Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Land–Sea Interaction: Integrating Climate Adaptation Planning and Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Adriatic Basin.


Land–sea interaction dynamics are physiologically regulated by an exchange of matter (and energy) between the anthropic system and the natural environment. Therefore, the appropriate management of land–sea interaction (LSI)contexts should base on those planning approaches which can holistically support coastal development, such as Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Climate Adaptation Planning (CAP). One of the main limiting factors for this integration is the fragmentation of existing databases and information sources, which compose the territorial knowledge framework. Investigations have sought to address the representation and assessment of “wicked” and interconnected coastal problems. The present research focuses on the production of the necessary information to fill sectorial knowledge gaps and to merge the available data into a single framework. The research methodology is based on remote sensing assessment techniques and is designed to be replicated in other coastal areas to integrate CAP and MSP. The output maps are a result of the empirical application of the integration of the assessment techniques and are meant to support local decision-making processes. The result aims at illustrating and highlighting the relationships between climate change impact vulnerabilities their spatial relation to marine resources and maritime activities. This can support effective actions aimed at environmental and urban protection, the organization of the uses of the sea and adaptation to climate impacts. The application of the assessment techniques is developed on a case study in the north Adriatic Basin. The Gulf of Trieste constitutes a representative case study for the Mediterranean Basin due to its transboundary nature. The relationship and the ongoing projects between Slovenia and Italy make the case study an interesting context in which to test and train the proposed integrated planning approach. Therefore, the study investigates local vulnerability to climate impacts, i.e., Urban Heat Island (UHI) and urban runoff, and the existing relationship between the urban fabrics and the marine environment.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:


  • How can climate change adaptation trigger and support a successful convergence between “Land and Urban” and “Sea and Maritime” planning approaches in an LSI context?
  • How can terrestrial vulnerability assessments, marine and maritime knowledge frameworks converge to define a multisystemic vision of the territorial priorities?
  • Does the result of the integration between MSP and CAP in an LSI context favour and generate trans-sectoral strategic action?
  • Can the ongoing urban and regional planning processes be effectively enriched by the integration of the cognitive frameworks of CAP and MSP?


This assessment, based on the Gulf of Trieste case study, synergistically considers land and sea components. This combination relates different territorial information levels to a specific area and can be updated and modified over time with new technological skills and knowledge.


The aim of this study aims is to demonstrate that the integration of sectoral planning approaches would be a viable first step to generate proactive and responsive territorial governance models. Furthermore, it could lead to an effective and sustainable management of complex phenomena, such as the interrelated dynamics of climate change and human pressures on ecosystems.


The planning approach is based on three elements: (1) the theoretical–methodological framework, which is made up of a system that allows for interoperability between spatial information; (2) a scientific approach, which uses investigative techniques for the analysis of climatic impacts and the systemic representation of sea components; (3) an empirical application, which allows for the strategic contextualisation of the integrated planning approach.


This research is designed to provide an overview of the possible analytical tools that can integrate land and sea planning. This study is considered as a first step to lead to a general transformation of sectoral planning approaches.


The result achieved by the study can support an integrated coastal planning approach, where local planning processes are supported by summary maps that characterise and facilitate the choice of support and assistance measures (RQ4). The proposed framework for a new LSI planning model could support i) guidelines to monitor the performance of planning outcomes; ii) methodologies to support environmental protection and the sustainable development of coastal areas; iii) spatial modelling algorithms and remote sensing analysis techniques to support the implementation of cognitive frameworks concerning urban and territorial planning.

Responsible Entity: 

Department of Architecture and Arts, University Iuav of Venice, Italy
Department EPiC (Earth and Polis Research Centre), Venezia, Italy

Costs / Funding Source: 

European Commission-EASME-European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF): MSP-MED Towards the operational implementation of MSP in our common Mediterranean Sea, scientific coordinator prof. Francesco Musco.

Contact person: 

Denis Maragno: (denis[dot]maragno[at]iuav[dot]it)