The countryside as a strategic development scenario for Crete
Rural Crete is defined as the non-urban space of the island comprising almost the whole of its area, and the villages it contains. A diachronic space of habitation, living, production and reproduction of human and other life, a supplier of food and raw materials, cultures, knowledge, feelings and emotions. Today the countryside seeks to take centre stage once more, based on prudent management, the limits of its exploitation ending where the need for its protection begins.
The necessity of the economic regeneration of Crete and Greece as a whole, the search for new development models, the redefinition of terms such as quality of life, healthy diet, free time, quality tourism, etc. bring the question of the countryside dynamically back to the forefront, arousing new interest in its revitalisation on modern terms.
Understanding the importance of abandoned countryside resources (deserted villages or structures, semi-abandoned farming installations and areas, abandoned systems of knowledge and tradition, rural culture, industrial monuments, forgotten pathways and produce, landscapes, hidden archaeological sites) reveals the overriding necessity of adopting these, within a modern integrated approach, as fundamental elements of the ‘new centrality’ of the Cretan countryside
Although shedding light on all these ‘hidden treasures’ of rural Crete is an important step forward, it is their transformation according to specific plans and policies which will determine whether rural Crete can actually become the focus of the quality development of the island.