Boston Invades Hvar: Is Jelsa On the Rise as a Destination?

By paul 31 Jan 2014, 14:23 PM What's On This Month?

An academic delegation from Boston, a mayor driving the bus, and some very positive projects.

I love living in Jelsa, but it was only last night that I realised why. I could already list 100 reasons why I love living here, but there was something at the back of my mind, some childhood association with Jelsa, that I could not quite identify until last night. It has been bothering me for years, and I have Jelsa's mayor Niksa Peronja to thank for putting my mind at rest.

As I arrived in Hvar Town last night with young Vivian and The Professor for the presentation of Hvar 2020, The Professor saw his cousin in the car park with about 15 students from Boston. Not only was it a little odd that Boston students would be in the rain in Hvar in January, but they were apparently staying in Jelsa and working on a project called Resilient Leisure Coastal Environments, using case studies of Jelsa and one other village in Portugal. They were waiting for the bus to take them for dinner in Vrisnik. 

We bade farewell, and I agreed to meet them for a drink in the morning on the pjaca in Jelsa to learn more. We were just about to enter the loggia for the meeting, when Jelsa's mayor passed us. We greeted him, asking if he was coming to the meeting.

"No, no. I must run. The students from America. I am driving the bus tonight."

And that was it - a childhood association with Jelsa connected. Trumpton! A community where the postman wakes you up at the foot of your bed, your bank manager dresses in lederhosen, and your mayor drives the bus for visiting students. Perfect! 

Trumpton aside, this is a fantastic project, and all will be presented tonight at Vodovod at 18:00. I had a long chat with Professor Ivan Rupnik from Northearstern University of Boston, who is in charge of the goup, this morning. Lovely guy and passionate about the project. You can learn a LOT more about it on this link (with lots of data about Jelsa I never knew), or for an outline of the project below.

But I am quite confident young Vivian will be at the presentation tonight and will find it fascinating, and then produce one of those fabulous detailed blogs that always escape bloggers like me. No pressure, Vivian, tomorrow morning will be fine...

Building upon the previous semester’s research, a new team of graduate students has delved further into resilient coastal leisure environment strategies, utilizing two sites as case studies. The Troia-Comporta-Carvalhal peninsula, one of the single largest development zones in southern Europe, provides an excellent case study in privately initiated tourism development, while the Jelsa Spatial Plan, in contrast, is an ideal case study of a municipally driven initiative. In both case studies, students have utilized their new skills in data analysis and projection and information design, combined with their professional training in architecture, to identify opportunities and define strategies for better leveraging publicly and privately initiated tourism development to better serve local communities, contributing to their future resilience.

One of the reasons Jelsa was chosen to take part was due to a feeling of progress and enlightened development which is taking place in the town since the recent change of local administration. I can honestly say I have never seen a mayor drive a bus before... Looking forward to tonight's presentation.

And Jelsa? Fabulous place - come and visit!

And Trumpton? If you have never heard about it, the video below is a rare insight into what fascinated English children in the 1970s...