the above maritime activities directly affecting and harming UCH, there are also others
that may indirectly affect submerged cultural assets. As the sea constitutes a blue continuum—where
the flow of materials (substances, pollution, etc.) is unimpeded, following unpredictable patterns of
dispersion and movement—UCH may also be threatened by activities that take place far from UCH
sites [
]. Such activities include: Fossil fuel extraction, maritime transport, and military activities,
i.e., all kinds of activities that threaten marine resources in case of technological disasters (e.g., oil
spills). Beyond those activities, pollution from marine and land-based activities (e.g., marine litter,
uncontrolled waste water disposal in the sea) is another threat for UCH [26,28,30,3335].
Regarding the compatible uses and the synergies created with UCH, these may include: (a) Nature
reserves and natural heritage sites (designated or not as MPAs), with which cultural assets co-exist
harmoniously and enjoy recognition and protection; (b) scientific research ensuring enhancement of
knowledge and education; and (c) recreation and marine tourism activities (wildlife watching, scuba
diving, etc.), so that humankind benefits from the existence of UCH [
]. However, especially
regarding tourism development and leisure opportunities, the challenges faced raise controversy.
While tourism development is a promising option both in terms of job opportunities and economic
growth, risks also exist, mainly due to the direct contact of humans with the submerged assets.
In short, the identification of compatible and incompatible uses with UCH is of prime importance
when planning in areas including UCH resources. MSP implementations may ensure that conflicts
and threats are avoided, creating conservation of UCH resources for present and future generations.
Synergies may also be achieved, adding economic value to the UCH capital, which is a significant task
if UCH is to receive priority over other activities and maritime regimes. Furthermore, the identification
of conflicting and non-compatible uses is essential for coastal states, in order to establish restrictions
and regulations, as well as safety distance limits between UCH and other uses, thus assisting decision-
making (licensing, permissions, etc.) for activities in the buffer zones of UCH.
4. Implications and Prospects in Greece
4.1. The Context and Legislation for UCH Management and Preservation
Greece is a country with a long and glorious past that is reflected in its rich and magnificent
monumental heritage spread throughout the country and well beyond its territorial seas. Indeed,
according to a study conducted in 2010 [37], Greece counts more than 10,000 archaeological sites and
ancient monuments and another few thousand monuments of modern times, found both on land and
in the sea.
Having full acknowledgment of the invaluable cultural property located in areas of national
jurisdiction (and well beyond), the Greek state (under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture)
has long established a full and integrated legislative framework to tackle all issues related to the
management and protection of its cultural assets, both on land and in the sea [
] (see also
Table 1). The first Greek law that governed Greek antiquities was passed in 1834. This was subject to
amendments until 2002, when the latest law was adopted. This law (No 3028) covers national heritage,
both tangible and intangible, of all periods of time, regardless of their location (even in areas beyond
the national jurisdiction). The law also provides regulations on the preservation and management
of the Greek monumental heritage, the most important being those included in Art. 13, introducing
protection zoning for assets found both on land and in the sea. Two kinds of protection zoning were
introduced [40]:
Protection zone A is the zone of absolute protection
that usually delimitates the strict area of
the monument or archaeological site. Within this zone, all kinds of interventions and constructions are
prohibited (with the exception of actions taken for the restoration and preservation of the monument).
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Protection zone B is the buffer zone
, extending to such a distance as to include areas that interact
with the monument and its surrounding landscape. According to the provisions of law 3028, in zone B,
planning must include land-use restrictions and regulations, ensuring that the monument is protected
from any kind of visual, aural, and olfactory nuisance, as well as other nuisances that are provoked by
inappropriate action and excessive construction activity.
Table 1. Cultural heritage protection zones (jurisdiction under the Ministry of Culture).
1932 Buffer zone of 500 m radius
(zone giving jurisdiction to the Ministry of Culture over building permissions)
1950 Landscapes of outstanding natural beauty (zone transferred to the Ministry for the Environment in 2011)
2002 Protection zone A and protection zone B
Source: adapted from [40].
In short, including a clear spatial dimension (planning tools and zones) in law 3028 was certainly a
breakthrough in Greek cultural heritage legislation. However, what is more important than designating
monuments and then delimitating protection zones is how to be consistent with the spirit of the cultural
heritage legislation and the objective of preservation, without suppressing the need of areas to grow
and develop, and the necessity of generations to evolve socially and economically.
4.2. UCH Sites and Designations
Greece has a long and rich cultural past, and it is estimated that a great number of cultural objects
and sites exist on its seabed. So far, however, very few of them have been discovered and even fewer
have been revealed to the public. This is deemed to be the result of: (a) The rough oceanography
of the Greek sea floor, making the discovery of cultural objects very difficult, unless they are found
very close to the shore or discovered by accident; (b) the natural phenomena and processes occurring
underwater and on the seabed, which make it extremely difficult to locate objects and to find them
well-preserved; (c) the scarcity of marine archaeological research in Greek territorial waters, mainly
due to the difficulties and the high cost of working underwater, as well as the specialized experience
and equipment needed; and (d) the secrecy with which most related research data and discoveries
are treated, in order to avoid illicit actions (given that surveillance of underwater objects is almost
So far, the only official data in Greece (open to the public) concerning UCH sites and objects,
are provided by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and specifically, through its official data-base, also
available online ( This data-base, however, includes information
only on UCH sites that come with an act of designation. This means that no information is included
either on submerged objects not yet designated nor on objects with high cultural value that should
remain unknown to the public.
