Initiatives focused on the Port-City relation II

Initiatives focused on the Port-City relation II

Last spring we noticed several initiatives focused in the port-city relation. This autumn we also have several events that will bring interesting inputs to the debate from different perspectives.

In this post we will also mention two congresses that took place during the summer months. The proceedings of these events are already available and include interesting papers.

15th AIVP World Conference Cities and Ports ‘Crossovers’

One of the main events focused in the port-city relation will take place this week in Rotterdam. From the 5th to the 7th of October more than 400 delegates will meet to discuss different issues related with relation between the port and the city. The AIVP in collaboration with the Port Authority of Rotterdam have prepared a dense program with speakers coming from different contexts and backgrounds. There will be interesting synergies between the professional and the academic worlds.

Here is the official statement explaining the conference:

Port cities everywhere are facing up to new challenges, both locally and globally. Factors such as energy, climate, e-commerce and “uberisation” of the economy, major geopolitical developments, are all overwhelming 20th century organisations and structures that are proving unequipped to deal with contemporary issues. New synergies, gateways, bridges and other crossovers need to be devised and developed, to ensure that ports, cities, economic stakeholders and citizens are able to play their part in the modernisation of port communities. The aim is to build a city-port relationship that is responsive, resilient, and competitive, while also taking into account the needs of the local population and the environment.

It is possible to work together. A whole host of initiatives have already been adopted, with increasing success. Our 15th worldwide conference in Rotterdam aims to showcase them, working with you to build YOUR future.

Topics:
1. How can crossovers between cities and ports enhance the circular economy?
2. How can crossovers between cities and ports stimulate innovative business climate?
3. How can we use smart technologies for green logistics and industries in port and city?
4. How can joined urban and port planning facilitate the next economy – flexible frameworks of port and city?
5. How can crossovers allow the creation of resilient ports cities facing up to the challenges of climate change
6. How can port cities enhance social innovation, develop new skills and raise the profile and image of the port?

More information here

Port of Lisbon: the future is prepared today

During October a series of conferences and debates has been prepared to discuss several issues related with the port in the context of the Portuguese capital.

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The port day in Lisbon. Retrieved from http://www.portodelisboa.pt

Each week there will be a debate with presentation from various professionals, focused in different specific topics. The issues to be discussed will go from the port-city relation, to the role of the port in the metropolitan area or even the maritime tourism, a hot topic nowadays in Lisbon.

The conclusion of the program will probably take place during the celebrations of the day of the port, on October 31st.

We leave you here a brief glance of the program:

Friday the 6th : Maritime tourism – a new dynamic

Friday the 14th: Innovative solutions for the port-city relation

Friday the 21st: A port with two shores – Multimodal platform of Barreiro

Thursday the 27th: The port of Lisbon – The future is made today

More information here

ISOCARP YPP/YPTDP Workshop Glasgow

The Young Planning Professionals of the ISOCARP workshop will take place in Glasgow by the last week of October. In this meeting the participants, 20 young professionals, will have the chance to discuss the redevelopment of Clyde Waterfront in Glasgow. The  connection new infrastructure and the integration of above and below ground urban design will be the main challenge the participants will have to face.

One of the most interesting aspects of this workshop is the fact the work will be developed by an interdisciplinary team, formed by 10 architects/urban planners and 10 civil engineers.

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The relation between infrastructure and public space to be discussed in Glasgow. Photo retrieved from: http://isocarp.org/ypp-workshop-glasgow-uk-oct-2016-rethinking-clyde-waterfront/

3rd International Workshop “Cities from the Sea – Maritime identity and Urban Regeneration”

In the city of Naples, organized by the Federico II university the 3rd International Workshop “Cities from the Sea – Maritime identity and Urban Regeneration” will take place between the 26th of November and 3rd of December.

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Cities from the Sea. 3rd International Workshop Retrieved from http://www.cnr.it/

In this workshop the participants, 30 student and 6 tutors, will have the chance to discuss the present and the future of the waterfront and port of Naples. The focus of the meeting will be development of port-cities from different perspectives, from urban planning to community psychology. There will an opportunity to interact with the local stakeholders and attend to several conferences from experts from different fields.

The Call for applications, both for students and tutors, is currently open. The deadline is October 14th.

We leave you here some information from the official website.

Topics

  • Urban planning and design in seaside cities, collaborative strategies, community psychology
  • Urban regeneration, place branding and urban marketing for seaside cities
  • Case study and field work areas: Port of Naples and San Giovanni Coast + Nisida Islet, Coroglio and Bagnoli + Historic Waterfront of Naples
  • Interaction with international referees and real stakeholders

Program Remarks

  • Integrated economic/enviromental/social approach
  • Focus group on port cities and coastal urban areas
  • Working with “hungry and foolish” people
  • Real interdisciplinary collaboration among planning, architecture, psychology, economics, ecology, art, social sciences, etc.
  • Interaction with key actors of Napoli metropolitan coast on the land and on the sea
  • “On board” site visits and views from the sea of Napoli metropolitan coast

4th World Port Hackathon

The 4th World Port Hackathon took place on the 2nd and 3rd of September, in the RDM Campus in Rotterdam. During twenty-four hours, 100 hackers took on the challenges from the port of Rotterdam and the port of Singapore. Throughout the World Port Hackathon, the hackers experienced active participation from the port community and there were also many visitors during the Expo and the Grand Finale. (Text retrieved from the official website).

17th IPHS Conference

Last July , the 17th Conference of the International Planning History Society was held in the TU Delft. In this event there several sessions with interesting papers. We can highlight one of them, more related with the port-city topic, titled: Resilience, Path Dependency and Port Cities. Several senior researcher ins the field of waterfront and port-city relations participated in the conference, such as Carole Hein (organizer of the event), Han Meyer or Dirk Schubert.

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IPHS. Retrieved from https://planninghistory.org/

 

The proceedings are already available in the congress website here.

13th International Conference on Urban History

A second congress also in the field of urban history, that took place this summer was the 13th Conference of the EAUH – European Association for Urban History. The event, realized in Helsinki, developed sessions about many different topics, being two particularly relevant for the ongoing investigation. The first one was the M21 European Seaport Culture. In it, several researchers presented investigation concerning several study cases, some of them already analyzed here, such as Rotterdam, Genoa or Marseille. Considering the type of conference the approach was from a historic point of view, but it gave interning insights to specific issues, like for example the origin of the Hafengeburtstag in Hamburg.

The second session relevant to the port-city relation was the S23. Reinterpreting Global History: Second Cities, an Alternative Road to Global Integration in the Nineteenth and Twentieth century. The discussion about the concept of second city, very often connected with the one of port-city, was particularly interesting. The papers were particularly incisive, discussing some cases aforementioned.

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Port Centers, the spearheads of Seaport Culture disclosure

Port Centers, the spearheads of Seaport Culture disclosure

Several authors have studied the evolution of the relation between cities and ports, developing different models, identifying a conflict situation that in many cases continues until today[1]. In this article we will try to briefly summarized some of the causes of the conflict and their impact in the relation. After, we will mention some strategies used by the port authorities and communities and how they can be complemented by the Port Centers. Finally we will see how this concept works and how it has evolved from the first generation to the second, explaining two examples from each one.

The Port-City relation

We can find complains regarding the port infrastructure and how they cut the access to the water already in the late 19th century[2]. However, the positive outcome of having a port at that time it was clear. The number of jobs associated with the port activities and the economic advantages granted a certain social support for the port development. The evolution of the logistic chain, the maritime technology, the world economy, planning practices or new legislation[3] forced changes during the 20th century in the port configuration and functioning. Due to these changes, among other things, the positive effects of the port activities began to spread over the region or the country, while the negative externalities, mainly related with the environment and traffic, remained in the port-city (Ircha, 2013; Merk, 2013,2014).

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Port of Lisbon in the first half of the 20th Century Source http://iolanda-andrade.blogspot.de/2013/05/do-vasto-e-belo-porto-de-lisboa-on-huge.html

Along with the diminishment of the positive externalities, the raise of an ecological conscience[4] during the second half of the 20th century had as well an impact in the way people saw ports. This phenomenon created social concerns about the environment and the negative effects certain industries could cause. These concerns eventually resulted in a movement opposing some industrial infrastructures, including ports and their expansion projects.

