Inland regions hold significant importance for all countries, as their exploitation and development contribute to sustainable and long-term economic growth.
In Portugal, half of the population lives in the city centres of Lisbon and Porto, which make up 5% of the country’s land area. According to the 2021 census, there has been a growing imbalance in population distribution across the territory in the last 10 years – inland municipalities have lost population, whereas coastal municipalities have grown.
Several government initiatives have been implemented in recent years to promote territorial cohesion, aimed at enhancing inland regions by providing incentives for business investment, such as setting up companies, boosting production, fostering entrepreneurship, and encouraging talent recruitment. Additionally, inland municipalities have worked on a wide range of development projects, including cultural promotion, business attraction, and the creation of industrial parks, and despite having tight budgets, their efforts have been successful.
The inland regions also offer great potential, especially when it comes to quality of life, as demonstrated by improved environmental conditions, increased mobility, and a better balance between personal and professional lives. A lower cost of living, increased safety, a higher quality of education, and a greater sense of community are all factors to consider.
Creating technological conditions, such as improving Internet coverage, is one of the challenges in developing inland regions. Nowadays, a good internet connection is crucial, and the lack thereof is clearly a gap that prevents people from settling down inland. This problem, however, can be tackled by improving mobile coverage via antenna installation.
Another challenge is accessibility, which is still lacking inland. Creating new roads and improving existing ones is important, as well as investing in railroads as sustainable means of transportation.
Sustainable development relies heavily on territorial cohesion!