Amfilissos: river area of cultural inheritance and ecology
The Amfilissos river and the streams that flow into the bay of Balos in the central south coast of the Greek island of Samos permeate an area rich in cultural and ecological inheritance. The area was once famous for the creation of fine pottery, exported through ports in the bay of Balos. Over the centuries, the inhabitants of the villages in the area have developed a variety of rural activities: farming and harvesting olives, fruit, nuts and vegetables in harmony with nature, together animal husbandry and fishing
Summer seasonal tourism in the Amfilissos area has increased substantially over the past 20 years, focused on resorts in the bay of Balos. Nowadays, day visitors come from the towns of Samos to enjoy the beach and restaurants and bars. Package tourists, mainly from Northern Europe, come to stay in hotels and rented apartments, usually for 1 or 2 weeks.
Newly-converted Bar on Balos seafront
At present, longer-term visitors come mainly from the Greek mainland and diaspora. These include previous inhabitants of the area, who come to visit, and stay with, the remaining members of their families who still live here, or return temporarily to houses in the Amfilissos area, that they still own, for holidays.
However, the villages in the Area (Skoureika, Neochori, Koumeika) have, as yet, seen little influx of tourism, despite having renovated village houses available for rent. Their population has declined: the school in Neochori closed in 2000, and very few pupils remain in the schools in Koumeika and Skoureika.
Young people, who have grown up in Samos or would like to find work in Samos currently are faced with a variety of local problems that make it very difficult for them to live and work in the Amfilissos area, particularly if this involves practising their professional and creative skills.
The Amfilissos Network, brings together the key actors from Samos, and worldwide, in developing the initiatives and projects that will operate in parallel, making an integrated effort to overcome the problems, and increase dramatically the variety, richness, connectivity and creativity of life, work and recreation in the Amfilissos area. The London Multimedia Lab is a hub in this network .
The Amfilissos Area Flow Grid provides a structure, both conceptual and physical, to enable rich and varied local development within the area while ensuring synergy between new initiatives and cultural inheritance. The grid preserves full access to the rich variety of resources for all, whether visitors or inhabitants, in both work and recreation. The complete flow grid has two layers: a physical layer doubled with a socio-cultural layer.
Compendium of projects
The Amfilissos Network is developing a compendium of projects to improve the quality of life of people living and working in the Amfilissos Area, improving the conditions for the existing rural activities by going beyond them, while respecting and enhancing the Amfilissos Area Flow Grid. An international development project within itin the compendium, coordinated through the London Multimedia Lab - providing all the infrastructure needed to support the growth and development of an international creative industries community living and working in the Amfilissos Area. This project will provide the inflow of wealth and active population needed to assure the sustainability of the associated projects and the improvement of quality of life for everyone in the area.