The process aforementioned, particularly the decrease in the economic impact of the port-maritime activities in the local society, has been named by other researchers as demaritimisation (Musso et al. 2011). This term can also include the decrease of the cultural presence of the port in the port-cities, which results in a loss of maritime character. The lost of port conscience could eventually lead to the reallocation of public resources into other sectors, further harming the port development. It is also possible to observe that the ports, and more specifically the port authorities, have not, for the major part of their history, maintain a transparent communication with the city or the local citizens. As result, the physical and symbolic distance between cities and ports has been increasing.

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Port of Rotterdam. Port Landscapes of the 21st Century. The port areas are no longer open to the inhabitants and the port is in many cases totally separated from the city Author: José M P Sánchez

Simultaneously a new type of project began to take place in port-cities, the urban waterfront regeneration plans. This sort of intervention, which started in the 1960s in the USA, was initially based in the transformation of port brownfields near the city center. By the end of the 20th Century, the evolution of this type of projects and the changes in the urban development tendencies had transformed the waterfront area into one of the most appealing locations for new city districts, changing the previous industrial activities for housing projects, office buildings, public spaces or cultural facilities (Schubert, 2011). Among other issues, the increase of value of the waterfront plots put more pressure on the port to leave the locations close to the city center. In some cases, like Oslo, the port authorities also saw this process as an opportunity to finance new port infrastructure outside the urban core. The result of these changes was that in numerous cases ports were no longer visible nor existed close to the everyday routines of the city as it was before, separating themselves from the general image of the local identity.

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Waterfront project for Seattle Waterfront

The evolution of the port-city relation as previously described have resulted in a significant diminishment of the social support of ports. In the late 20th century and beginning of the 21st, we could see a shift in the priorities of the port authorities. They start to include the social integration of ports in their program and projects (Merk,2013). In the early 21st century several documents from European initiatives were published showing the concern about this issue[5]. In this context one of the aims of the port authorities was granting the Social License to Operate. As explained by other authors (Dooms ,2014, Boutilier and Thomson,2011) the SLO is, in its broader concept, fulfilling the expectations of stakeholder and local communities in dimensions that go beyond the creation of wealth, i.e. the social acceptance of port activities by local communities, that take in consideration other elements, besides the economic impact of the port.

Soft Values

To achieve the SLO, a common strategy has been to appeal to what was named by Van Hooydonk as the Soft – Values, “the non-socioeconomic values which include among others historical, sociological, artistic and cultural sub-functions that form the soft-function of seaports” (Van Hooydonk, 2007). In some of the bigger port-cities, such as Rotterdam or Hamburg, the port festivals have been an important event in the festivities calendar. This sort of events are being implemented in port-cities around the world with relative success in terms of local participation. The use of the soft-values has been enhanced by different port authorities, developing a socio-cultural agenda, from movie festival to concerts or sport events[6].

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The book Soft Values of Seaports by Prof. Van Hooydonk (2007). In this publication the soft values are explained, as well the evolution of the relation between the ports and societies. In order to improve their disclosure the author proposes a new figure in port authorities, the soft values manager.

The practices using soft-values have been able to attract people to the port territory, create a visual relation with the port atmosphere and in some cases help to keep the port-maritime identity of some port-cities. However, there is a tendency to a certain romanticism in the cultural events, sometimes detached from the real functioning of the port. As mentioned by Verhoeven (2011), both soft and hard values are necessary to regain the public support of ports. In order to develop a process of remaritimisation of port-cities, it is mandatory to combine innovative port activities, that generate new port related jobs and locally created added value, with the aforementioned Soft-Values and a clear communication channel. Considering the discredit of many political institutions and the tendency of the bottom-up planning policies, it seems reasonable to look for new tools for the port-city relation, adapted to the new scenario, such as the Port Centers.

The Port Center Concept

The Port Center concept can be described as  a ” museum and didactic structure oriented to the diffusion of port and maritime awareness and knowledge” (Ghiara, 2012). This structure has a physical location, a permanent exhibition and staff focused in the organization of visits to the center and the port territory. This structure has been used to articulate the relation between the port and the citizens, including local and foreign visitors. As we will see in the examples, the Port Center has also been created as a two way communication channel where, not only the people can get information about the port, but also is possible to organize a debate about the port-city relation or the port expansion projects. In most European countries the public discussion of large infrastructural projects is mandatory by law, which is also an opportunity to involve the locals in the port development debate and generate a certain feeling of appropriation of the port.

Port Center Schema
Port Center Concept. Adapted from Marini et al. 2014

The Soft-Values of seaports, as mentioned before, are one of the main assets ports can use to regain the social acceptance and visibility. The management of these values can also be made using the Port Center as the hinge for the port-city interaction, developing the socio-cultural agenda and the educational programs, fostering the public debate or implementing new information channels. The Port Centers form an alternative way to communicate with the citizens, complementing the existing initiatives. We can identify two different generations of this sort of structure since they started to be used in the late 1980s.

First Generation

Antwerp Port Center

The impact generated by the larger ports usually requires them to develop innovative strategies to reduce their negative externalities and increase their social integration, including innovative ways of information disclosure (Merk, 2013, 74). In 1988 the first Port Center was created in one of Europe’s biggest ports, Antwerp. This new facility was, and still is, located in the center of the port territory, on the right bank of the Scheldt river, next to the Lillo fort, 20 Km. from the city center. The scope for which it was founded was mainly educational, seeking to change the negative perception the port had, mainly among the younger generations. This issue is particularly relevant, not just regarding the social acceptance, but also concerning the lack of qualified workers.

The educational scope of the Antwerp Havencentrum, previously also known as Lillo Port Center,  was clear since it was initially thought exclusively for school classes. The fact of being far from the public transport was not a problem since the groups would arrive directly with their own means. Later, the Center allowed different types of groups, increasing their impact in the local society, welcoming pensioners and company delegations visiting the port.

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Location of the Antwerp Port Center in the middle of the port territory

The Port Center of Antwerp is mainly financed by the province, responsible for 70% of its budget. In an initial moment it did not included other organism in the board of directors, but this situation changed in 2014 when the representatives of the logistics and industrial sectors of the port were invited to the board. The integration of the different stakeholders of the port community is important, not just for possible economic support, but also for the legitimacy of the project and the organization of the port visits.  Secondary financing strategies have also been developed, including an entrance fee for the visitors and the sublet of meeting rooms as venue for the interested companies.

The exhibition space (800sqm) explains the functioning of the port and its impact in the regional, national and international level. The pedagogic project has been developed following the principle of edutainment, combining the explanation of the logistic chain, the ships and the port territory with interactive games in order to captivate the attention of the students. This strategy was inspired by the science museums, and later was followed by Port Centers developed afterwards.

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Images from the Lillo Port Center

The integration of former employees in the guides team is another positive aspect of the project. This initiative allows to maintain a certain sense of port community and gives first hand testimonies to the visitors. In order to grant the correct communication between the youngsters and the retired port workers, the latter received an specific training for the interaction and explanation of their experiences.

So far the Antwerp Port Center has enjoyed reasonable success according to the number of visitors, over 47 000 per year (AIVP, 2016). The coordination with the educational community has been as well positive. Other forms of collaboration have been developed, particularly relevant with the high schools focused in the maritime education and with the institute of maritime management and transport from the university of Antwerp. The main critic could be that, for the moment, it has not been possible to organize a two way interaction as some examples of the second generation, limiting the possible communication (Ghiara et al. 2014). Another issue could be the fact the Port Center of Antwerp still is reserved for groups visits from the target audiences, not allowing individual visits, limiting its social impact capacity.

Rotterdam EIC

The second Port Center of the first generation is the EIC (Education and Information Centre) of Rotterdam. This structure was created in late 1993 by Deltalinqs (Association of port companies of Rotterdam) and the port of Rotterdam Authority. It shares several characteristics with the case of Antwerp regarding location, scope and type of visitors. It is placed next to Rozenburg and the Europoort terminal, 20 km from the city center and without a good public transport connection.

