1.2 The current sub-system as a socio-technological system

The socio-technical system requires that the technical and human elements forming the whole will be recognized as independent parts which, nevertheless, interact with each other in distinct ways, are distinguishable from their environment, have developed specific forms of collective knowledge production, knowledge utilization and innovation, and which are oriented towards specific purposes in society and economy.

The current technical subsystem (“Accommodate community”) consists of several elements mechanisms and instruments used to convert inputs into outputs: equipment and tools (energy consumption, travelling infrastructure), facilities (hotels, camping areas), legislation (number of beds, protected areas) and techniques (advertisement). Its social subsystem consists of job design, dispute resolution and decision-making mechanisms, as well as human resource functions (recruitment and training of those working at the tourism sector).

Moreover, for the sub-system “Accommodate community” it is relevant to identify the different categories of accommodation that exist. An obvious difference is made between the tourist accommodation and the permanent housing.

To begin with the tourist accommodation, for the current situation in Texel, it’s important to look into the available touristic accommodations and activities. Research revealed that Texel has roughly 44.000 beds available for tourists. About 900 summer houses hold about 12.500 beds. Moreover, camping is the second biggest tourist accommodation with approximately 50 campings housing about 11.000 sleeping places. Looking at the numbers, tourists tend to spend five nights in Texel on average, which accounts for €275 million per day. (VVV Texel, 2014). As far as the spatial characteristics of all these accommodations are concerned, most of them seem to concentrate in a place called De Koog. De Koog is a seaside resort for tourists, offering shops, cafés and various other activities for tourists. It is right next to the beach as well as the national park dunes of Texel. The park dunes are open to public and even offer guided tours. They are very popular for bird spotting, since approximately 80 species of birds can be found here. The most popular interest of tourists visiting Texel are actively enjoying nature and the beach (VVV Texel, 2010). De Koog offers both of these interests.

Opposite the tourists are the locals which have to provide all the accommodation, food and activities for the tourists. On Texel, there are roughly 13.500 inhabitants which is less than a third of the number of available beds for tourists. This means that a lot of people on Texel work in the tourist sector in the summer.  While the tourism industry on the island is considered to be beneficial to the island, it’s important to further investigate whether the economic, social, and environmental contributions of this industry are of sufficient magnitude to warrant public support. This can only be true if the needs for the local community are placed before the goals of the tourism industry (Wilkinson, 1989). The same should also be investigated on an energy level, since the high amount of tourists will also use a lot of energy, use a lot of water and consume a lot of food. The energy needs of the local community should of equal if not major importance from the energy goals of the tourism industry.

To conclude this paragraph, the biggest challenges and problems when designing a sustainable Texel will be: First off all, Texel provides a lot of income from tourists. These tourists are attracted by the nature and the beach of Texel, so it’s important to keep these two aspects maintained or perhaps even improved. Secondly, the island shifts in the way it works over the summer and winter. Not only do food consumption and energy and water usage raise in the summer, but there’s also a shift in the employment of islanders. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that the local community must be placed before the tourism industry in terms of needs and goals. These three aspects do not only sketch the current socio-technical system concerning a system involving accommodation, but they also provide design guidelines while working towards a sustainable Texel.