Superturism is the new tourism for the XXI Century SUDAPAN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION land-morphing infra-landscapes land-production toolsNatural tourist areas are progressively being excluded from the central regions of global economic development. From the up-dated Seven World Wonders only three are in Europe, the others in distant places. We cannot claim that this displacement is something casual. On the contrary, we should pose some questions.

What is the meaning of tourism at the beginning of the XXI Century?
Could the exuberant Caribbean be the laboratory for a new era of tourism?
In what way the often-tense relationship nature-culture-economy should be addressed?
How can we embrace a sustainable urban development for the Caribbean?
Could the Riviera Maya turn into a model-example of development of these regions?
Shouldn’t we consider the specificities of the Caribbean to address a more complex tourist destination?
Could the consumption of the coastal resources be reduced and yet increase the tourist offer?
Is it possible to articulate segments of public coast with a largely privatized waterfront?
Is it possible to unfold the deep hidden cultural layers of the Riviera Maya and re-assess them?

On a map of 1:200.000 scale, especially on a Michelin map, the whole world seems happy; on a map of a larger scale, like the one I had of Lanzarote, things deteriorate: you start to make out the hotels, the leisure infrastructures. On a scale of 1:1 you find yourself backing the normal world, which is not very pleasant; but if you increase the scale even more, you are plunged into a nightmare: you start to make out the dust mites, mycoses and parasites that eat away at the flesh.
Michael Houellebec, The Possibility of an Island

Distance does not imply a lack of involvement, but a special form of it. To exercise that micro and macroscopic oscillation involves a form of reconciliation with previously unmanageable structures and sophisticated and complex spatial organizations. These increasingly complex liaisons are better addressed if considered in its full dynamic scalar condition. Therefore, the landscape for Supertourism* should be the result of this multilayered vertical axis in its juncture with the horizontal constrictions and potentialities of the 1:1 scale, the real thing that exists beyond its representation, mapping or cartography. While the distances articulate the landscape of Supertourism*, it resides in the 1:1 scale.

Three strategies, three operative distances are developed to foresee the grounds of Supertourism*.

In the late 1980’s, artificial intelligence theorist Craig Reynolds created a computer program to simulate the flocking behaviour of birds. As described by M. Mitchel Waldrop in Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, Reynolds placed a large number of autonomous, birdlike agents, which he called ‘boids,’ into an on-screen environment. The boids were programmed to follow three simple rules of behaviour: first, to maintain a minimum distance from other objects in the environment (obstacle as well as other boids); second, to match velocities with other boids in the neighbourhood; third, to move toward the perceived center of mass of boids in its neighbourhood. As Waldrop notes: ‘What is striking about these rules is that none of them said ‘Form a flock’. The rules were entirely local, referring only to what an individual boid could do and see in its own vicinity. If a flock was going to form at all, it would have to do so from the botton-up, as an emergent phenomenon. And yet flocks did form every time.’
Stan Allen, Field Conditions

The concept of land-morphing suggests the possibility of operating by subsequently modifying an hypothetically neutral original field, moulded through multiple natural, nature-artificial and artificial tensions until achieving efficient parameters of adaptability. The shaping of the land is a response to the tensions of one element over the others rather than a priori formal statement.

We therefore defined four land-morphing strategies:

Stretch the Riviera Maya to the whole coast of the Península de Yucatán, diversifying the tourism according to the ecological and landscape conditions of each zone.

Widen the linear coast, at the present of an average width of one kilometre, and transform it into a complex territory, with oasis, with variable and diversified nodes of intensity, from the in-land to the in-water.

Section the all-inclusive tourism flourishing by creating spaces of untouched natural coast and public waterfronts.

Stratify the territory of the Península, multiplying its natural attractions through the activation of hidden layers, both cultural-historical and natural.

These four operations conform the field upon over which strategic events take place. This active topographic field operates as the connective tissue of all the land-production tools. In addition, this hyper-connected landscape, programmatic gelatine, serves as substratum and liaison for the infra-landscape.

