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COASTAL (Collaborative Land-Sea Integration Platform) formulates and evaluates business solutions and policy recommendations aimed at improving the coastal-rural synergy to foster rural and coastal development while preserving the environment.

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Photo: Adobe stock / ivan kmit

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme COASTAL is a research and innovation project, a unique multi-actor collaboration of coastal and rural business entrepreneurs, administrations, stakeholders, and natural and social science experts to formulate and evaluate business solutions and policy recommendations aimed at improving the coastal-rural synergy to foster rural and coastal development while preserving the environment.

Rural development in the EU is increasingly affected by changing market developments, decreasing population densities, urban sprawl, lack of employment, desertification and other environmental, economic and social pressures. On the other hand, coastal areas provide interesting business opportunities but are also influenced by economic activities in the hinterland. 

Multi-Actor Approaches will be combined with System Dynamics to analyse the environmental, economic, and social interactions of rural and coastal areas in a holistic manner. The underlying feedback structures governing the dynamics, vulnerabilities, limitations, and business opportunities of the land-sea system will be identified and analysed, taking into consideration the regulatory frameworks, stakeholder priorities and social-economic conditions at the local, regional and macro-regional scale levels. Multi-Actor Labs using qualitative and quantitative tools will be set up to support the co-creation exchanges between scientific experts, stakeholders, business entrepreneurs, sector- and administrative representatives.

Coastal_web_map-04-04.jpg The project is organized around six interacting, complementary Multi-Actor Labs (MALs) spread over the EU, exchanging their tools and expertise. COASTAL Multi-Actor Labs contribute to the COASTAL Knowledge Exchange Platform. The MALs are connected through a Collaborative Knowledge Exchange Platform, to be further exploited and developed beyond the project life time. Photo:

The overarching objective of COASTAL is to improve the rural-coastal synergies in strategic business and policy decision making and collaboration between coastal and rural actors. This is achieved by developing, demonstrating and applying a generic toolset and performance indicators by combining a multi-actor approach with system dynamics modelling. This allows us to understand the interactions with market, demographic, environmental and climate forecasts, and quantify the positive and negative externalities.

By combining local knowledge and scientific expertise in a co-creation process the COASTAL project engages actors and stakeholders at all levels to improve coastal-rural interdependence and collaboration by identifying problems and setting up evidence-based business roadmaps and policy solutions, focusing on economic growth, marine spatial planning, and environmental protection, including inland water quality.

The COASTAL project:

  • contributes to integrated coastal-rural planning and coastal-rural synergy in the case study regions and the wider EU territory
  • develops a durable, online platform for knowledge exchange about coastal-rural synergy with concrete examples and tools for supporting land-sea collaboration

COASTAL H2020 has a total of 29 partners from 9 different countries. The project will be structured around six closely interacting work packages with six complementary case studies in Sweden, Belgium, France, Spain, Greece and Romania.

Key Factors

Project duration

2018 - 2022

COASTAL is funded through Horizon 2020