NKS Modeling of Tourism Development

Katherine Rodway McKee
Columbia University

Gautam Dasgupta
Columbia University

The twentieth century has seen an explosion of tourism development, particularly in poor, underdeveloped countries, that has impacted the organizational, cultural, and societal adaptation of the built environment and its population. Many tourist destinations are based in and around sites of cultural and natural heritage. To better enable policy makers in decision-making, risk assessment, and hazard mitigation of world heritage social scientists have been acquiring information concerning agents of change and dynamics of human behavior that effect successful sustainable development in these areas.

Through the use of spatial analysis and environmental and social dynamics models this presentation seeks to build an NKS framework and analytical methodology of tourism development as it relates to land use/cover changes over time. Our goal here is to gain a better understanding of the causes and ramifications of change to cultural and natural heritage resources and their surroundings.

Many heritage sites are threatened by lack of maintenance, security issues such as looting of significant elements; encroachment of vegetation; and exposure of the structure and materials. Their regions are subject to mass tourism and related over-development; problems in water resources and hydrological cycles, deforestation, food supply, and disease. Significant changes in land use and land cover in these regions have, and will, disastrously impact both the built and natural environments.

However, we must realize that there will be growth or change factors contributing to a system of habitation within these regions, and, as the economy of these regions rely more and more on tourism, that the heritage resources, which are the income generators, are not destroyed and vanquished like the former societies. It is a matter of conserving a “way of life” for the regional stakeholders—the local people and representatives of our common heritage.

Planning and management for sustainable development at heritage sites has two parts.  The first involves a research methodology, which utilizes broad-scale spatial analysis to identify the causes and effects of human activity over time, make inferences on the mechanisms of cultural change within a region, and understand the dynamics of contemporary development in and around the areas, enabling greater mitigation and management. The second consists of mathematical modeling, which enables quantitative analysis of qualitative data and visualization of future consequences of environmental and man-made threats.

In this presentation we demonstrate how methodology and modeling can be used as effective tools for decision-making at some of the most dynamic and rapidly evolving places in the world.

Created by Mathematica  (April 20, 2004)

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