A. Lagos, Large scale infrastructures in the era of sustainability: The case of navigation route between Aegean Sea and river Danube, Diploma thesis, 112 pages, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering – National Technical University of Athens, November 2022.
The object of this thesis is to investigate the importance of large infrastructure projects (megaprojects) in the era of sustainable development. Focusing on the European continent and the increasing trend of CO2 emissions from the transport sector, it is proposed the need to expand and upgrade the European network of inland waterways, as an economically and environmentally optimal way of land transport, in line with the current European strategy. Focused analysis is being carried out on the proposal to connect the Aegean Sea with the Danube River via the Axios and Morava rivers; a planned megaproject that will rearrange transport routes in Europe. The technical characteristics of the planned infrastructure are presented, as well as the estimated effects on the involved countries, namely Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia, but also in the wider context of the affected geo-economic relationships, including Turkey, China and other European countries. The contribution of megaprojects as multipliers of economic and social prosperity is analyzed, highlighting their crucial role in consolidating relations of cooperation and peace between states. The need to review the planning standards for investments in mega-infrastructure projects is highlighted, with respect to the need for holistically evaluating the interactions of the project in the economy-society-environment nexus. Therefore, the value of integrated, holistic planning in infrastructure is qualified, according to which the development chosen is the result of democratic planning and synergy aimed at optimizing economic efficiency, social benefit of convergence and cohesion, environmental protection, spatial integration, security, political acceptance and aesthetic pleasure. It is argued that sustainable megaprojects should be a decisive development option. This is because the growing needs of the expanding world population presupposes the search for economies of scale, which are significantly supported through wealth-producing megaprojects. The sustainable development protagma is also served through sustainable megaprojects, as they create significant added value for shaping better living conditions for future generations, but also ensure future generations to reuse the natural capital, as this will be ensured in quality and quantity based on symbiotic planning.