The main goal was to explain the port to the new generations and show them that the port can be a good option to pursue a professional career. As it happens in Antwerp, the port was no longer seen as an attractive location to work (Aarts et al., 2012) . The strategy to explain the ports is similar as well to Antwerp. It includes a permanent exhibition with games and didactic activities and organizes port visits for the groups that come to the center. It also offers their services and facilities to the port companies, including the possibility of hosting private events. This service, along the entrance fee, provides a secondary financing source. In the website we can find educational material to assist the school teachers to better prepare the visit and take the maximum profit of it.

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EIC Rotterdam

The success of this initiative is clear, receiving 22 000 visitors per year (Merk, 2013) but, as the aforementioned example, for the moment it does not allows individual visitors. Nevertheless the Port of Rotterdam decided to develop a second Port Center, already part of the second generation, including some changes in the model followed so far.

Second Generation

The concept of the Port Center has been implemented in different contexts and we can find examples in port -cities in and outside Europe. It took more than two decades for the concept to be used by other port-cities. To this second wave, developed since the first decade of the 20th century, belong for example the cases of  Genoa, Melbourne, Vancouver, Busan, Rotterdam- FutureLand, Le Havre, Ashdod and Livorno. In the initiatives that integrate this second generation we can find a greater variety of solutions for the challenges faced by the centers from the first one.

In terms of financing we can see different approaches. On one hand, there is possibility of a collaboration between different institutions, related with the port, including port authorities, municipalities and regions or the chamber of commerce. This approach can be found in Genoa, Le Havre or even in the port museum of Dunkirk[7]. On the other hand, we can also find initiatives that are full responsibility of the port authorities, for example Rotterdam-FutureLand, Melbourne, Ashdod or Livorno. This second model reveals how the concern regarding the social acceptance and integration has grown in the port authorities. In the first generation the port authorities were not so present in the financing or the organization, mainly done by the province or the association of port companies. The option of a joint project gives more credibility to the center since it is more unlikely that is perceived by the visitors as a public relation from the port authority.

The location issue has also been handled in different ways. We can find two main options: The Port Center placed in the port territory, as it was in the first generation, or located in the boundary between port and city, near the urban core. In Melbourne and Ashdod the structure is placed in the port area, being the second one in a restricted access location. The visit is only possible in groups, often with their own transportation. This solution allows a direct impression of the port, but it reduces the options of individual visitors. The second possibility, implemented in Genoa and later in Livorno or Le Havre, has an easier access to the facility. This second option allows an easier access to the general public, broadening the target audience. However, it is important to notice that, in several cases here presented, the choice of the location was very often more related with the available facilities than with other criteria. The majority use existing locations, in some examples occupying heritage buildings owned by the port or one of the partners, giving a stronger sense of attachment to the place and a more recognizable space.

Regarding the target audience, the majority of the Port Centers are focused in the younger public, particularly the children and teenagers deciding the educational path they want to take. In some cases, like Genoa or Le Havre, it was decided to welcome a wider audience, occasionally developing content and activities for a more mature public. For example, Le Havre developed the technical Thursdays program, during which experts from port different activities or port development do presentations about specific topics in a more detailed level.

Another element that has changed is the entrance fee. In most cases of the second generation the entrance fee is no longer applied or with a symbolic figure. The majority of the project financing has been done by the participating partners.

Simultaneously to the second generation the AIVP created the Port Center Network. This work group was established in 2011 (Morucci et al. 2016) with the goal of connecting the existing Port Centers from both generations and share the best practices. One of the main inputs of this initiative has been the Missions Charter of a Port Center, a document published in 2013 with ten key points explaining the goals and challenges if this type of projects

From the mentioned cases that form the second generation we will explain in further detail two, the Italian Port Centers of Genoa and Livorno.

Genoa Port Center

The Port Center of Genoa was one of the first cases of the second generation. The project was supported by five different institutions: the Genoa Port Authority, the Maritime Authority, the Province of Genoa, the University and the Municipality of Genoa (through the Porto Antico SpA) (Ghiara, 2012). The chosen location for the new facility was in the Porto Antico area, next to the city center and other urban attractions, like the Bigo or the aquarium, with an easy access for the general public.

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The Magazzini del Cotone, where the port center is located

The university of Genoa, more specifically the faculty of economy, developed the necessary research collaborating with the port community. The main motivation of the project was not to explain the point of view of the port authority, but to include all the different perspectives of the port-city relationship.

Around the Port Center a socio-cultural agenda was developed. During the first years a series of events took place, such as the port run, movies on the docks, or activities coordinated with other museums and science centers. This panoply of actions was destined, as pointed out by Ghiara (2012), to promote the soft-values and articulate the relation between both realities.

Although the general public was the target audience, the school groups still received considerable attention. Besides the exhibition and the tours to the port territory, other activities were programmed. One of the main examples was the “Let’s adopt a ship” project, by which the student groups would be able to remain in contact with the crew of a ship (Ghiara et al, 2014).

During the first years the project received 14000 visitors each year (Merk, 2013), including almost 6000 students per year in average (Ghiara, 2012).

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Genoa Port Center Source: http://www.genoaportcenter.it/

The Port Center of Genoa is since mid 2014 closed due to a lack of understanding between the participant partners. The goal after the first years was to give the management of the center to the port authority but for the moment the situation is unclear. This problem shows how difficult and complex the collaboration between the different institutions operating in the port-city can be. This issue will affect the image of the port and the aimed social support, in this case particularly necessary since the port has a direct boundary with the city along the entire urban waterfront.

Livorno Port Center

On November 2015 the most recent Port Center of the second generation opened its doors in the port-city of Livorno. In this case the project is developed by the port authority of Livorno, that since 2007 has developed several initiatives aimed towards a better social integration of the port. Among these actions, the one that has received greater recognition, is the Porto Aperto program, during which social activities in the port are organized, mainly during the school period.

There are several aspects from the case of Livorno that differentiate it from previous cases. The center is located inside the Fortezza Vecchia, a fortress from the 16th Century. This heritage construction is placed in the boundary between the city and the port and offers a historic context for the Port Center, as well as different points where the visitors can see the port from an elevated location. The port authority was able to use its own resources for the refurbishment of a section of the fortress since it would host the Port Center, what can be considered a port function. This issue is particularly relevant since, in the case of Italy, the law very often does not allows the port authorities to finance projects that are not related with the port activities.

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Fortezza Vecchia

The Port Center includes a permanent exhibition and a library. However, when compared with other cases is considerably smaller, adapted to the local context. Regarding the exhibition itself another innovation is its layout. Although the principles of edutainment are still present, the final solution used new available technologies, such as virtual reality or kinetic games, to give a more interactive experience. Besides the fact of being more attractive to the teens and children visiting the center, this new approach allows a certain flexibility and adaptation capacity, since the necessary equipment is easier to move and transport[8].

One of the original motivations of the Port Center of Livorno was, besides explaining the port, to develop a forum where the ideas about the port-city relation could be shared and discussed (Corradini & Morucci, 2012). This goal became a reality during the spring of 2016, from April to June, when the port debate took place in the fortress and included the port center as one of the main tools to explain the port and the development project planned. The figure of the debate is planned in the regional law of Tuscany[9] in cases where the project budget exceeds 50 million €. In this case there were two proposals to be discussed, the Europe Platform, including different infrastructure related with the logistics sector, and the new maritime station, mainly destined to passenger traffic. The project would be located in a position that could create new port-city interaction, including interventions in the existing heritage. During the different debate sessions, the public got to know the issues related with both projects, besides general information about the port functioning. The debate also worked as a two way communication, since the citizens were also able to give their inputs to the discussion, although the port authority is not compelled to follow the conclusions of the debate. During the initiative the participants could also make port visits. The organization created as well an online user-friendly platform where all the information was available.

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Port debate session

Conclusion

In the evolution of the relation between port and city we have seen how the interaction and communication has changed. The need to obtain the SLO forced many port authorities to include the social integration as one of their priorities. In an initial moment it was noticed that the use of the soft-values could help to regain the port identity of many port-cities. The development of a socio-cultural agenda has became a reality in many cases. However, we have seen that it is necessary to explain the port reality as it is nowadays, complementing the romantic vision often presented with updated information.