Given the above, this paper attempted original research in the official (open to the public)
data-base of the Ministry of Culture, in order to record the designated UCH sites of Greece. According
to this research, in total, 88 underwater archaeological sites were recorded, spread throughout the
Greek territorial waters (see Table 2). The highest number of sites was recorded in the marine space
surrounding the Peloponnese region, although in total, UCH presence is higher in the Aegean Sea.
The designation of UCH sites began in Greece in 1948 (in the commercial port of Rhodes).
While these sites derive mainly from the Classical Era, their origin and construction range from the
Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. Regarding their location, the majority of designated UCH
archaeological sites are coastal. This means they cover both terrestrial and marine areas and usually
regard ancient cities that were eventually submerged (due to earthquakes, geological processes, etc.).
On the contrary, those found totally underwater are usually ancient port infrastructures, walls, and
sometimes wrecks with loads.
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Table 2. Designated UCH sites in Greece.
Regions Total (Underwater *) First and Last Year of
Designation UCH Period of Construction
Peloponnese 21 (2) 1950–2009 Bronze Age up to post-Byzantine Era
North Aegean 17 (8) 1960–2006 Prehistoric Era up to Byzantine Era
South Aegean 16 (7) 1948–2012 Prehistoric Era up to post-Byzantine Era
Crete 13 (4) 1967–2005 Bronze Age up to modern Greek Era
Thessaly 10 (5) 1965–2004 Classical Era up to post-Byzantine Era
Attica 8 (2) 1979–2003 Bronze Age up to Early Byzantine Era
Central Greece 7 (2) 1985–2001 Classical Era up to post-Byzantine Era
Ionian Islands 3 (-) 1994–2003
Late Bronze Age up to post-Byzantine Era
Central Macedonia 2 (2) 1987–2003 Prehistoric Era up to Byzantine Era
Eastern Macedonia 1 (-) 1987 Classical Era
Epirus - - -
Western Greece - - -
TOTAL 88 1948–2012 -
* Number of sites being totally underwater (not extending both to terrestrial and marine parts). Source: http:
// (official data—Hellenic Ministry of Culture).
In short, UCH sites of Greece are of great historical value and of great national and international
importance. However, the ones included in the database of the Ministry of Culture do not constitute the
full list. Their number is estimated to be much higher, if one also considers those yet to be discovered
(accidentally or not) or those yet to be designated, if the state chooses for inclusion in the list of the
cultural heritage of the country. Whatever the actual number of UCH sites might be, existing trends in
the marine space and the growing interest in allocating more human uses and installations in the sea
are expected to raise controversy and dilemmas on the type of management to be adapted for UCH.
The role of MSP in this decision-making will be decisive, given that its role is to regulate “when” and
“where” human activities take place at sea, ensuring these are as efficient and sustainable as possible
(European Commission).
4.3. The Blue Growth Trend and the Role of MSP in Greece: Challenges for UCH
Situated in the east Mediterranean Basin, between the Ionian and the Aegean Seas, Greece is
known for its extremely insular and coastal nature. Thousands of islands, islets, and outcrops compose
the marine space of Greece, which is also characterized by great depths, hosting significant species
(catches, etc.), as well as a great variety of other living and non-living resources [18,20].
Given this peculiar nature, Greece has an interesting and long tradition in maritime economic
activities, taking full advantage of its coastal and marine morphology and resources. According to
recent statistics, Greece is placed among the top countries in the EU in fishing exports (free fishing
and aquaculture), and among those with the largest shipping fleet in the world [
]. At the same time,
due to its extremely insular nature, in the Greek marine space, a dense naval transportation system
exists, with sea lanes serving passenger and commercial transit, as well as marine tourism.
With its maritime tradition and oceanographic features, Greece has always had a sectorial
approach to maritime spatial planning (with the exception of the two marine national parks of
Zakynthos and Alonnissos, whose management plans were the first to use a place-based planning
approach) [
]. All sectors of the Greek maritime economy are regulated by equal (in number)
national policy documents (approved by the relevant ministries), with the exception of the aquaculture
sector, which is the only one that has a national spatial framework (adopted in 2011, via Official
Gazette No 2505/B/2011) that sets the rules and regulations for the spatial organization of aquaculture
activities. The key objective of all the above sectorial policy documents and spatial plans, is always the
expansion of the sector in question, both geographically and economically.
Lately, however, this sectorial approach that has prevailed in Greece (placing an emphasis on the
development of specific economic sectors in the sea) is being severely challenged by a more place-based
approach, especially regarding spatial planning [
]. In fact, this transition from sectorial maritime
spatial planning (MSP) towards MSP under a place-based approach became official in Greece after
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the passage of the new law of 2018 (Law No 4546). According to this law (harmonizing the EU MSP
Directive 2014/89), Greece must soon (i.e., before March 2021) approve maritime spatial plans under
the ecosystem approach (which has as its prerequisite the endorsement of a place-based planning
This latest trend in Greece towards a place-based approach in MSP is of great importance to
UCH, which is found in abundance. This is firstly because place-based MSP may effectively tackle key
challenges related to the blue growth trend currently taking place in the country (mainly related to the
marine tourism sector and the developments in the fossil fuel extraction sector). Secondly, MSP under
a place-based approach may ensure better organization and regulation of maritime activities that may
directly or indirectly affect UCH. Finally, it can also provide solutions to upgrade the economic value
of UCH to make it more appealing compared to other economic activities (having a more direct and
extractive economic value).