‘Water!… An immense body of water!… And what water!… Black, stagnant, so perfectly smooth that not a ripple, not a bubble, marred its surface. No spring, no source. It had been there for thousands of years and remained there, caught unawares by the rock, spread out in a ingle, impassive sheet. In its stone matrix, it had itself become this black, still rock, a captive of the mineral world. It had been subjected to the crushing mass, the enormous upheavals, of this oppressive world. Under this heavy weight, its very nature appeared to have been changed as it seeped through the thickness of the lime slabs that held its secret fast. Thus it had become the densest fluid element of the underground mountain. Its opacity and unwonted consistency made an unknown substance of it, a substance charged with phosphorescences that only appeared on the surface in occasional flashes. These electric tints, which were signs of the dark powers lying on the bottom, manifested the latent life and formidable power of this still dormant element. They made me shiver.’
Henri Bosco, L’Antiquaire

The infra-landscape is a deep layer of the landscape; historically, culturally and physically deep. It is an Archaeology of the past, and thus establishes a metaphysical connection and juncture between culture and landscape. To reveal and activate this yet barely explored infra-world is a central issue of the proposal.
As a matter of fact, the Riviera Maya is, nonetheless, upon a hidden world of caves and water streams, of graves and rite mythical places that occasionally emerge into the ground as spectacular geographical unique features. Yet all these mangroves, cenotes and water streams conform a continuous net that spreads all under the Riviera as an under-mesh of minerals and dense water. As a collar of inverted lighthouses, the cenotes constitute an anthropological and archaeological inverted mimicry of the spectacular treasures on ground.
Therefore, to operate, we needed a cartography of that infra-landscape. Then, the question was how to make it visible, recognizable and, above all, enjoyable. The result is a series of operations that re-creates and counterpoints that underworld. We named it Cenotes International Park. The Riviera Maya is not only about sun and beaches; we are determined to understand it in its full complexity.
The Cenotes International Park is conceived as an instrument of mediation between the economical attraction of a generic and massive tourism and a more meditated and fruitful relation and rendering of the territory within its distinctive and singular potentialities: a generic tourism for a singular destination.

Since familiarity erodes anxiety, the strongest memories I have as a child were the unfamiliar places of summer vacations. If possible I was the last to leave the beach, shut the door, close the curtains, never certain I would see the world outside again just as I had left it. I was hesitant about travel because of the unlikelihood of being able to repeat an experience of place, and I especially disliked travelling fast in case I failed to understand the connections between places.
Peter Greenaway, A Walk Through H.

The land-production tools constitute the 1:1 operations in the landscape, the immediate references of the site and, thus, the visible signs of the tourist production of it. They are the operational devices, the user’s guide of the site as destination. In this way, they have to act as a double helix of program functionality and the spectacular: none of the operations, when chosen among a vast range of possible ones, can be meaningless. However, and simultaneously, its openness and variability must ensure quick recoveries from unexpected failures. This is precisely the rule number one of the field.
This field is as wide as possible, as deep as possible, for its main commitment is to embrace all the minute variations of the site, unfolding the deep beauties of the cenotes and the widely known ruins, the intense blueness of the sea and the unexplored possibilities of dwelling in the mangroves.
A landmark of the strategy as a whole is the understanding of the hotel as the primary image of tourism. Therefore, the next step is to deconstruct it and explore its possible variations and new tropes. The new Supertourism* needs a new ‘hotel’.

The six land-production tools:

Pavilions / Site Museums
The Pavilions and Site Museums are meant to be both places of relax/contemplation and understanding of the site specificities (cultural, geographical, and so forth). Strategically displayed in the landscape as historical palimpsest, they would operate as ‘points of knowledge’.