The port-cities are territories open to urban planning innovation, as we have seen in numerous waterfront projects. In this case, the Port Center is an element around which is possible to articulate the relation between port and city, including the local citizens., while contributing to the social acceptance of the port. These structures offer the inhabitants the opportunity to re-appropriate themselves of the port and identify it as an important element of the city’s identity.

The success of the policies developed by the different port-authorities, including the management of Soft-Values and Port Centers, is yet to be measured. The study of these actions and their results is a relevant subject to be studied, which should be approached with a holistic methodology. The investigations would have to be formulated including several perspectives from different fields. The study of the policies impact would determine their validity and how they must be adapted to the ever changing reality of the port-cities.

 

This paper was presented in the session about European Seaport Culture in the 13th Conference on Urban History that took place in Helsinki, between the 24th and 27th of August.

 

References

Aarts, M., Daamen, T., Huijs, M., & de Vries, W., Port City development in Rotterdam: A true love story. 2013, Retrieved from http://urban-e.aq.upm.es.Visited on 12-08-2016 18:25

Barata, A. C. M., Lisboa “caes da Europa”: realidades, desejos e ficções para a cidade (1860 – 1930). Lisbon: Edições Colibri – IHA/Estudos de Arte Contemporânea, FCSH – Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2010.

Corradini, S., Morucci, F., Livorno between preserving port identity and future challenges. Portusplus, 3. (2012)

Demoulin, P., Port information center as an essential instrument in reconnecting ports and citizens. In 12th International Conference Cities and Ports. Le Havre: AIVP. 2010

Dooms, M., Integrating “triple P” bottom line performance and the license to operate for ports: towards new partnerships between port cluster stakeholders. In Y. Alix, B. Delsalle, & C. Comtois (Eds.), Port-City Governance (pp. 55–76). Cormelles-le-Royal: ems – Management & Societe. 2014

Ghiara, H., How to communicate the port today to build the port of tomorrow ? The port center Activities in Genoa. In 13th AIVP World Conference Cities and Ports. Le Havre: AIVP. 2012

Ghiara, H., Demoulin, P., & Marini, G., Port Center: to develop a renewed port-city relationship by improving a shared port culture. In Y. Alix, B. Delsalle, & C. Comtois (Eds.), Port-City Governance (pp. 233–246). Cormelles-le-Royal: ems – Management & Societe. 2014

Guillain, S., Relazione Finale. Dibattito pubblico sullo sviluppo e la riqualificazione del porto di Livorno. Livorno. 2016

Ircha M C., Social License for Canadian Port, PORTUS, n. 25, Year XIII, Venice, RETE Publisher. 2013

Morucci, F., Bicocchi, J., New port identity between global and local. The case of competitive development of Livorno. Portusplus, VI(6). 2016

Merk, O., The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: Synthesis Report. OECD Publishing. Paris, 2013

Musso, E., & Ghiara, H., Reshaping the economic landscape of Port Cities. In J. Alemany & R. Bruttomesso (Eds.), The Port City of the XXIst Century. New Challenges in the Relationship between Port and City (pp. 87–101). Venice: Rete. 2011

Schubert, D.,  Seaport Cities: Phases of spatial restructuring. In C. Hein (Ed.), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (1st ed., pp. 54–69). New York: Routledge. 2011

Sessions, G., The Deep Ecology Movement: A Review. Environmental Review: ER, 11(2), 105–125.,(1987)

Van Hooydonk, E., Soft values of seaports. A strategy for the restoration of public support for seaports. Antwerp: Garant. 2007

[1] Among these authors we can find for example the work developed by Bird, Hayuth, Hoyle or Meyer. All of them have explain the evolution of the relation between port and city and the port-city interface, often linked with the economic cycles.

[2] For example in the case of Lisbon we can find texts from journalists and writers from the end of the 19th Century or beginning of the 20th, such as Castilho or Proença, that complained about the options taken in the port development plan and how they affected the relation between the city and the river (Barata, 2010)

[3] It is generally accepted that the first major change in the port-city relation took place during the industrial revolution, when many port development projects took place forced by the improvements in the maritime technology. Also in this period is when the first port authorities were founded. Another important change took place during the 1960’s, when the container, invented in the 1956 by Malcom Mclean, started to be a universal cargo forcing changes in the ports layout. In terms of legislation the most recent example is the international ISPS code, which implies that the port areas must have restricted access and have to be separated from the surroundings by a wall or fence.

[4] Aldo Leopold was the first author to mention the idea of an ecological conscience in his book “A sand county almanac” from 1949. In his work, the author claimed a change in the worldview, from an anthropocentric perspective to an ecocentric one, being the man part of nature and not above it. This work, along with the book “Silent Spring” from R. Carson, published in 1961, inspired what can be known as the “Age of ecology” (Sessions, 1987).

[5] Documents from European projects such as: the “plan the city with the port” initiative, the SUDEST and CTUR projects, both integrated in the Urbact program, and the “People around ports project” from which the “Code of Practice on Societal Integration of Ports” from ESPO resulted. During the same time span the AIVP (Association International Ville et Port) also published several documents mentioning the topic of social integration of ports.

[6] The port festivals of Hamburg (Hafengeburtstag) and the Rotterdam (World Port Days) are two of the most well known events of this kind. Both attract hundreds of thousands visitors and the port is in the center of the celebration. Another sort of example could be the port run in Valparaiso or Porto, or the music festivals in Hamburg (Elbjazz) or Las Palmas (Temudas).

[7] Although not technically a Port Center, it fulfills a part of its mission and is an example of cooperation among several local institutions.

[8] The exhibition is formed by different stations and a central media table. The stations include a beamer, a white screen and a movement sensor. This sort of technology can be easily moved and adapted to other location in case the Port Center has to move.

[9] Regional Law  46/2013

 

Port-City governance. A comparative analysis in the European context.

Port-City governance. A comparative analysis in the European context.

This post is based on the paper to be presented in the AESOP YA Congress to be held in Ghent between 21st and 24th of March 2016.

1. Introduction

The relation between cities and ports has been thoroughly analyzed from different perspective in the last 50 years. We can find several investigations that try to explain the concept of port-city and the evolution of their interaction. Many authors, e.g. Bird (1963) and Hoyle (1989; 2000) among others, have developed spatial models that explain the different stages the relation between ports and cities goes through. Although the mentioned models present limitations they are widely accepted as the better abstraction of the evolution of the port-city interface. One of the critic that could be made to these schemes is the fact that not all port-cities fit the description (Kokot, 2008). However, in order to perform a comparative analysis, it provides a solid starting point. According to Hoyle’s model we currently find ourselves in the 6th Phase, when new links between the city and the port can be established. In this article we will not focus in the theoretical research or abstract analysis of port-city development, but rather in the actual governance praxis that we can find in Europe.

Figura3MATDMHWV
Stages in the evolution of port-city interrelationships according to Hoyle’s model (2000)

In order to better understand the role of the context, the different problems and solutions that we find in the European continent a research project was proposed. For this investigation a sample of six port-cities was chosen representing different realities: Oslo, Helsinki, Rotterdam, Marseille, Genoa and Lisbon. In this selection we can find some of the main ports of the continent, such as Rotterdam, but at the same time the Nordic capitals, like Oslo and Helsinki, in which the port is mainly relevant in the regional and national level. Also present are port cities that host the major national port for industrial activities but simultaneously tourism or passenger related activities, like Genoa and Marseille. Finally the port of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, that is suffering strong national competition and seen an important increase in the cruise sector.

Newman and Thornley (1996) have explained before the differences between the planning systems in the context aforementioned. These distinctions in the national legal framework and the particular physical and social conditions generate different  approaches and solutions for nuisances generated by port activities. These externalities are frequently very similar since the main harbor activities are very often alike. The PAs (Port Authorities)must have a policy to cope with the issues created by its activities in the cities since the positive effects of the port spread throughout the region but the negative externalities very often remain in the urban core (Ircha, 2013; Merk, 2013,2014). The combination between global problems and local solutions generates a diversity of management and planning practices worth observing and comparing.