5. Conclusions and Discussion
Underwater cultural heritage constitutes an invaluable resource, from an ecological, educational,
and economic point of view, that needs acknowledgement and proper treatment to continue offering
great benefits to humankind. However, despite its indisputable value, UCH has mainly been neglected
in most marine planning attempts, given the sectorial approach that has prevailed until now when
planning in the sea, placing an emphasis on certain economic activities and regimes. Lately, however,
now that maritime spatial planning (MSP) under a place-based approach has been gaining ground all
over the world, the opportunities and challenges for UCH are considerably different.
In Greece, although UCH resources are estimated to exist in abundance, so far, very few UCH
sites have been discovered and even fewer have been shared with the public. The existing blue
growth trend and the growing interest in allocating more human uses and installations in the sea
are expected to raise controversy and dilemmas regarding the type of management to be adapted
for UCH. Therefore, Greece has to proceed at a faster pace towards the elaboration of maritime
spatial plans under a place-based approach, so that human activities are wisely regulated, avoiding
user–use and user–environment conflicts and creating conditions for UCH conservation for present
and future generations.
The key argument of this paper is that MSP can become a key procedure and a valuable ally
of UCH. However, it is important to keep in mind that maintaining and integrating UCH into MSP
requires that such resources are highly prioritized compared to other resources and maritime regimes.
This challenge is probably the greatest for UCH in the era of blue growth, especially if one considers
that even if UCH constitutes a resource of great socio-cultural value, it has very few direct or extractive
uses of economic importance. Therefore, a future task for spatial planners and decision-makers will be
how to reconcile the blue growth trend with UCH preservation and how to upgrade the economic
value of UCH to make the conservation and enhancement of such resources a priority in MSP.
Given the above, the key issues discussed in this paper can have a practical application in the
forthcoming development of maritime spatial plans in Greece, under a place-based approach. However,
if the UCH parameter is to be properly considered in this process, future research must focus on a
selected marine pilot area in Greece, where apart from the designated UCH sites, other submerged
objects and coastal assets (having a cultural value) will also be evaluated (such as modern shipwrecks,
submerged buildings, lighthouses, etc.). In this research, a key objective will be to identify and apply
suitable methods (e.g., environmental economics) to value and evaluate UCH in a specific marine area.
This will inevitably contribute to the preparation of Greece’s first place-based maritime spatial plans,
which must be completed and approved before 2021.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... It is worth mentioning here that other relevant terms, broader than those provided above, can be used. For example, "Coastal cultural heritage", which includes maritime and underwater assets, as well as terrestrial ones, such as historic waterfront buildings, lighthouses, military fortifications and structures, waterfront residential homes, and mill buildings (Claesson, 2011;Papageorgiou 2019). Other terms used in international documents (e.g., the 1954 Hague Convention) and literature mention "underwater cultural property" and "submerged objects", highlighting the tangible character of UCH and the rights to salvage and rescue their content (Strati, 1991;Graham, 2002;Frigo, 2004). ...
... This means that sovereign rights (and thus protection) of the coastal State regarding UCH do not extend to the Continental Shelf (CS) and the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (see Fig. 1). In fact, beyond the Contiguous Zone (CZ), UCH is "abandoned" to the benefit of mankind, unless the State of cultural origin decides to act (Maarleveld, 2012) or claim the objects (Strati, 1991;Francioni, 2003;Papageorgiou, 2019). ...
... Acknowledging and evaluating the value of UCH is essential for stakeholders and decision-makers in order to identify the costs and benefits of UCH preservation compared to other maritime resource and activities (Claesson, 2011;Champ et al., 2003;Papageorgiou, 2019). This is especially important now in the era of the development of a sustainable blue economy, where the value of market activities can easily be estimated, in contrast with UCH which has limited direct or extractive uses. ...
