The Central Tyrrhenian Sea Port Authority: A critical juncture for the Campania port system?

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Since 2016, the reorganization of the Italian port legislation through the decree n.169 has introduced port systems, as a new institutional umbrella helping improving ports efficiency. However, this new entity challenges the goals and interests of local stakeholders, which have their own tradition and have independently developed spatial patterns and governance arrangements. The current separate development paths—or to use a term from the political sciences: path dependence—have cemented in physical spaces, such as infrastructures and buildings. The Naples case stands exemplary. The new Central Tyrrhenian Sea Port Authority—as an entity overseeing the ports of Naples, Castellammare di Stabia and Salerno—exemplifies how institutional change can create both new opportunities for cities and the region and be restrained by existing spatial and governance interests. This is evident in the decisions that today see the municipality and the port authority, among others, unable to identify a solution that holds together economic development and enjoyment of the coastal landscape. Therefore, the recent port reorganization requires a new conceptualization of the role that space can play in institutional realignment, a rethinking of existing patterns of behavior as well as of the longer-term plans of all actors in the region. The article therefore presents a spatial-institutional analysis of the Naples port city region asking to what extent the ports merging represents a tool to overcome institutional and spatial inertia. In doing so, it combine policy document analysis with the results of interviews conducted with planning authorities at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Rome, municipality and port authority of Naples.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Port city territory
  • Governance
  • Path dependence
  • Coastal landscape
  • Institutions


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