The methodology for the analysis of the study cases was based on visits to the port-cities for periods of two weeks during which one of the main tasks was to perform semi-structured interviews to the responsible authorities in order to get first hand information. We were able to establish contact with the port authorities, municipalities, planning agencies and professionals.  In total 15 interviews were done.  At the same time we contacted the local inhabitants informally to better understand their perception of the port and the role this infrastructure plays in the social identity of the city. The methodology was completed with consultation of bibliography and official documents. For the analysis of the waterfront regeneration projects present in all the study cases we followed the method proposed by Schubert (2011), which includes quantitative and qualitative dimensions e.g. size of the project, start and completion dates, planning culture or location. Finally the time spent in each of the study cases allowed us to perform a photographical survey of the port-city environment and the interaction of the city with the water.

In the work developed by other researchers we can see that there are several key topics related with port-cities. For example in the series dedicated to port-cities from the OECD (Merk et.al. 2010-2013) the economic subject was predominant, although it also included information about the urban planning, environmental impact and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The waterfront regeneration projects are another issue that has been extensively studied by other authors, mainly with study case analysis, e.g. Schubert (2008, 2011) and Meyer (2003). Another important source are the guides of good practice developed over the last decade. Several of these publications have been supported by the existing internationals organizations focused on ports and port-cities, such as ESPO (European Sea Port Organization) the European ports lobby, the AIVP (Association Internationale Ville et Port) or RETE more focused in Mediterranean and south American  countries.

We were able to identify 3 main common topics in the port-city relation among the selected study-cases: (i) Institutional relations and role of the port authorities, (ii) physical interaction, including the port-city interface and waterfront regeneration projects, and (iii) the social relation between ports and cities.

2. Institutional relation – New synergies

In the European context most PAs follow the landlord port model [1]. Although the functioning scheme is very similar the political context of each port changes the governance capacities of each PA, being particularly relevant the national political system of each country. In the selected study cases we could also find one PA, Rotterdam, that has evolved from this model into a developer port (Vries, 2014) as we will later see.

We could find two main schemes for the national systems in the studied context, centralized and decentralized (Newman & Thornley, 1996). These two models for the national organization of the state create crucial differences between the European countries. In the particular subject we are concerned the major difference is related with the control of the PA. In the case of the centralized model the central government plays the leading role, in some cases being even the sole responsible for the PA board. This model is mostly seen in the South European countries, in our case sample we could find it in the cities of Genoa, Marseille and Lisbon. The main issue of this scheme is the fact that many decisions regarding the strategic planning and the allocation of economical resources are not taken in the PA itself, but in the central authority, usually the ministry or national department. In this decision making process the priority is given to the economical aspects of the port activity and the resources are mainly dedicated to the major infrastructural works. Regarding the relation with the city, the issue that might surge is the fact that frequently  it is not considered a priority and the investment in projects or activities that could improve the synergies is very often declined. During our interviews we could see that for example in Genoa the PA does not fully controls the revenues its activity generates, therefore does not have capacity to decided where the majority of the investment should be made. Regarding the studied cases that have this model, we also found that when the PA is mainly controlled by the central state, there is a certain institutional and emotional detachment between the city and this infrastructure. This was visible in the Marseille case, where, besides the strong presence of the central state, the complex configuration of the boards hinders the negotiation process.

The alternative on the other hand is more common in central and north European countries. In the study cases this option could be found in Rotterdam, Oslo and Helsinki. In the decentralized model the city has a prominent role in the control of the PA, very often being the majority shareholder in case is a semi-private company, like in the Dutch case (Vries, 2014), or even the PA is under the “umbrella” of the municipality. Previously, in some cases, this institution used to be a department of the municipality, like in Helsinki, but recent reforms to improve the management transformed them into semi-public companies controlled by the local authority. In these cases the state also plays an important role although not so determinant as in the alternative model. In some cases is also present in the shareholding and, in most countries with this system, is in charge of the national coordination of these key infrastructures. For the port-city relation the decentralized model is more beneficial since the city has  a stronger voice in the management decisions, they receive benefits from their shares and the urban issues in the interface are considered important as well.

The two models aforementioned condition the port-city relation in the institutional field, but are not the only elements that affect this interaction. Another issue is the land ownership. In the analyzed cases we found three types of situation. In the first scenario the port land is owned by the PA and it can be used as a resource for financing port projects in case a waterfront regeneration plan takes place. We could see this in Oslo, where the PA was able to finance the Sydhavna terminal through the revenues of the real estate operation involving the port territories near the city center. Another similar case would be Marseille. The GPMM (Grand Port Maritime du Marseille) controls the port land since the last legislation reform in 2008[2]. For this reason when the port released the area for the waterfront regeneration, it received a compensation from the planning agency.  Another situation regarding the land ownership is when the port territory is owned by the city. In this case there is a leasing contract which ends when the port activities are ceased in a certain waterfront section and the land is released without the need of a compensation. This scheme can be found in Rotterdam or in Helsinki. The Finnish capital can be considered an extreme case since the municipality is one of the main land owners in the city. In this case the PA only owns the constructions and machinery built in its territory. During the interviews the port representatives claimed that the land issue puts them in a disadvantage position in the case of a negotiation regarding urban issues. Finally we can find cases in which the land is owned by the central state and there is a standardized procedure for the ownership transition. We can find this situation in Lisbon, where the law[3] states that in case the port territory does not have a current or foreseen use it should be handled to the local authorities if there is a clear plan regarding its transformation for urban uses.

In the institutional relation we could also observe another issue that affects only certain ports. These are major infrastructure that even in the smaller cases include a vast extension of territory. In the sample we studied the size of the port varies from 125 Ha  of land in the port of Oslo to 12500 Ha  along 40 km of the river Maas in the case of Rotterdam. This dimension affects the territorial management that in some cases it includes several municipalities. The two most extreme cases among the selected port-cities were Marseille and Lisbon. In the French case the port territory is divided into two main locations, Marseille (east basin) and Fos (west basin). Besides the two very different realities, the port activity also affects a broad number of small municipalities, at least 3 communauté [4] from Marseille to Fos sur Mer (Bertoncello & Dubois, 2010) that demand a sit in the management board. The negotiation with so many stakeholders, each one with very different priorities and development goals, is considerably complicated. In the Portuguese capital we found that the port limits with 11 municipalities. In this case each one has a different relation with the port authority and different openness towards port activities. These issues that could seem subjective might affect the port development. In the Lisbon case one of the factors that influenced the decision of the new container terminal location was the political relation with the local authorities[5] .

Another issue that affects this relation is the fact that the PA is not the same as the port community. Therefore, the concept or agenda of the official institution is not always welcomed by the companies, workers, unions and other individuals or organizations from the port. In some cases, mainly Genoa and Marseille, we noticed how this diversity of actors might difficult the dialogue and in some cases delay important reforms. In general terms we could see that the port communities are not so open to change, particularly if it is brought from outside the port. The PA plays a crucial role since it has to properly explain the necessary change and convince this very resilient community to accept it.

In the investigation we were also able to understand the importance of the negotiation process necessary between all the involved stakeholders. In port territories very often we find other institutions besides the port authorities, such as railway companies, road authorities, customs, public transport companies, cargo and ferry terminals, etc. In all the study cases the negotiation and willing to dialogue was crucial for the urban and port development. For these negotiations the existence of dialogue platforms, sometimes linked to a project, was considered to be a useful approach.

 

3. Physical relation – Interface and Waterfront regeneration projects – Dialogue and negotiation

In the selected study cases we could observe how different sorts of urban projects in the waterfront are taking place or have been developed in the past. Since these port-cities have been studied previously by other scholars into more detail, we will only mention the main aspects of them, specifically the most recent developments.

3.1 The interventions

3.1.1. Helsinki

In Helsinki, after the relocation of the industrial port in Vuosaari, several urban development are taking place that will change the relation of the city with the water. Particularly relevant are the ones in Jatkasaari and Kalatasama. In the first one we shall also see the interaction with port activities (Laitinen,2013), more specifically the ferries, that brought in 2015 10,7 mill passenger[6] and also a considerable figure of ro-ro cargo[7], approx. 25% of the general throughput (Merk et al. 2012).