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Understanding, recognising, and utilising Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) as a sensitive asset in the marine space and reconciling its preservation and promotion within the sustainable blue economy perspective is a real challenge. The purpose of this handbook is to explore challenges linked to the incorporation of UCH into the Maritime Spatial Planning process and examine the different modes of its incorporation into maritime spatial plans. To this end, it is necessary to outline the legal framework underpinning UCH, that is, the obligations stemming from key international instruments such as the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, as well as the commitments stemming from other processes, such as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol under the Barcelona Convention, that are relevant to the consideration and integration of Underwater Cultural Heritage into the MSP process. Furthermore, this guide gathers and reviews relevant literature and other materials, and summarises the existing and potential options that can directly inform planners and MSP authorities1, maritime archaeologists, cultural heritage/archaeology authorities, and practitioners on a topic that is central to the protection and management of the cultural and historic marine environment (e.g., regarding access, education, and recreational activities such as diving, etc.). Our review is underpinned by several case studies at national, sea-basin, and regional levels, highlighting that the use of the marine environment should be spatially planned, recognising the protection and management needs of UCH according to its significance and in support of Blue Economy activities such as maritime heritage / underwater cultural tourism. Given the wide-ranging benefits of incorporating UCH into MSP, the audience for this handbook is likely to be broad, including:  Public administrative bodies responsible for establishing maritime spatial plans (MSP authorities) at any level within European Union (EU) Member States. This includes spatial planners and any supporting agencies which, while performing their duties, are willing to promote ecosystem-based, place-based, adaptive, and resilient maritime spatial planning;  Local authorities and stakeholders in the respective areas who can directly benefit from this guidance to adjust their long-term strategies and zoning plans, when negotiating with potential investors and for citizen outreach and communication;  Knowledge providers, professionals, and consultants who conduct MSP related studies for public authorities and their administrative agencies;  Maritime archaeologists and their institutions running UCH research programmes to raise awareness on the drivers, added values, barriers and impacts of integrating UCH into MSP processes;  General public willing to understand how MSP decisions are made and to engage with an integrated vision of the benefits that a “planning with culture and nature” approach may have on the environment, health, culture, and well-being.
... 14 2018). This is particularly important in the era of a sustainable blue economy where UCH, beyond its undeniable social and cultural value, can be considered a resource with uses of socioeconomic relevance (Papageorgiou, 2019). ...
... Regarding the vulnerability quantification, the limitations are linked to an ADB built upon bibliographic research. Underwater ADBs are very scarce, incomplete, or not publicly available to prevent illicit actions (Papageorgiou, 2019). These databases would allow identifying patterns affecting UCH and taking actions, which is often hampered by the lack of accessible data (Andreou et al., 2022). ...
Technical Report
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Memoria anual del Laboratorio de Estudios y Conservación del Patrimonio Histórico de la Universidad de Cádiz, año 2022
... 2018). This is particularly important in the era of a sustainable blue economy where UCH, beyond its undeniable social and cultural value, can be considered a resource with uses of socioeconomic relevance (Papageorgiou, 2019). The proposed methodology is based on indicators that follow the principles of acceptability, reliability, simplicity of application, and low data requirements (Alexandrakis and Poulos, 2014). ...
... Regarding the vulnerability quantification, the limitations are linked to an ADB built upon bibliographic research. Underwater ADBs are very scarce, incomplete, or not publicly available to prevent illicit actions (Papageorgiou, 2019). These databases would allow identifying patterns affecting UCH and taking actions, which is often hampered by the lack of accessible data (Andreou et al., 2022). ...
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Coastal areas are characterized by high energetic conditions associated to the wave transformation process and by numerous underwater cultural heritage (UCH) sites whose preservation is crucial given their cultural and economic value. UCH management requires a decision support system to prioritize UCH interventions and actions for long-term preservation. This paper presents a novel UCH risk assessment methodology to quantitatively assess the impact of wave-induced hazards on UCH in coastal environments at a local level and the screening of UCH sites at risk. The UCH risk is calculated as a function of vulnerability (depending on archaeological materials, slope, and seabed type), hazard (decontextualization, scouring, and erosive wear), and exposure computed for the UCH sites registered in an archaeological database. The procedure was validated at two shipwreck sites, Bucentaure and Fougueux , in the Bay of Cadiz. An agreement between the risk index value and the in situ measurements of the rates of scouring and corrosion (used as a proxy of erosive wear) was observed. The methodology was tested in the Bay of Cadiz using an archaeological database containing 56 UCH sites. It allowed identifying the UCH sites at high risk: six are at risk of decontextualization, four are in peril of scouring erosion, and two are at risk of erosive wear. Two UCH sites at high risk of at least two hazards were also identified. This UCH risk assessment methodology is a stepping stone towards a decision support system that will give priority to research, prospection, management, and protection measures in the UCH sites analyzed to ensure their preservation in a context of climate change in the era of a sustainable blue economy.
... The integration of MCH into ecosystem-based frameworks and management structures has been shown to be an essential step for the sustainability and survival of coastal communities [4,5,58], yet issues have been raised regarding siphoned translations of MCH as a cultural ecosystem service, as the resource is often only measured though tourism and recreation, as in the Chongoene project. ...
... The previous literature has presented methodologies by which to understand the functions, services, and values of cultural heritage within environmental frameworks [59,60], and various examples exist regarding the practical integration of MCH into coastal management, such as Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Protected Areas, and policy frameworks, such as the Blue Economy and Blue Growth [58,61]. To build upon this work, the projects presented in this paper have exemplified the necessity to integrate, translate, and develop the role of community within the early stages of the identification and management of MCH resources. ...