Cenotes Redux
The cenotes, occasionally re-visited as natural ruins, are completed or repaired with new tourist infrastructures. Hotels, galleries, cultural events, could re-address the cenotes in a contemporary ‘fashion’, sometimes creating inverted Agrippa Pantheons, in a non-innocent cross-cultural reference.

Artificial Cenotes
The Artificial Cenote is a new building typology, in spite of the old-fashioned word. This new collar of Caribbean Hotels exercise the utmost artificialization of landscape, introducing multiple all-inclusive development nodes as an explicit counterpoint to the overstated predominant model of the ‘at-the-beach-hotel’.

Artificial Islands
The Artificial Islands capture the intensity of the underwater cenotes that occasionally emerge in the Caribbean Sea, creating an underwater dwelling. This widening land-morphing strategy allows us to open the landscape not only in-land but also in-water. Supertourism* is avid of a new land, even possibly a water-land.

The mangroves constitute one of the most fragile and rich eco-systems of the world. To carefully touch them and make them pleasurable is an undeniable challenge. Eco-Dwelling is a net of soft and ephemeral shelters, respectfully displayed in interaction with the natural variations and flows of nature.

Floating Pavilions
The colourful reefs are one of the finest attractions of the Caribbean. Sometimes restricted to the adventurous, Floating Pavilions are an alternative to enjoy the pleasures of the sea without the risks of the swimmer. Conceived as inflatable structures, they could colonize the sea of Supertourism*.

Description of the twelve slides
The twelve slides are therefore organized in three groups, following the conceptual distances and programmatic tools mentioned herein.

Slides 01, 02, 03, 04, and 05
The first five slides introduce the notion of distances as an instrument of conceptual rendering of the territorial analysis. While slide 01 diagramatically explains the intertwined and complementary relationship among all the distances, the subsequent slides depict the specificities of each distance and the instruments developed to articulate them.

Slides 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, and 11
Slides 06 to 11 deal with the operational tools or specific projects developed to put into action the third distance. These six operations are intended as examples of a broader field of possible actions. That having been said, these six tools are indicative rather than totalizing. For it is in the nature of the land-factory tools to be open, expansive, and embracing. They constitute, nonetheless, a primary battery of possible morphings, a generative matrix of a yet-to-be.
Although consistent as a whole, their aim is not at all holistic, and their displacements toward the edges of the operative field constitutes a disciplinary constriction rather than a real one. Following this speculative organizational pattern, 06, 07, and 08 are embedded in an inherent site-seduction underground mood, while 09, 10, and 11 introduces a more productive and spectacular landscape.

Slide 12
Slide 12, intentionally isolated from the maelstrom of its predecessors, makes an explicit claim for a ‘yet-to-be’, an open-ended excursus in the yet unstable grounds of a world of Supertourism*. If classical tourism, and the tourist as subject, emerged at the beginning of the XX Century concomitantly with the urban life, the museum and the cinema, how should we re-assess the meaning of the word and turn it into a both meaningful and fruitful definition? Following this line of thoughts is that we proposed the term Supertourism* to designate a contemporary way of tourism that is profoundly different from the original mainly voyeuristic tourist, yet sharing a similar adventurous enthusiasm for the unknown or occasionally exotic.

Supertourism* claims for a flexible territorial substratum capable of energetic exchanges and continuous re-shapings, for it is necessary to rapidly re-locate new fluxes and unpredictable detours. Supertourism* somehow effectively connects with a superlandscape: an endlessly receptive substratum.

Supertourism* implies an active involvement of the subject with the site (understanding the site in its broadest sense, as a topographical, cultural, social, and economical landscape) in dialogical synergy of overlapping fluxes that operates back and forth to create and re-create that endlessly dynamic milieu: an active landscape is the substratum for the Supertourism*.

Colectivo Fábrica de Paisaje (Fabio Ayerra, Marcos Castaings, Martín Cobas, Federico Gastambide, Javier Lanza, Diego Pérez): http://www.arqa.com/?p=203677

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