© Adactive Ltd
Helsinki West Harbor Waterfront development (source: http://www.hel.fi)

3.1.2 Oslo

In Oslo the Fjord City plan is being developed since 2000, when the municipality chose to implement the urban strategy focused in improving the contact of the city with the fjord rather than the one more harbor oriented (Kolstø, 2013; Gisle Rekdal, 2013). This decision was also very representative of the different types of relation that cities have with their ports, not always considered an identity element. In this case the dialogue and negotiation has played a crucial role, since the land, as mentioned before, is owned by the port. One of the most important features of the plan is the new coherent vision for the waterfront. In the case of Oslo the new promenade along the urban shore plays an important role, since it is the link between the different areas, that go from new port terminals in Sydhavna in the south to the new centralities in Bjorvika. The plan will proceed with the development of Filipstad and Vippetangen. These sections of the waterfront will require more negotiation than in previous parts since there are port related industries operating there and the solution for connection with the urban tissue implies not just the port but also the railway company.

3.1.3 Rotterdam

The case of Rotterdam presents two main examples for waterfront interventions, Kop van Zuid and Stadshavens. The first is entering its final stage and is an example of “port out-city in” type of project. In this case a port brownfield was transformed into a high standard mixed-use district. The clear gentrification we can see it was considered positive, being one of the goals of the project, since the city needed greater variety in a dwelling market dominated by social housing (Daamen et al., 2015). The second intervention could be considered a model for the future. Its scale and complexity is greater than other cases since it implies an area of 1600 Ha, of which 600 Ha of land (Vries, 2014) with many active industries. This last section of the port inside the highway ring began to be discussed in the year 2004, with an initial approach similar to the Kop van Zuid. In 2007, before the world financial crisis, it was clear that the scheme could not be replied and that a different strategy was necessary (Daamen,2010; Vries, 2014). The model changed from a “port out-city in” approach to a real coexistence among port and urban uses. The industries are considered to be important, particularly innovative ones related with the port, and the transition will be developed in a slower rhythm, with a more flexible implementation agenda. The housing program will be built in the areas that allow a compatible use. This case is considered to be very innovative since, as mentioned before, the project no longer takes place in a port brownfield, but in a active port sector. The integration can hardly be achieved, but the coexistence between port and city can be a reasonable goal.

3.1.4 Marseille

Marseille is also undergoing an important urban transformation. After the industrial crisis of the 1970-1980 the city went into a process of social and physical degradation, unemployment rates grew considerably, the lack of private investment caused a degradation of the urban tissue with several brownfields and the productive model did not evolved from the previous scenario. The port, as in many other cases, was no longer the job provider it used to be. At the same time the city gained a negative reputation. To invert the negative development tendency the central government decided to act by implementing an urban regeneration plan in 1995, the Euroméditerranée (Bertoncello & Dubois, 2010; Martin, 2015). The operation was destined to change the image of the city and its productive model, with a new CBD where several industrial brownfield used to be, near the urban port. The operation required the cooperation of all the involved actors, including the GPMM.

One of most interest facts about this case for the port-city relation is the vertical integration of port and urban activities in several key projects. Terrasses du Port, Silo d’Arenc  and in the future the J1 Warehouse show the compatibility of port activities with cultural, service or shopping programs. Besides these specific projects the process also allowed the city to regain an access to the sea in the J4/MUCEM section. Another important element was the flexibility of the plan, since the construction was only developed when a high rate of occupancy (70%) was assure, avoiding the risk of empty buildings and the possible degradation. Most importantly, the commitment achieved was translated into the city-port charter, a document that summarized the negotiation process and granted the presence of the port in the urban core, easing the acceptance of the project by the port community, not always opened to change. The plan is still ongoing and in the next years it should start its second phase, this time without affecting directly port territories.

3.1.5 Genoa

The case of Genoa presents a different reality from the ones discussed previously. In the Italian city currently there is no waterfront regeneration project in the classic meaning of the concept, i.e. acting in a port brownfield to generate an urban tissue near the water. This sort of intervention already took place in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s and in the early 2000’s, in always linked with a big events policy (Gastaldi, 2010, 2013). The particularity of the Genoese context is the need to intervene in the active port, to give answer to specific technical issues and, in the process, use this opportunity to improve the relation of the city with the port and the sea. The Blue print project developed by Renzo Piano is a conceptual plan for the east section of the port territory focused in reorganizing the shipyards industry, improving its infrastructure and implementing a better distribution of the existing activities, which include a yacht club and water sports. Simultaneously the exhibition fair district, outside the port boundaries, should also be affected by this plan, since it also requires an intervention to invert its current degradation process. The project plans the development of 11300 m2 of housing, 25 000 m2 of tertiary activities and 12 000 m2 of commerce in the sector focused in the urban regeneration[8]. This figure is relatively small when compared to the previous cases, which also shows the different scope of the project. One of the main features of the plan, as we can see in the image, is the creation of a new blue buffer, i.e. a water channel separating the city from the port.

blueprint-small
Genoa Blue print. In the image we see the water channel following the line of the old city walls. (Source: Official document of the project)

3.1.6 Lisbon

In Lisbon the most important waterfront regeneration project took place in the late 1990’s, the regeneration of a port brownfield in the east part of the city for the EXPO 1998. After the event the area suffered several changes to adapt to its post-expo use, hosting a new business district, several housing projects and key cultural infrastructures. The main critic to this project was that it created an island of new urbanity disconnected from the existing urban tissue (Ressano Garcia, 2011).  In 2007 the general plan for waterfront interventions was published, in which the future use of riverfront areas and port territory to be dismissed was described. This plan was developed in the strategic level and the partial projects were developed in a closer scale. The economic crisis that affected the world economy, and particularly the Southern European countries, burst short after the release of the document and several project there hosted suffered significant delays, being developed only today. In this period the absence of activities in the released areas increased the negative image of the port, although the port itself was not responsible of the situation. The importance of temporary uses was clear in this case, since they could have allowed an appropriation of the space by the inhabitants that later on might ease the integration.

3.1.7 Synthesis table with the dimensions of Schubert model

tabla Shubert-7 copy copy
Dimensions of waterfront (re-)development for comparative perspectives, adapted from Schubert (2011). In the case of Lisbon there is no current major waterfront regeneration project.

3.2 Conclusions of the physical relation analysis

3.2.1 Contracts

One of the elements that are most relevant for the waterfront regeneration projects is the situation regarding the contracts with the existing companies. The majority of the PA, as we have already mentioned,  follow the landlord model, therefore there are companies developing their activities in the port territory which have made an investment based in a long term commitment. These contracts are usually signed for several decades and imply considerable compensation sums in case they are broken. In the waterfront project they might form an impediment for the implementation of the plan. We could find this issue in several cases. In Oslo there are operating firms in Filipstad and in the silo in Vippetangen. In Rotterdam there are several companies with long-term contracts in Merwerhaven, Eemhaven and Waalhaven, that in case they had to be relocated the necessary compensation could affect the outcome of the project[9]. One of difficulties of acting in the active port is the issue of respecting the contracts, in this context the flexible planning and negotiation skills might prove to be determinant for the success or failure of the project.

3.2.2 Agencies

The waterfront and the port-city interface are a very specific situation, the issues affecting this part of the city are very particular and the solutions applied in other locations of the urban tissue might not work here (Hoyle, 1998). At the same time in this context the municipal authorities deals with another institution managing a vast territory, the port authorities, with different priorities and goals, that counterbalances the negotiation process. In order to find solutions very often an specific planning agency is created. In the analyzed study cases we found several agencies, frequently linked with a project, instead of a steady organizations meant to follow different plans. In Rotterdam the Stadshavens evolved to be a dialogue and coordination platform after the approach to the project changed (Daamen,2010; Vries, 2014).

In the case of Genoa we found precedents of these sort of initiatives, created by both sides of the relation. For the port plan the PA established an agency for the development of the port Masterplan. This new office counted with the collaboration of world renowned architects and planners, e.g. Rem Koolhaas, Solá Morales and Bernardo Secchi, to provide new ideas for the port-city interface (Boeri,1999). Later on another agency, the Genova Urban Lab, was created to solve the existing urban issues, among them the relation with the port. The synergies created in the process have helped to improve the dialogue between the municipal and port authorities.