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This paper presents the key contributions of marine cultural heritage to the survival of coastal ecosystems and the communities that rely on them in East Africa. Marine cultural heritage (MCH) describes the evidence of past human interactions with coastal and marine space, encompassing tangible material culture remains and associated intangible cultural expressions within coastal communities. By incorporating the protection of MCH into local and regional environmental frameworks, we gain an essential indicator to monitor change dynamics in natural habitats, the cumulative impacts of climate change, and the development of social adaptation strategies. An essential aspect of this development is the move away from global sustainability strategies towards community-centric management and stewardship. Such processes utilise a combination of traditional knowledge systems and scientific approaches designed to harness targeted economic, ecological, and social sustainable development. To argue for the incorporation of MCH into local and regional environmental frameworks in the area, this paper presents four case studies from the Rising from the Depths Network, a challenge-led research network focusing on harnessing the potential of MCH to bring sustainable development strategies to East Africa.
... Η ΕΠΚ, ως «ακίνητος», αλλά και πολύτιμος πόρος για την εκάστοτε τοπική κοινωνία στην περιοχή της οποίας εντοπίζεται (Papageorgiou, 2019), έχει υψηλή προτεραιότητα στον θαλάσσιο χώρο με γνώμονα την επιτόπια (in situ) διατήρηση και προστασία της (UNESCO, 2001). Μάλιστα, όπως αναφέρεται από τους Stancheva και Stanchev (2020), η διαχείριση της ΕΠΚ επιτρέπει την πολλαπλή χρήση του θαλάσσιου χώρου μέσω του τρίπτυχου της προστασίας της κληρονομιάς αυτής, της προστασίας του θαλάσσιου περιβάλλοντος, και της ανάδειξης και των δύο από τον τουρισμό αναψυχής/καταδύσεων. ...
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Η αξιοποίηση των θαλάσσιων πόρων βρίσκεται σήμερα στο επίκεντρο ευρωπαϊκών πολιτικών για τη βιώσιμη Γαλάζια Οικονομία. Στο πλαίσιο αυτό, ο Θαλάσσιος Χωροταξικός Σχεδιασμός για την κατανομή δραστηριοτήτων και των αντίστοιχων χρήσεων στον θαλάσσιο χώρο, συνιστά ένα νέο πεδίο σημαντικών προκλήσεων για τους σχεδιαστές και τα κέντρα λήψης αποφάσεων, με δεδομένη την έως τώρα ενασχόλησή τους με τον χερσαίο χώρο. Συν τοις άλλοις, αναδεικνύει ευκαιρίες για τη βιώσιμη και την ανθεκτική ανάπτυξη των παράκτιων και κυρίως των απομονωμένων νησιωτικών περιοχών. Στους προς αξιοποίηση πόρους του θαλάσσιου χώρου συγκαταλέγεται και η Ενάλια Πολιτιστική Κληρονομιά (ΕΠΚ), ως στοιχείο της διαδρομής του ανθρώπου στον θαλάσσιο και παράκτιο χώρο. Η κατάλληλη ένταξη της ΕΠΚ στον ΘΧΣ, έτσι ώστε να ενισχύονται η προστασία της και η παραγωγή προστιθέμενης αξίας – κοινωνικής, οικονομικής, πολιτιστικής, ιστορικής, αναπτυξιακής, κ.ά. – για τις περιοχές όπου εντοπίζεται η ΕΠΚ, αναδεικνύει σημαντικά εννοιολογικά ζητήματα και μεθοδολογικές προσεγγίσεις σχεδιασμού, που βρίσκονται στο επίκεντρο της παρούσας εργασίας. Η εμβάθυνση στα ζητήματα αυτά στοχεύει στον εμπλουτισμό του μεθοδολογικού οπλοστασίου του σχεδιασμού, φωτίζοντας τα κρίσιμα προς διαχείριση θέματα χωρικού ενδιαφέροντος στο θαλάσσιο περιβάλλον, αναδεικνύοντας/ προσαρμόζοντας κατάλληλα σχεδιαστικά εργαλεία και ενδεδειγμένες έννοιες για χρήση στον σχεδιασμό του θαλάσσιου χώρου, καθώς και τονίζοντας τις δυσκολίες υλοποίησης των σχεδιαστικών προσεγγίσεων στις ιδιαιτερότητες του θαλάσσιου χώρου και των τοπικών κοινοτήτων που συνδέονται στενά με την ΕΠΚ.
... The commercialization of water sports and angling and the development of coastal walks and trails, also provide economic opportunities for a range of local hospitality and other service providers (Cooper and Boyd, 2018;Huveneers et al., 2017;ECORYS, 2013;Hynes et al., 2017). However, as visitor numbers increase, threats to sensitive marine and coastal environments and their societies and cultures point to a need for better information on visitor preferences to develop sustainable management strategies (Hall, 2001;Pafi et al., 2020;Papageorgiou, 2019). A recent bibliographic review suggests that the economic features of this market have received much less attention (Kabil et al., 2021). ...
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Domestic marine and coastal tourism has increased in importance over the last number of years due to the impacts of environmental concerns connected with international travel, the associated health benefits and COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Consequently, this paper analyses the determinants of demand for domestic day trips and overnight stays by Irish residents to marine and coastal areas. Two logit models examine the factors that influence participation in the coastal day trip and overnight stay markets, respectively. Two truncated travel cost models are employed to explore trip duration, one analyzing the number of day trips taken and the other examining the number of nights spent in marine and coastal areas. The results suggest a division amongst those who can and cannot access marine and coastal tourism. In particular, those who are financially better off have a greater level of access to Irish marine and coastal tourism. Additionally, although generally disregarded in tourism policy and marketing, the results indicate a vibrant day trip market that commands high per person consumer surplus.
