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Port of Cagliari




The Port of Cagliari is located in the Island of Sardinia (Italy), in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, and because  of its position, it has been a fundamental commercial and strategic crossroad for more than 2000 years. Founded by the Phoenicians, then influenced by the Carthaginians and the Romans, it has kept for centuries the capacity for constant development and improvement. It is extended up to 5.800 meters of quay and it is used for the commercial traffic, RO/RO, passenger ships, yachting, fishing and cruising; the last one especially, thanks to the collaboration with local energies, is developing very quickly.



 Socioeconomic impact assessment


Socioeconomic conditions refer to human beings and their characteristics, which are usually dynamic variables that differ widely within the same community and from one community to another. Generally, there is a number of broad sets of socioeconomic impacts that could be developed including economic impacts namely: demography, employment, health, and community resources including political, social, economic and cultural conditions.


Socioeconomic assessment is a way to learn about the social, cultural, economic and political conditions of stakeholders including individuals, groups, communities and organizations and identify those that may be affected by a development project or plan.


The assessment of socio-economic conditions of the study site involved collecting existing information from secondary sources. Information was examined in order to:


i) define volume and typology (e.g. cruising, boating, chartering) of marine traffic and their seasonal variation, potential pollution sources within and around the sites;


ii) conduct stakeholders analysis at the local and regional levels, to identify different stakeholders and the potentials and means of their involvement at various phases of the project.



The City of Cagliari (Sardegna, Italy) 



The City of Cagliari

 Figure 1The City of Cagliari [1]


Cagliari is located in the southern part of the Sardinian Island, covering a total area of 84200 km2[2]. Approximately, a half of this area (48.5%) is either wetland or water bodies. This is followed by built-up areas, which represent about 34.2%. Meanwhile, cultivated land and forest represent about 11.9% and 5.4% of the total area of Cagliari, respectively.


Cagliari is inhabited by a total population of 156.289 (2011) [3]. The population in the working age (15-64 years old) represents about 65.7% of the total population. The category of young population (less than 15 years old) accounts for about 10%. Meanwhile, the elder population category (65 years old or more) represents 24.4%.


Such an age structure reveals that:

  • the community experiences a decline in population growth due to high proportion of productive population;
  • this represents an aged society due to a relatively high proportion of elder population;
  • there is dominance of low age dependency burden.


Despite such an age structure can be considered as one of the strengths in the community, which could be seen as a pool of labor force. Yet, it has a relatively high proportion of elder population and small proportion of young population, which implies that the community is going to be an aging community over time.


Despite low levels of illiteracy rate (only 0.98%[4] of the total population), the municipality of Cagliari has an unemployment rate of about 19.4%[4]. Such a relatively high unemployment rate is accompanied by high levels of poverty prevailed in the region accounting for about 23.1%[4] of the total population, reflects high levels of vulnerability of the local community to further stresses.


Concerning access to basic services and infrastructure, while 89.2% of the total population of Cagliari, is provided with potable water, all population has access to sanitary and electricity.


Economic structure of Cagliari[5] reveals that the majority of labor force (89%) work in tertiary activities including various services and transportation. Among these tertiary activities, about 15% of the total labor force work directly in tourism activities or indirectly in relevant activities such as communication and transportation. This means that tourism activities play a marginal role in the economy of Cagliari, it is mainly a commercial city. The marginal importance of tourism activities in Cagliari is reflected in the limited tourism facilities: only 179 hotels, resorts and rent houses. Meanwhile, small proportion of labor force (8%) works in secondary economic activities represented mainly by manufacturing industries. Similarly, 3% of the total labor force works in primary activities including agriculture, fishing and mining (Figure 2). All these activities, by nature, are typically dependent on the environment, which means that declining environmental quality can have serious adverse impact on them.



 Figure 2. Economic Structure of population.



However, Cagliari has a number of historical sites of unique significance that may represent a considerable sound for cultural tourism such as Anfiteatro romanoCimitero monumentale di BonariaGrotta della ViperaNecropoli di BonariaNecropoli di TuvixedduVilla di TigellioCavità di via V.Veneto, etc. This in addition to churches, monuments, parks, etc.

Also, Cagliari has some sites of unique significance from an environmental point of view, belonging to the European network of important ecological sites (Natura 2000 network)“, such as:

  • Sites of Community Importance (SCI) Habitats Directive (EEC/92/43):
    •  ITB040023 “Stagno di Cagliari, saline di Macchiareddu, laguna di Santa Gilla”,
    • ITB042243 “Monte Sant’Elia, Cala Mosca e Cala Fighera”; ITB040022 “Stagno di Molentargius e territori limitrofi”;
  • Special Protection Areas (SPAs) Birds Directive (2009/147/EC):
    •  ITB044003 “Stagno di Cagliari”,
    •  ITB044002 “Saline di Molentargius”.


 Figure 3. Nature 2000 Network - Cagliari.



Among the sites mentioned above, the “Stagno di Cagliari" (including “Laguna di Santa Gilla”, “Stagno di Capoterra” and “Saline di Macchiareddu”) is a coastal lagoon near Cagliari which “presents a typical humid environment of the Mediterranean bio-geographical region characterised by the presence of brackish, salt and freshwater, value of remarkable conservation due to its fauna and flora; coastal communities that inhabit this wetland includes traditional fishing lagoons, and the manufacturing of salt”[6]. It has been designated as a wetland site of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention since 1976 and is ranked among the most important of such areas in the European Union (Figure 4).


Such significant sites should be carefully integrated into any future plan of tourism development. The impacts of tourism development on such sites should be carefully considered.