In Marseille the Euroméditerranée was created by the national state with the scope of the urban regeneration of the city. The participants in the new public agency were also the GPMM, the urban community, the county council, the regional council and the municipality. The agency forced a dialogue almost inexistent until that moment. One of the greatest achievements of this initiative has been the connection between the national and the local decision makers. This agency is linked to the project development and its destiny is to disappear when the plan is finished. However it has already left a document that should work as guide for the future of the port-city relation, the “city-port charter”.

The other cases have not developed an specific waterfront agency, but in certain moment have established joint venture dedicated to specific projects, such as the Frente Tejo in Lisbon, focused in three major public projects and later extinguished.

3.2.3 Two tendencies

Waterfront projects have been studied by several authors since the pioneer interventions in Boston and Baltimore in the 1960’s. Ever since we have seen an evolution in the development models. In Europe we could until now find several generations of waterfront revitalization (Schubert, 2008 and 2011). The first one exemplified in London, the Canary wharf, contrasting later with what took place in Barcelona or Genoa where the public space and leisure had the dominant role. Later the focus changed to mixed- use and housing very often linked with a landmark cultural project, following the example of Bilbao.

In the studied port-cities we found two main sorts of waterfront revitalization plans. In the Nordic countries the concept has followed what we have already seen in other locations e.g. the Netherlands. The relocation of the port industrial harbor created the opportunity of a waterfront project. In Oslo the new port terminal in Sydhavna has been developed with the revenues from the Oslo Havn KF, which also benefited from the real estate operations . In Helsinki on the other hand the decision of moving the industrial port to Vuosaari released a considerable space for new districts in the city.

While in Oslo the free market law prevails, therefore high standard housing for high income class, in Helsinki the role of the municipality as landowner allows a greater social mix in the new city districts in the waterfront. The composition of both social structures might provide in the future different perceptions of the public space and the urban environment by the water.

The second type of waterfront intervention is the one that acts in the active port territory, as we see in Rotterdam and Genoa. In these cities the plans are not limited to port brownfields, but propose the reconfiguration of the active port, considering at the same time the urban needs and the harbor related activities. In this cases the interface between both realities changes and technical needs from the port are used to improve the synergies with the city. When comparing both we could say that Rotterdam takes the concept further since the transformation is not physical but also social and economical. The RDM campus is one positive example of interaction between city and port in the educational sector, in the boundary between both territories (Aarts et al, 2012). This sort of plans could be considered a new generation of waterfront regeneration projects since they offer a new approach to the port-city reality. The Euroméditerranée plan in Marseille has elements from both, since this operation has not altered significantly the configuration of the port territory and only in a small section the PA has released area by the water. The main innovation was the coexistence of port and urban activities, as we have seen in several projects.

Picture7
Plan of the Euroméditerranée project. In the lower section we see the part handled by the PA to the city for the development of the Mucem and Villa Méditerranée. The PA also agreed in shrinking their urban border in order to allow the creation of the Boulevard du Littoral. Source: Euroméditerranée presentation

The waterfront interventions have clear development stages (Schubert, 2008). Starting with the abandonment of the area and relocation of port infrastructure, to the emergence of a port brownfield, later proceeding to the implementation of plans and its revitalization. In the last decade we have already seen that the process was starting to change, since the real estate development were proving to be economically very convenient. The pressure to the port to move it mains infrastructure to another location was not only due to the technical and logistic needs for more space, but also from the different urban stakeholders. We might have achieved a new stage, the waterfront intervention no longer happen after the port released the area, but rather take place in the active port. At the same time also the model of intervention has changed in these cases. If previously the main goal was to develop green public spaces, cultural venues or mixed-use and housing developments, what could be named the “beauty waterfront”,  now it seems we have an alternative “productive waterfront” model, where the industries are considered important for the city and the effort has to be made for the compatibility and coexistence between the port and the city. This evolution in the waterfront projects and the dangers of the previous model, more focused in housing and leisure programs, were already detected by other authors, e.g. Chrarlier (1992), who named it “the dockland syndrome”, Bruttomesso (2009) and Ducruet (2013), who considered a mistake to remove all the port activities from the regenerated waterfront, denaturalizing it from its original function.

4. Emotional relation

During the study case visits and analysis we were able to observe a third dimension of the port-city relation, the interaction between the citizens and the port. Until very recently the PA’s in general terms had not considered the importance of the public image and the communication with the inhabitants of the city where they were placed. Several scholars have already studied the negative image of the port, e.g. Hooydonk (2007), but the responsible authorities did not considered it an issue for their governance until recently.

Regarding this topic one of the key concepts is the SLO (Social License to Operate). As explained by Dooms (2014), is, in its broader concept, fulfilling the expectations of stakeholder and local communities in dimensions that go beyond the creation of wealth, i.e. the social acceptance of port activities by local communities. This subjective dimensions are often difficult to measure. In port-cities the SLO is not achieved easily since, as we mentioned before, the cities that host the harbor have to deal with the majority of the negative consequences of the port activity. In order to grant this license, the ports have to look for values that go beyond the usual port arguments regarding their economic impact, jobs, tons of cargo, etc. The soft values of seaports have in this context a key role. They are defined by Hooydonk (2007) as “the non-socioeconomic values which include among others historical, sociological, artistic and cultural sub-functions that form the soft-function of seaports”. In the selected port-cities these soft-values were presented in several ways, from education to heritage to cultural or communication initiatives.

During our research we observed that the different actions taken in this field could be organized in four main categories: education, communication, heritage and social agenda. Besides these key issues, the matter of the port as an identity element was considered to be transversal to all subjects. The problem of the urban identity in port-cities has been studied by several scholars, e.g. Hooydonk (2009) Warsewa (2011). In the concerned port-cities we were able to see that not all of them that host a port consider themselves a port-city, or the port as a key element of their identity. We can mention Oslo or Lisbon for example, in which the citizens and the authorities acknowledge other features as more important for their identity. In the Norwegian case, as stated before, the fjord has a dominant role, the people are more related with the natural element than with the artificial port landscape. In the Portuguese capital the same happens with the Tagus river. Although is very clear how the port activity and development has affected the character and morphology of the city, the inhabitants are not able to relate with the port, sometimes even considering it an impediment to a more fluid relation with the river.

In the other cases the port is considered an important characteristic for the collective image of the city. When we observe the different cases is clear that this key infrastructure does not has the same weight in the identity of each city. The role the port plays in Rotterdam cannot be equal to the one in Helsinki. However we have detected that there might be a growing detachment towards the port. For this reason the need to improve the social relation is clear. In some cases the goal is to strength the role of the port, in others, to create a social relation with it. Therefore the four categories above mentioned have to work jointly to achieve the desired result.

4.1 Education

The relation with the educational institutions has been one of the fields where the PA have made the greater efforts for the social integration. In all the visited port-cities the PA had organized school visits to the port facilities for groups of children of different age. In another level the collaboration with the universities is also very frequent. In Marseille the PA participates in workshops with the architecture faculty. In Rotterdam the cooperation with educational institutions goes beyond visits or workshops. In the RDM campus the start-up companies focused in port activities give the students the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge. The education programs are also being use to deal with another issue, the fact that to younger generations the port is no longer seen as an attractive place to pursue a professional career.

Regarding the issue of understanding the port, an specific infrastructure can be found in some port cities, the port center. This space is focused in explaining the port to a broader audience, particularly children and teenagers, to allow the inhabitants to regain a sense of ownership of the port (Marini et al., 2014). Very often their exhibition and educational activities are complemented by boat tours where the students can see what they have learn before. In two study-cases, Rotterdam and Genoa, we could visit the port-center. Both cities have this kind of centers[10], although the one in Genoa has been closed since 2014. There is a Port-Center Network organized by the AIVP which coordinates the relation between the different institutions. In the future is expected to find more centers in the different ports. In some port-cities we could also find maritime museum that often have a section dedicated to explaining the port.

4.2 Communication

In the paper “Lipstick on a Gorilla” (Van Stiphout, 2007), we could read that the port is now a reality that must be explained. The communication has been another field in which we have assisted to important changes in recent years. The use of social media to explain the port and interact with the inhabitants has become a regular activity. Most PAs have a communication strategy but often does not reach the targeted audience. The port of Rotterdam has been active in many channels to spread the news about the port activities. They produce a free newspaper and have an online TV channel, an initiative we can also see in Hamburg[11]. Another useful strategy is the information signage, where the port and its history can be explained to the inhabitants. In Oslo the information strategy in the Fjord City project was particularly effective since it was linked to the waterfront promenade project. The possibility of joining a coherent urban vision with user friendly information boards proved to be useful. The port history is explained where the current waterfront regeneration projects are being built. The explanation of the transition could help to develop an emotional connection with the port heritage and improve the port identity role.

