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  European Commission > Regional Policy > Urban
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Phase II Urban Pilot Projects

Alexandroupolis is the second largest city of the region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, with a population of 50,000. Located at the extreme East of the European Union, the city is relatively isolated albeit strategically positioned as a "gateway" to the East. Nationally, Greece is implementing a strategic development plan focusing on two geographical axes: the North-South axis, Athens-Thessaloniki, and the East-West axis, Igoumenitsa-Alexandroupolis. The city is well positioned to form international links with both the Black Sea region and Eastern European countries.

Nonetheless, Alexandroupolis suffers from a variety of problems including a lack of facilities to disseminate information about activities within the city, insufficient provision of information about investment opportunities for the business community, and a lack of international co-operation and networking. Its eastern part in particular suffers from social deprivation due to the fact that a high proportion of its residents is in a low income bracket and there is a weak social infrastructure. The region’s important ecological and natural features are not adequately exploited. The tertiary sector (especially the commercial-tourism field) is in decline and there is a high rate of unemployment amongst former Soviet Union Pontian immigrants and the young.

The objective of the ALEX-POLINET project is to address the above problems and to strengthen the city’s international links and "image" through the use of Information Technologies and through taking full advantage of the local economic, cultural and ecological resources. The project is conceived in the context of a local re-generation strategy which includes a regional development programme of ECU 689 million (to be implemented during 1995-2000). It is expected to significantly contribute to the transformation of a remote and peripheral city into a new international gateway by using the opportunities offered by the technological developments in the information and communications field. In addition, the project’s commitment to using the latest technological expertise to promote the socio-economic integration of minority and disadvantaged groups offers new lessons for urban policy.

The project comprises four main actions:

  • Firstly, an "International Information Centre" will be established in an old building. It will be fully refurbished and will include a recreational and educational Cyber-Café. The Centre will help increase local people’s knowledge of Information Technology as well as be used to facilitate communication and networking with Black Sea and Balkan countries. The creation of business information networks with these countries is expected to generate economic development initiatives
  • Secondly, a "Multi-Media Natural History Museum" will be established in a new building to be constructed for this purpose. The Museum will be pivotal in promoting the ecological wealth of the area. An Information Centre will be established to increase knowledge and awareness of the internationally important ecological sites of the Evros Delta, the forest of Dadia and the Drana Lagoon
  • The third action concerns a series of environmental improvements in the deprived eastern part of the city, aimed at establishing a linked "route" between the City port, the "International Information Centre" and the Museum. It is hoped that such a route will help to regenerate the declining area and increase residents’ awareness of and benefits from the project
  • Finally, young unemployed people and Pontian refugees will be educated and trained to respond to the employment opportunities created by the above actions. For the management of the project a broad partnership is proposed including the Municipality, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and University/Research institutes.

The interesting aspect of the project’s proposed strategy is the use of Information Technology as a platform of support for regenerating the city. The approach is fully integrated: a partnership across local development groups; capitalisation of local resources which, in this case, are the area’s significant ecological resources; and complementary measures aimed at the socio-economic integration of minority and disadvantaged groups. It is an innovative project for a medium-sized city located at the crossroads of international transportation routes.


Contact Details  

Mr Triantafillos Arvanitidis
Municipality of Alexandroupolis - City Hall
306 Democracy Avenue
GR-68100 Alexandroupolis
Tel: +30 551 26410
Fax: +30 551 26264
Mr Panagiotis Batzakoudis
Technical Manager
ANETA S.A. (Development Company of Alexandroupolis)
Psaron 11
GR-68100 Alexandroupolis
Tel: +30 551 88341
Fax: +30 551 88342
E-mail: or

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Last modified on Tuesday 6 July 1999

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