In recent years, ports placed in medium and small sized towns tend to reconsider themselves on the international scene through a process of restructuring and reconfiguration of functional structures and urban peripheries. This process derives basically from regional tourism development policies and changes in freight traffic structure.However, this process involves a sphere of action limited to “micro” contexts and does not take into account the connections between infrastructure networks or the environment, and the surrounding territorial context.

The system of accessibility and the relationship with the hinterland is the key factor for the performance of development policies in coastal areas. The setting up of a coherent and effective relationship among these infrastructures and the coastal areas requires an integrated multidisciplinary and multi institutional approach, as well as a methodology capable of giving coherence to the principles of ICZM (integrated coastal zone management) in terms of environment, infrastructure and settlement. The project proposes the development, through cooperation activities, of strategies aimed at strengthening territorial coastal systems and their competitiveness by means of intervention in the following topics:

a) The urban exchange node placed in (or near) ports areas, strengthening their functional integration with the port city and the hinterland, and their connection with the infrastructure network;

b) The reorganization and / or the indirect improvement of existing linear infrastructures (roads, railways, river network) the connection between marine terminals (accessibility to the sea) and the centres or internal territory (radius of influence of about 30 – 40 km).

c) Improving the accessibility between exchange nodes and surrounding territories (seaport or inland) and the intermediate areas by integrating them with productive areas, environmental and cultural sites, placed along linear infrastructure, in order to build network systems consistent for developing synergies;

d) Support actions to the local economy based on shipping transports and other types of land use, through forms of support in using information technology.

The project, through crossing and linking specific themes and issues coming from each partner, will produce a series of models of intervention by assessing the feasibility in different local contexts, through master plan and pilot actions, and by concrete local pilot realisation in one or more components. The result at local level will be a collection of a series of coordinated interventions to strengthen the local contexts selected by partnership (master plan for each partner). At the transnational level, results and convergence lines on the effective action will be collected and structured in guidelines for intervention.