4.3 Heritage

The next category where we can find soft-values strategies is the heritage. In old port areas we can often find harbor machinery, cranes and warehouses. During the field trips we could see the different role this heritage has played in the port regeneration projects. In Oslo, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Genoa we could see the cranes working as sculptural elements in the public space. The use of warehouses and other buildings like silos is also frequent. In Marseille the Silo d’Arenc was refurbished into a cultural venue, keeping the port circulation underneath. In Genoa the congress center is the old cotton warehouses. In Rotterdam, in the Katendrecht district, we should see in the near future several projects in industrial buildings take place, which could allow a mixed use of the space. In the same city we can also find the historic harbor associated with the maritime museum. In this space, besides the cranes and boats we can also see the workshops where they are repaired, allowing a relative coherent atmosphere. The use of heritage to connect with the history of the port is one of the most effective and accepted strategies. In case the buildings or cranes are kept, is important that they are integrated in the new urban plans but with the right context, otherwise, they might be isolated elements losing their strength as a whole.

fenixlofts_stExt_deliplein_copyrightWAX1
Real Estate development in Katendrech. In the future the relation with the industrial heritage might be tighter than what it is today, passing the musealization and integrating it in every day uses (Source: http://www.fenixlofts.nl/)

4.4 Social agenda

Finally, the last type of strategy is the social events for the port integration. The open door days and port festival, like the ones in Rotterdam, Helsinki or Lisbon constitute the typical example of this sort of action. In most guides of good practice they are mentioned as an effective method of bringing people to the harbor and rising the interest of the general audience for the port issues. These sort of event might be characterized by a certain folklore and detachment from what really a port is nowadays. Nevertheless they do attract attention and must be complemented with the educational programs and infotainment from the port-centers and maritime museums. Besides these venues, the port also can be active in the other events, such as the city marathon, concerts or exhibitions, that put the focus in the port, or the port can work as background. This way, the harbor image is introduced in the life of the inhabitants, what could lead to a broader acceptance of its presence.

All the strategies aforementioned are correlated, the cultural venues are often associated with the port-centers which can be placed in port heritage buildings. The soft-values can be explained in different ways but their effects in the general mindset cannot be measured from one year to the other. The successful cases that use these strategies have been applying them for the long term results. However, it is important to have a realistic idea of the perception of the port by the citizens by performing studies, like the one from Lisbon in 2007[12], where the actual image of the port is evaluated. The effects of these policies could lead to higher acceptance of the port.

In this article we have not focused in the environmental policies followed by the different PAs, although is clear they are the first priority regarding the coexistence with the city and CSR. This is a broader subject to be dealt in another article, but we can notice how important they have become in the different ports we visited. The control of the different pollutants using sophisticated sensor system is an usual practice in the European ports. At the same time there is a constant dialogue with the responsible authorities for an effective control of the nuisances and the companies operating in the port. In another dimension we can also see how the new terminal or port expansion projects have environmental concerns regarding the fauna and flora. In the Maasvlakte 2, in Rotterdam, the creation of the breakwater reused material from the original Maasvlakte. The new port territory in Vuosaari is placed in a Natura 2000 reserve, therefore the nuisance had to be reduced to the minimum. For this reason the sound barrier in the east border is a wall made with concrete blocks that allows the integration of vegetation to reduce the impact of the port.

5. General Conclusion

After analyzing the different study cases one of the original assumptions proved to be correct, it is not possible to achieve a real physical port city integration, only a sustainable coexistence (Bruttomesso, 2011). The current technical requirements and security limitations will constantly hinder the full integration that belongs to the early phases of Hoyle’s model. In this case the description of Hoyle’s 6th phase might be correct, since we did found new links between the port and the city, and in the future they might even be reinforced due to the economic development associated with port industries and port-clusters.

In the selected port-cities we found common problems to all of them, e.g. environmental issues, traffic associated to port activity or the barrier effect. However, the physical, political, emotional and institutional context plays a key role in all the cases, requiring specific solutions for the mentioned general problems. We also found that the abstract models proposed by several authors and the rankings do not fully express the reality of the port or the complexity of the port-cities.

The two existing schemes regarding the national governance, centralized and decentralized, can affect the relation between the port and the city, particularly in the institutional level. These differences can later be seen in the effort the PA is able to do in order to improve the interaction with the city. The allocation of resources controlled by a central authority might difficult the investment in the disclosure of the soft-values of seaport, what could in the long term increase the positive synergies with the inhabitants.

In the waterfront we have seen how the intervention model has evolved, although in the selected study cases the plans developed in the 1990’s and 2000’s are currently under development. The new strategies are focused in intervening in the active port, in some cases generating new types of interaction between both realities. The need of a port-city combined strategy affects both the physical and economical development. One technical improvement might cause an spatial redistribution, which  could imply a new access to the water or new associated industries. This change, that in this article we took the freedom to name “from beauty waterfront to productive waterfront”, might introduce a more balance relation and better acceptance of the port presence. At the same time this sort of plans could help to maintain the port identity, providing a certain variability to the necessary coherent vision for the waterfront.

Finally, during the analysis of the study cases, it was clear that the role of the PA has to go beyond the management of the port territory and activities. The port has to assume its role as constituent element of the urban structure and collective image. The disclosure of the soft-values of seaports by the PAs should help the port to achieve greater acceptance by the citizens. If we consider that very often the PAs are politicized institutions it seems reasonable that an investment is made for the improvement of its public image and obtaining the SLTO. We have seen that the full physical integration between port and cities will not be possible, but the social integration of the seaports should be considered an important goal to be achieved by the PAs.

[1] According to the AAPA (American Association of Port Authorities) at a Landlord port the PA is responsible for the basic infrastructure which later leases to private operators for the different port activities.

[2] Law n2008-660 4th of July 2008

[3] Law DL 100/2008 of June 16 2008.

[4] The term communauté de communes refers in French to a federation of municipalities. In this case the three communauté in question gather 27 communes. On January 1st of 2016 a new administrative body, the Métropole d’Aix-Marseille – Provence, was created which gathers the aforementioned municipalities and Aix-en-Provence. This new institution should easy the territorial management and the relation of the municipalities with the port.

[5] Source https://www.publico.pt/economia/noticia/governo-pede-avaliacoes-ambientais-para-avancar-com-novo-porto-no-barreiro-1670498

[6] Source: Port of Helsinki, http://www.portofhelsinki.fi/port_of_helsinki/port_statistics

[7] Ro-Ro is, as defined by the AAPA, Short for roll on/roll/off type of cargo. This sort of cargo is not lifted inside the ship with cranes, but rolls on and off it, since it goes in cars, trailers or other type of vehicles.

[8] Source: Official project document and website: http://www.comune.genova.it/content/il-blueprint-10-punti

[9] Another case where the importance of the contracts situation can be seen is Hamburg. For the 2024 Olympic proposal, that finally was rejected by the citizens in a referendum, one of the bigger challenges was the figure of the compensation for the companies operating in the Kleinen Grasbrook, port territory, where the Olympic village was supposed to be built.

[10] The port of Rotterdam has two Port-Centers: the EIC, placed in a central location in the port territory with the scope of general explaining the harbor and the port activities, and the Futureland center, in the Maasvlakte 2, focused in explaining the port expansion project.

[11] Both PAs have channels in the online platform YouTube

[12] Sustainability report from the year 2007, available in: http://www.portodelisboa.pt/portal/page/portal/PORTAL_PORTO_LISBOA/AUTORIDADE_PORTUARIA/RELATORIOS_PUBLICACOES

Conference Presentation

 

AESOP YA – Jose Sanchez – final2

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Guides of Good Practice:

SUDEST-Sustainable development of Sea Towns (2007)

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Waterfront Communities Project -The Cool Sea Toolkit (2010)

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