We have identified several interesting initiatives related with the port-city relation topic that have taken place during the last couple of months or that will happen in the next few weeks. In this post we will comment some of them that could be useful for the researchers interested in this issue.
ZONES PORTUAIRES – rencontres internationales cinéma et villes portuaires
The film festival Zones Portuaires is organized by the association Cales obscures and takes place in Saint-Nazaire, France. Last year was the edition 0. The event is associated with other Zones Portuaires film festivals, like the ones from Marseille and Genoa .
The main focus of the event is the interesting relation existing between port territories and the cinema. The cultural value of ports has been explored by different authors, but this is one of the very few festivals that over several days is able to explore in its full complexity this connection.
In the official website we can find some key questions they try to answer:
Comment, pourquoi, les villes portuaires nourrissent-elles le cinéma et son imaginaire ? Comment les cinéastes du monde nous les représentent-elles ? Qu’apprenons-nous alors des évolutions sociales, économiques, humaines, urbanistiques de ces villes ?
“How and why port cities inspire cinema and imagination? How the world’s filmmakers represent them? What do we learn from the social, economic, human and urban planning evolution of these cities?”
In this year’s edition the main theme is the migrations, a hot-topic in the European context. The ports are very often the stage for this human drama particularly in the Mediterranean region. The invited city is Athens, probably the European capital that has struggled the most since the beginning of the financial and refugees crisis.
During springtime and until mid autumn several port days and festivals will take place. The port visits have been acknowledged as one of the most appealing initiatives for the public to get to know better the port. The port festivals are mainly focused in opening up the port in a family friendly atmosphere and to show the “nicer face” of the port community. These events allow a more relaxed interaction with the port territories.
It is important to remark that some port days are, in the opinion of the author, too much leaning on the festivity side, in several cases insisting in the clichés related to the port image and the maritime world. However there are others that really use these days to explain the port functioning and to give on site presentations by port professionals
In Hamburg the 827th edition of the Hafengeburtstag took place between the days 5th to 8th of May. According to some media this year registered a record of visitors, totaling 1,6 million people along the four days of the festival. The event has become an important date in the cultural agenda of the city and, although often the folklore distorts the image of the port, it does enhances the role of the harbor in the general image of the city.
For this year’s event we can even find specific apps to take the maximum profit of the festival.
In another scale we can find other port festivals that improve as well the connection of the inhabitants with the port. Is the case of La Rochelle in France and Brussels in Belgium.
The port of La Rochelle hosted an open-day event where everybody could visit the harbor and get to know the different port activities that take place there. This edition, the 6th one, took place on June the 12th, and included different activities, such as port visit by boat and bus, visits to the terminals and silos, the control tower and several ships. The program included also visits to the shipyards, a parade and exhibitions.
The slogan chosen for the port day reveals an interesting approach to this sort of festivals: “Le port par les professionnels” – The port by the professionals. If the port is able to implicate the port community to explain their work it will gain a human face, far from the hard concrete of the silos or steel from the containers. This strategy has been defended by other authors in the field of the social integration of ports, and in the long-term can ease the path towards achieving the necessary Social License to Operate.
More information can be found here
The Belgian capital is often not identified as a port-city. Nevertheless their fluvial port has an important role in the region’s economy. In may they hosted the 14th edition of the “Fête du Port” – the port festivity. In this case the approach is closer to the one seen in other major port-cities like Hamburg or Rotterdam. From what we can see in the official website, the program included many recreational activities for all audiences, several connected with water or maritime sports. The interaction with the port activity seems to have been focused in the physical context of the event, the port area, and in the information available in the kiosks.
The inclusion of pedagogic visits is, in the author’s opinion, a better approach than just focusing on the recreational side of the event. The Soft-Values of seaports that have been mentioned in this blog in different posts cannot be explored in the shallowest layer but it is important that include a deeper approach, explaining some of the technic, technology and complexity of the port, always in an adapted way.
Dibatito in Porto – Livorno
For the approval of port plans or major infrastructure is mandatory in many European countries to host a public hearing with the local citizens. In the Italian city of Livorno the port authority has taken the opportunity to celebrate a true debate around two projects and give more disclosure to the new Port Center. The main issues are the “piattaforma Europa“, a new platform for logistic activities that will required new and fills, and the project for the maritime station, an intervention that will imply changes in the border between the city and the port.
The debate is being developed since mid April and should continue until mid June. The program includes different sessions and thematic workshops with the citizens in the ancient fortress, currently managed by the port authority and where the Port Center is located.
Workshops and Congresses
3rd Port Center Network Meeting of AIVP, Antwerp, Belgium
In the end of April the 3rd Meeting of the AIVP’s Port Center Network took place. During this event it was possible to discuss the different strategies for the social integration of ports. The main focus was the evolution of the Port Center concept and the new examples that have been developed in the last year. The issue of education and the edutainment was also a hot topic, with inputs from specialist from different fields.
The meeting took place in the Port Center of Antwerp, the oldest infrastructure of this kind. During the event we could see different approaches and get to know the ambitious plans for the hosting Port Center. It was also interesting to observe the increasing interest this “tool” is creating. Different port cities from Europe and North America have plans to develop their own Port Center to improve the interaction with the local inhabitants.