... In fact, the protection of ancient cultural heritage in many countries in the world is facing enormous challenges due to the problems of urban sprawl, ecological deterioration and human destruction brought about by economic prosperity and the development of industrial civilization. For instance, in Europe, Durrës site in Albania has been destroyed due to haphazard urban infrastructure construction (Turku, 2019), while the ancient underwater ruins of Greece are also dying out at an accelerated rate because of sea level change, earthquakes, shifting landmasses and dam construction (Papageorgiou, 2019). In Asia, Rock Art ruins of Hadoti in India (Srivastava, 2021) and Umm Qais site in northern Jordan (AlMasri & Ababneh, 2021) have also been affected by urban sprawl, ecological degradation and human destruction. ...
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This study takes the Zhouyuan site region, which is the most representative Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771BC) large city-site in China, as an example. Based on the interpretation results of satellite remote sensing images from 1973 to 2021, the paper systematically analyzed the evolution of landscape patterns in the Zhouyuan site region spanning for about 50 years using 4 methods, including land use classification, land use transfer matrix, landscape pattern distribution gravity center model and landscape pattern index. Additionally, the results show that nowadays Zhouyuan site is still in a period of accelerated invasion and destruction by natural and human factors, which indicates that the protection of the Zhouyuan site has been inadequate or even unsuccessful for a long time. For the purpose of making more accurate and better protection of the Zhouyuan site, four challenges and six protection recommendations have been put forward. Based on remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS), this paper contributed a method combining 4 models to analyze the spatial-temporal evolution characteristics of landscape pattern of ancient large city-sites, in order to provide more basis for the formulation of cultural relic protection strategies.
... Such a prioritization can be accomplished by the identification of immovable and non-renounceable resources that normally gain priority in marine space allocation [21]; and the multi-use of marine space by establishing synergies among uses. UCH, as an immovable and valuable to community heritage [34], gets high priority in marine space for in situ preservation and protection [5]. As stated also by Stancheva and Stanchev [35], UCH management allows multi-use of marine space by establishing the triptych of cultural heritage management, environmental protection and recreation/diving tourism. ...
During the last decade, the rising interest in the marine world has enriched the planning discourse with issues such as the protection, preservation as well as sustainable and resilient exploitation of marine resources. At the European level, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) has come to the forefront in this respect, as part of the EU blue growth strategy and a powerful tool for serving the transition from traditional maritime sectoral approaches to an integrated, placed-based, data-driven, participatory and multi-dimensional new maritime planning rationale. Among the maritime resources concerned, Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) gains ground as a valuable asset in pursuing local development objectives of coastal and insular communities. Towards this end, MSP endeavours need to successfully incorporate UCH management and compromise UCH with other sectoral uses in the sea. Along these lines, this paper aims at highlighting the context of sustainable and resilient UCH management within the MSP realm, by structuring the conceptual framework for its understanding and introducing the key methodological steps for its implementation. The aforementioned context is parallelized to current UCH management reality in order to explore UCH handling within MSP in practice; and illuminate successful UCH management in MSP approaches in selected countries/regions at the EU level.
New and emerging threats to underwater cultural heritage also have implications for international regimes of protection. These include metal pirates, sand mafias, deep seabed mining, green technology, rare earth minerals, marine genetic bioprospecting, Sino–US geopolitical relations in the South China Sea and climate change. Seafloor extractive industries, targeting genetic resources, oil, gas, sand or minerals are significantly responsible for steadily growing physical disturbance of the seafloor. In addition, the global transition to renewable energy in response to global warming, particularly low carbon technologies, has stimulated rapidly increasing demand for rare earth minerals. As mineral security has grown in strategic importance for all nations, multinational corporations have turned to deposits on the floor of the ocean. Another threat is found in the escalating politicisation and militarisation of the seas and oceans of the Indo-Pacific region, with intricate implications for underwater cultural heritage located in disputed waters, ranging from evidence alleged to be provided by sunken wrecks in advocacy of sovereignty claims to jurisdiction over salvage of metals from sunken hulls. Deep seabed mining and climate change both pose threats to tangible heritage, such as the final resting places of sunken ships and their crews, and intangible heritage, for example, the belief systems and cosmologies of Indigenous Pacific Islanders, which are potentially impacted by sea-level rise and associated erosion of the natural environment, including traditional seascapes and the corresponding loss of ‘spirit-scapes’, eroding the cultures of many Pacific Islanders.KeywordsSouth China seaMarine genetic bioprospectingDeep seabed miningIllicit sand traffickingMetal piratesClimate changeIntangible heritage
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Urbanisation, comprising development, land reclamation and population growth along coastal margins, continues to place significant pressure on the maritime cultural heritage (MCH), particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Thus, there is a growing need for ascertaining the extent of the affected MCH resource and its condition. One such assessment is being undertaken by the Maritime Endangered Archaeology (MarEA) project, which is generating a unique informed database of the maritime resource in the MENA region. Through a regional overview combined with focused assessment on two case studies – Marsa Matruh (Egypt) and Bahrain – this paper demonstrates the threat urbanisation poses and the damage it has inflicted on MCH. The analyses and documentation that MarEA produces via remote sensing, deskbased and field-based assessments, constitutes a valuable resource that, at the very least, exists in digital perpetuity. It establishes a record that can be drawn upon to formulate targeted strategies and initiatives inclusive of the maritime cultural heritage resource.
