Bonaire, one of the Dutch Caribbean islands, is facing major challenges: managing (mass) tourism and population growth, preventing high erosion rates due to free-roaming cattle, recharging fresh water into the soil, increasing the use of renewable energy, adaptation to sea level rise and extreme weather events, halting biodiversity loss and bending the unilateral dependency on tourism. In thirty years, Bonaire enevitably will look different. As progressing on current trends will only increase the challenges, a shifting perspective on spatial planning is needed.
Together with local experts an inspiring vision for Bonaire in 2050 is portrayed, in which nature and natural processes play a key role. It outlines a future in which economic development and a nature inclusive society join forces. In a super-interactive session, local experts and governments mapped out potential nature-inclusive measures and explained where, and why and how these should be adopted. These potential measures include for example rooftop water harvesting, reforestation and greening gardens using indigenous species, coral restoration, growing local food, cactus fences and solar roofs. The vision considers the characteristics of the different landscapes of Bonaire. Through maps and three-dimensional landscape visualisations, options for spatial planning are illustrated.
The sketching session brought together the knowledge of island experts and decision-makers from nature, agriculture, recreation, culture and government. The enthusiasm of the participants and them sharing their experiences through (online) word of mouth evoked a snowballing effect: a growing community of supporters wants to include ‘nature inclusiveness’ in their own ongoing initiatives. The vision developed for Bonaire is aimed to inspire other Small Island Development States all over the world.