The AIVP days. Mega-ships: impacts on port cities
The issue of the Mega-ships will be the main discussion topic in the AIVP days, an event that will take place in Málaga, Spain, in the end of June. In this meeting different international experts will present different cases of port-cities and explain how they are preparing for the advent of these new ships.
The Key-Note speaker will be Olaf Merk, a renowned expert in the field of the relations between ports and cities, particularly in the economic issues. He was the coordinator of the OECD port-cities program and recently started a blog about the shipping world that we will see in this same post.
The main questions to be addressed are:
- Can those new ambitions support, or even merely cope with these new maritime strategies?
- Should not public interest considerations for sustainable development in port cities take priority over profitability for shipping?
- How can the different interests be reconciled?
- How far should ports go to accommodate exponential growth in goods volumes or passenger numbers, without compromising mobility between the city and port or within the wider port region?
- How can increasingly significant flows be redistributed across countries or continents?
- What can be done to ensure that the added value generated benefits the territories concerned?
Crossovers entre ciudades y puertos. Oportunidades y perspectivas para Almería
In July also in Spain, this time in Almeria a summer course with national and international experts will be hosted in the University of Almeria. This event, entitled “Crossovers entre ciudades y puertos. Oportunidades y perspectivas para Almería“, will allow a discussion of best practices for the improvement of the port-city relation.
During this event local experts will present the challenges this port-city is facing. Other professionals from different Andalusian and Spanish institutions will explain existing examples in the regional and national levels. Researchers with an international background, including myself, will present other approaches that can be found in European port-cities and the existing good practices. One of the presentations will be focused in the guide of good practices developed by the AIVP that recently reached 15 000 downloads.
Blogs and websites
In this field of research, the relation between ports and cities, there are different approaches, coming from diverse disciplines. We can find many online resources that have different point of views but help to form a more complete picture of the existing situation. The resources that are been found along the research process are gathered in the side bar of the blog. In this section of the port are some new websites or blogs, but also several existing ones that have gotten our attention and that could be of interest for other researchers.
Shipping Today – Olaf Merk
Early before we have mentioned the name of Olaf Merk, as one of the most renowned experts in the field. In late march he started a new blog named shipping today. In this blog the main topic, as the name itself states, is the shipping world. He offers a critical analysis of the way this sector works. Although the main topic is more related with economics, economic geography, politics and commerce, the side effects of the decisions and researches made in these fields will have a repercussion in the cities and the way ports interact with them. In his initial post the Merk raised several questions that he will try to answer in his new blog.
“Do we always need more trade and more shipping; is shipping not actually too cheap, because all kinds of external effects are not taken into account? Is it logical to promote shipping as a clean transport mode when its exhaust gases are thousand times more toxic than of cars? Why subsidise a sector that only seems to be shredding jobs rather than creating them? Is it normal that ports crawl to every whim of shipping lines, but remain insensitive to local firms, population and the public interest? Does it make sense to throw public money at ports without coordination and then be surprised that some of them are empty?”
Retrieved from: http://shippingtoday.eu/a-new-shipping-blog-out-of-unease/
An interesting initiative for researchers studying urban patterns. This website, still in an alpha stage, eases the search of the patterns in a specific context. The automated research can save considerable time and give immediately a general overlook of the city or region, saying where we can find the specific type of pattern. this tool is also useful for the graphic part of the work presentations and publications.
An example of the search: Container terminals in NYC
On April 2016 took place the second workshop of the World Seastems research project. This initiative, fully financed by the European Research Council, aims ” to map and to analyze the changing spatial pattern of the world economy across 300 years from a maritime perspective”, as they mention in their website. The project, led by the renowned french geographer César Ducruet, has three main goals:
- Mapping and analysis of the maritime flows during the period aforementioned. The developed visualization of these flows will ease the analysis for other scientific uses
- Look at the role inter-ports networks have played in the structuring of the territory and the changes that have occurred on it. Particularly important will the interaction with other networks in different levels.
- As conclusion, and for the ongoing personal research probably the most interesting goal, the relation between the urban and maritime growth flows will compared and possibly establish development patterns comparing the effect of the port in the urban development of port and non-port cities.
The complexity of the research under development is clear and difficult to explain in few lines. There are already preliminary results and in their website we can find interesting resources for the study of the port-city relationship topic. The research group also shares occasionally images from their investigation in their facebook page.
The project started in 2013 and is planed to run until 2018.
The maritime world is one of the most used cases for innovative data visualization techniques. Another example of this trend in the website shipmaps.org. This project is a collaboration between Kiln studio and the UCL Energy Institute. In this map we can see the world ship traffic in year 2012. The website not only shows the general traffic, but includes as well information regarding the CO2 tonnes or the maximum freight.
Finally, for historical researches, a useful online platform, the digital database of the Benelux for maritime objects and literature. This website is particularly important if we consider that Belgium and the Netherlands have been historically some of the most active countries in the maritime world and overseas commerce.