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Extension of spatial planning from land to the marine space has recently become a key procedure for tackling the growing environmental and blue growth related challenges. However, given the transboundary nature of the sea (facilitating the flow of all kinds of materials and calling for special considerations in terms of resource and ecosystem management) not all the philosophy, planning models and procedures can be "transplanted" from terrestrial to marine spatial planning. Governance issues are subject to the same limitation. This paper discusses key differences in the marine environment (compared to the land), which affect marine spatial planning and governance and is structured around the following key issues: (i) the public status of the sea, which involves a wide spectrum of stakeholders (among them the maritime regimes), (ii) the sovereign rights in the sea that are not separately defined by each state but by UNCLOS (especially beyond the territorial waters), (iii) the geopolitical constraints on proclaiming EEZs that reduce the area within which each coastal country can practice MSP, (iv) the usually non-defined administrative limits in the marine parts of a coastal country that impede decentralization of competencies and decision making, and (v) the lack of geospatial and socioeconomic and cultural data, which creates uncertainty both for the planners and decision-makers. This article concludes by highlighting the need for adopting a tailor-made MSP research agenda and by stressing the need to enhance cross-border cooperation as well as to make transboundary considerations when planning in the sea.
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Greece is a country undergoing major changes in its course towards recovering from the recession and meeting the desirable economic standards. Over the past years, a series of legislative acts have reformed not only the sectoral policies and guidelines for the development of the main economic sectors of the country, but also the spatial planning policy and system, which in the period of just two years (between 2014 and 2016) underwent a double reform (Laws 4269 and 4447). Planning procedures became more ‘favourable’ to investments and the market’s needs. However, despite this early shift towards a more flexible and neoliberal approach, competitiveness and economic growth have not yet been achieved, whilst spatial planning is still ‘on hold’, leading to further entrepreneurial hesitancy and to a further delay in meeting the State’s requisite economic goals. The paper aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding the future of spatial planning in Greece, in view of achieving economic stability and prosperity. The paper concludes that a suitable spatial planning model for Greece should prioritize public interest and territorial justice, in a way that it will not asphyxiate or discourage private sector initiatives that are so needed for the economic recovery.
Conference Paper
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Cultural heritage is the combined works of man and nature that deserve protection and conservation. Contemporary spatial planning must incorporate the management of cultural and natural heritage as an indispensable element for the sustainable spatial development and the liveability of cities and regions. Furthermore cultural heritage could play an important role for the improvement of the quality of life in urban and rural areas. However, protection and management of cultural heritage is a complicated process aiming at the preservation and enhancement of cultural goods and values that deserve the appropriate care as documents of the cultural identity of societies of the past. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a critical approach of the problems that natural and cultural heritage of Greece is facing today as well as of the possible solutions for its protection. In this context, the paper investigates the spatial-territorial dimension of the cultural heritage of Greece in comparison with the natural environment/heritage. Firstly, an overview of the institutional framework is presented, as well as the related policies and projects in progress, at national and European levels. Secondly the paper attempts to elaborate an index presenting all kinds of monuments and sites (traditional settlements, archeological sites, historic buildings castles ect) at the level of basic administrative units (districts) and a map showing the spatial distribution of these monuments in the country. Thirdly, the paper argues for the need to establish the appropriate managing authorities of monuments and sites, similar to those of protected areas. Finally, the necessary comments/ conclusions are made for the role of spatial planning as a catalyst for the integration of the various sectoral policies concerning the protection and enhancement of cultural resources. These conclusions could serve for the formulation of a new strategy and for the elaboration of the national guidelines in the field of spatial planning in relation to heritage.
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are sites in the ocean and coastal sea that are dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity, fisheries, ecosystem services and cultural values. MPAs range from small, highly protected marine reserves through to large, multiple-use marine parks, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park of Queensland, Australia. This chapter identifies the major policy events and phases of MPA development in Australia, and explores the role and effectiveness of MPAs in conserving Australia’s marine environment. The governance of Australian MPAs is complex; the responsibility for their declaration and management is shared between the Australian (Commonwealth), State and Territory Governments. Progress in the declaration and management of MPAs is not uniform across Australia, with some jurisdictions performing better than others. Australia is considered a world leader in the science and implementation of MPAs. However, there are serious weaknesses in the design of MPAs in Commonwealth waters due to the locating of new MPAs where they are least controversial and least costly. Considerable further effort is needed to create an effective national programme for delivering biodiversity conservation in Australia waters. This is particularly important because Australia’s oceans face an unprecedented set of pressures from accelerating climate change and coastal development. Introduction Australia is responsible for one of the largest marine jurisdictions in the world, covering an area of more than 13.86 million km2. This domain stretches across about 45° of latitude from the tropical waters of the north to the sub-Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean, and encompasses seabed, open ocean and shoreline ecosystems, and near-shore marine and estuarine waters. The marine environment is rich in biodiversity. Over 33000 identified marine species live in Australian waters, including a large number of endemics.