Figure 4. Stagno di Santa Gilla Cagliari [7].



 During 2010, a total number of 229.249 tourists [8] arrived at Cagliari. Generally, it was noted that the number of tourists arriving at Cagliari increased notably during the last decade (from 145.328 in 2001 to 229.249 in 2010, Figure 5). This means an increase rate of about 57.7% during the same period.



Figure 5. Tourists arriving at Cagliari during the period 2001-2010.



It was also noted that the proportion of foreign tourists of the total tourists arriving at Cagliari has steadily increased from 17.7% in 2001 to 31.9% in 2010. However, it was found that the average length of stay for the tourists visiting Cagliari ranged between 2 and 2.5 days.


Such a trend of increasing number of tourists in general represents an indicator for recent development of tourism activities in Cagliari. Moreover, increasing proportions of foreign tourists over the last decade can be considered as one of the strengths that support the tourism development as those foreign tourists are expected to stay longer time and pay more.




The socioeconomic analysis of Cagliari study site highlights a wide range of issues relevant to tourism activities, for instance:


  • very limited tourism facilities and infrastructures, which may not be able to meet the increasing number of tourists in the future;
  • demographic situation, which is characterized mainly by declining population growth and aged society.


Meanwhile, there are some opportunities or positive aspects such as:


  • existence of a number of assets for cultural, recreational and eco-tourism. These assets represent mainly a wide range of sites of unique significance from cultural and environmental point of view;
  • the diversified economy of Cagliari that relies on a variety of economic activities. Such a diversification may help Cagliari in managing sudden economic crises;
  • increasing proportions of foreign tourists over the last decade;
  • the development of tourism activities in Cagliari may support the economy through providing more job opportunities and largely contribute to poverty alleviation as well as mitigation of high levels of unemployment.


According to such an assessment, DPSIR analysis of tourism development of the study site is as follows:

  • Driving forces
    • the need for tourism revenues,
    • tourism development and increasing number of tourists.
  • Pressure
    • increasing demand for marine transportation,
    • developing new tourism facilities and infrastructure (in port area and its surroundings),
    • the need for more power and water supplies.
  • States
    • quality of water and marine environment within the port area,
    • living standards in the port surrounding,
    • income levels and economic structure,
    • historical and archaeological sites of unique significance.
  • Impacts
    • deteriorating quality of marine environment,
    • pressure on existing services and infrastructures,
    • substandard living conditions,
    • providing more job opportunities,
    • reduced rate of unemployment and poverty,
    • damage of areas of unique significance.
  • Responses
    • allocate more investments on services and infrastructure provision,
    • promoting the private sector participation,
    • developing an EMS  (Environmental Management System) in the port area,
    • setting a tourism development strategy,
    • attract more tourists.



Stakeholders’ levels of involvement


The wide range of stakeholders groups identified for the Port of Cagliari (fifteen stakeholders groups as governmental bodies, business associations and NGOs) can be categorized into four groups, according to their powers and interests and thus their level of involvement (Figure 6). For example, Port Authority, Coast Guard, Province as well as Municipality of Cagliari, Regional Agency for Environmental Protection (ARPAS) and shipping companies should be managed closely as they have high interests and maximum power and influence. Also, they represent the main beneficiary groups of MAPMED activities.




Figure 6. Levels of involvement of different stakeholders groups.



Identification of the regime of property in port areas

and regulation in touristic ports between state and regional competences

The research carried out by Law Department of Cagliari University started from the analysis of demanium concept, a particular category of public property which covers all ports and marinas. Explained the special regime of «natural State property» and the most important rules related to it, the research has focused on public maritime assets, in particular with regard to distribution of powers among different level of government.

The Law n. 84 of 28th January 1994 has been written to conform Italian port legislation with EU rules, introducing an update regulation on the dock, with a new rating of ports, not yet according to freight traffic density, but to the economical and functional importance of the
structure in his territorial context.

The situation has changed again with the entry in force of Decreto Legislativo n. 112 of 31th March 1998, that tried to reach a greater decentralization of administrative functions from State to Regions. The new measure has assigned great majority of administrative functions on maritime domain to local Municipality, except when the Region decides to maintain the same function for itself, or assign them to other levels of government.

Constitutional Law n. 3 of 18th October 2001 has introduced a further important development in distribution of functions between State and other levels of government. The 2001’s reform, relating to legislative powers allocation, reversing previous setting, has assigned to Regions a combined competence in civil harbours. Therefore in this matter Region can not legislate without respecting general principles laid down by State.

On the other hand has been assigned to the Region exclusive competence on tourism field, preventing any intervention by State laws. As it will be seen later, this has caused particular problems relating to harbours designed in whole or in part to shipping, subject exactly halfway between the two areas of competence. of government.

The 2001’s reform has introduced new more significant innovations about administrative function distribution among different levels of government. New art. 118 in fact assigns all function to lower government level, Municipality, except when Region has explicitly decided to allocate them to higher levels of administration.

Once listed Port Autority powers, attention has focused on a detailed comparison between Sardinian and Tuscany system on  administrative powers distribution about ports and marinas.



[2] Corine Land Cover classification

[3] “Atlante demografico di Cagliari 2011” Servizio Sistemi Informativi e Sistemi Informatici del Comune di Cagliari.

[4] Census ISTAT

[5] “Cagliari in cifre 2010”


[7] By Simo25 (own work) GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0

[8] “Cagliari in cifre 2010” - Servizio Informatica e Statitistica del Comune di Cagliari.






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