Theoretical Frame  

The rise of Internet in the world of tourism, accelerating and improving the search for offers, the creation and quick spreading of low cost airlines, new working hours, and a new time distribution within companies, have greatly changed the world of tourism and, therefore, our landscape. The tourist landscape has changed since the beginning of mass phenomenon. ‘Leisure’ user has changed and with him also changed the ways of occupying territory. Since first colonizations of high quality portions of land along the coastline, the urbanization process kept going until flooding, in many cases, hectares of landscape victim of the blind faith of an unlimited growth’s logic.

Tourism represents one of the most relevant part of the process of development in the European Mediterranean regions and the Tropical Atlantic areas. Sustainability of tourist activity and sustainability of urban growth partly tied to it, depends, today more than ever, on an intelligent planning policy. Such policy should be able to assume the caracteristcs of each territory, impelling strategies of supply, management and habitat, appropriate to the specific potentials of different environments.

The Intelligent Coast Master Program aims to offer criteria of qualitative urban development on the coast. This year the studio works on the Mediterranean coastal urban system. The project will approach the equation “Beach + Urban Density” working on it as one of the main opportunities to rethink the coast. The emergent economy of knowledge and the new global awareness on the natural resources will be some of the key subjects which will integrate the training process. By the academic training, the project wants to offer a professional study as an urban consultancy, advised and led by a transdisciplinary team of experts.


Catalonia is the most visited autonomous community of Spain, which itself is the second-place country in terms of number of tourists and income generated by tourism. Catalonia is recognised as one of the world's best and most experienced coastal laboratories. In the 21st century, tourism will continue to encourage the discovery and settlement of high-quality coastal areas. However, new geopolitical, logistical and infrastructure-related parameters – above and beyond the economic efficiency of the tourism sector – are now leading the development of the sector, our landscape and our most highly valued land: the coast.


Catalonia and Barcelona are major nodes in the current and future process of building the European Union's new urban conurbation: the Mediterranean coast. The 25-member European Union now has 456,791,700 inhabitants. The coastal regions of the Mediterranean are home to a total of approximately 458,000,000 people. Populations no longer shift from the country to the city, but from inland regions to the coast. In Spain alone, the coastal population – currently 22 million people – is expected to triple in the next fifteen years. How can we comprehensively rethink the coast to make it habitable? If tourism is the epitome of the contemporary urban scene, what essential issues should the disciplines responsible for its development be dealing with in order to transform this market phenomenon into an exceptional field of research with great potential? How can we turn the process of coastal migration into an opportunity for local development?

Download MASTER PROGRAM 2009 (in spanish)
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