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As in all countries worldwide, in Greece too, sites selected to become part of the UNESCO’s world heritage are representative samples of the country’s monumental heritage and therefore constitute exemplars of planning adopted for their spatial protection. By the case study conducted in the Greek UNESCO sites, it was revealed that, despite the fact that most of the monuments are subjects of multiple zoning, little is accomplished for their spatial protection. This is either because zoning and planning launched by the Ministry for the Environment is absent or taking too long to get approved or because zoning deriving from the Ministry of Culture is void of spatial regulations. This means that on the one hand the Ministry for the Environment should proceed at a faster pace to the elaboration of Local Spatial Plans that are necessary especially in the case of monuments in rural settings, while on the other hand the Ministry of Culture should immediately proceed to the revision of Protection Zones A and B, so they fall into the guidelines of the new Law 3028 and they acquire spatial restrictions and regulations; a condition that can only be achieved with the collaboration among Spatial Planners and Archaeologists and among competent bodies.
Underwater Cultural Heritage (hereinafter UCH) constitutes an invaluable resource that has been poorly – if at all – addressed in most spatial planning attempts, due to the sectorial approach that has prevailed so far when planning in the sea. Lately however, that spatial planning in the marine space (MSP) is being re-launched under a place-based approach, the chances and challenges for UCH are considerably different. According to the existing international legislation (UNCLOS), coastal states can only interfere with UCH up to their Contiguous Zone (24 nm from the baseline), whilst beyond that limit UCH is left “abandoned” (unless “flag” or “cultural origin” states claim their protection). Of course, this “freezing” of jurisdictions beyond the CZ, means that for the greatest part of the oceans and seas, UCH protection totally depends on the wise regulation of all other human activities that affect directly or indirectly, cultural heritage. The paper argues that MSP under a place-based approach is a unique opportunity for better protection and wiser management of UCH in greater distances than ever, provided that coastal states proclaim their EEZ (in order to extend as much as possible the area within which they can practice MSP and therefore, tackle conflicts and encourage synergies with UCH). The paper proposes a five-step strategy for considering UCH in MSP. Step 1: Register and evaluate UCH sites and objects, Step 2: Identify ways to upgrade the economic value of UCH, Step 3: Select the most appropriate type of protection zoning, Step 4: Provide regulations and restrictions for activities within the UCH protection zone, Step 5: Ensure integration and cohesion of the planning adopted in the UCH buffer zones with the spatial/sea-use planning adopted in the wider marine area. The paper concludes by highlighting that beyond any strategy, the greater challenge and stake is how to compromise blue growth trend with UCH preservation and promotion.
Coastal zone management requires consideration of not only conservation efforts, but also the sustainable use of their natural resources for human purposes. Therefore, there is a growing consensus on the importance of designing new multidisciplinary, economically affordable, and effective approaches to address these needs. In this study, a rapid assessment methodology is proposed to generate habitat characterization that works as a baseline for management. Several rocky-shallow sites located in Bahia de Navidad were assessed from the point of view of “landscape quality” for the practice of recreational scuba diving, to provide an overview of the state of physical, biological and environmental features and to evaluate their potential for tourism use. More than 30 sites were sampled over a year, grouped in 7 zones, covering three periods: an aftermath period of a circumstantial category 2 hurricane (November and December 2011), a dry season (February–June 2012), and a rainy season (July–December 2012). The sites were described using 40 variables considered appealing for the practice of recreational scuba diving, sub classified in four criteria: abiotic factors, anthropogenic impact, biotic factors, and accessibility. An expert criterion was used as a weighting factor to enhance the most significant variables defining the quality of a dive experience, then the data were analyzed from a zonal classification approach, followed by a non-metric MDS analysis conducted to corroborate the emerged patterns and a PERMANOVA analysis to identify significant differences between zones and seasons. As a result, an integrated zoning pattern oriented for management was determined, where the zones are hierarchically identified accord to their quality scores for the recreational scuba diving practice, and their required skill level is recommended as well. The results also showed evidence of a high ecosystem resilience and low disturbance after the hurricane passed, factors that actually improved the quality of diving experience in this particular case. In addition, the fact that the rainy season showed more favorable features than the dry season (better visibility, warmer sea water and more fauna) was also observed. Finally, the features observed and their relevance for the definition of the quality of the diving experience of the sites and their zones are discussed.
The paper focuses on MSP experience and practice in Greece, which is a coastal country with a singularly extended coastline and a highly insular nature. Given these attributes, Greece has long since developed a detailed and regulatory coastal zone planning system which, however, is merely implemented. At the same time, due to the geopolitical conditions with neighboring (non- E.U.) countries, Greece also has a long tradition in sectoral planning in the sea, and great difficulty in adapting to an area-based management approach. Considering these facts, the paper concludes that, unless the EEZ is proclaimed, Greece is very likely to keep a sectoral MSP orientation in the future (with a few exceptions of area-based management in gulfs and sea-lagoons). Another option for area-based MSP is via extension of the existing management units of terrestrial plans up to the territorial waters. Nevertheless, proclamation of the EEZ is also necessary so as integrated MSP takes place at all levels (national, regional and local) and Greece takes full advantage of its crucial geopolitical position.