The Journey

Thanks to the Übersee-Club I will be able to make a trip around Europe visiting the different port-cities that constitute my study cases. These cities are: Hamburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Rotterdam, Marseille, Genoa and Lisbon. The journey itself will start with on week in Portuguese capital, and then two weeks in each other city, except from Hamburg, since it is in Germany it could not be included in the official itinerary for the international trip.

The main goal of this travel is to be able to analyse the local realities and the relation between the city and the port in the different contexts. The selected study cases represent an heterogeneous sample of port cities, they have different size and play different roles as ports and cities in the national and international stages. In some of these cities the industrial port still is a significant part of the urban tissue, as in Genoa or Hamburg, and in others the main cargo activities have been placed outside the city like in Helsinki or Oslo, where mainly sport, leisure and passenger port uses are still located in the city center, and most of the former port areas have been regenerated giving birth to significant urban waterfront regeneration projects.

During my visits to the different cities I will not only observe the reality of the place, but also get in contact with the different stakeholders involved in the process, mainly the Port Authorities and the Municipalities. As in any relationship it is crucial to communicated and to listen to both sides of the coin in order to get a real picture of what is happening. When the journey comes to an end in December, I hope I was able to identify the main elements that allowed these cities to improve the relation with the port.

The time is limited and the scope challenging. All the progress that I am able to do, all the interviews and personal opinions will be published in this blog. As I said before, this page will be the on board diary of this adventure!

Cities to visit


About the blog

I see this blog as a tool for my research, a sort of on board diary that will help me to keep track of the development of the investigation. At the same time since I started my PhD I have always wanted to organize my research. I intended to create a place where I could place all the resources, websites and books that I have consulted so it would be easier for me and for others that are interested in the same field to see them.

The port-cities tour will be an important part of the investigation, so the blog will also be used to show the activities that I have been up to. In it I will write about the inputs that I am getting from the visits, the cities, interviews and other sources.

The main subject will obviously be the relation between the port and the city (as the title already indicates) but since I am also interested in other fields, as Architecture, Design, Urban Planning, among others, I will eventually also post about them.

In the “Interesting Links” menu I will put the pages that I consider can be helpful for somebody researching port-cities or urban development in general.

I will try to keep a regular posting calendar, and active twitter account in order to facilitate the possible following of my activities.

I hope this blog proves to be valuable not just for me but also for other colleagues that might share interests in the same fields.


Allow me introduce myself. My name is José Manuel Pagés Sánchez, as said in the description on the side bar I am an Architect and PhD Student. Currently I am living in Frankfurt, Germany, and doing my research in the Hafencity University in Hamburg, supervised by Prof. Schubert.

The title of my investigation is “CITY AND PORT? CITY OR PORT? The coexistence between City and Port, the Lisbon Case.” It might sound a little bit reiterative, but it expresses a reality present in many port cities around the globe, the conflict between both entities and how very often, for different reasons, the port is “pushed” outside the city. The main goal would be to find coexistence strategies that can be applied to different cases, and to see how they could be adapted to one particular city, Lisbon, my hometown and an interesting case to observe the aforementioned conflict.

The research project is currently entering its second year, and is expected to continue for another 2/3 years. During my first year as a PhD Candidate I was able to keep on working as an architect and at the same time do my investigation, including congresses, field trips and bibliographical research. For this next year I was lucky enough to be awarded with two scholarships that will allow me to be 100% focus on my research. For this reason I would like to thank the Cusanuswerk Studienstiftung and the Übersee-Club.

Personally I face this new stage in my life as both an adventure and an investment. To be totally focused in studying a complex subject as this one mean entering new territories in order to produce new knowledge. It is also an adventure because I will make a trip around Europe visiting the different study cases. This travel will last for three months and I will explain better in my next post. The reason why I think is also an investment is because it implies a risk, the use of a resource and an opportunity cost. The risk is that the investigation does not come to a good end or that the produced knowledge is not useful, also is a personal risk and opportunity cost since as a young architect the time I will use in this in the research is time I will not be gaining important work experience in my profession. The main resource used here will be time, that is in my personal opinion one of the most valuable assets that we have, and we cannot buy, no matter how much money we have. Is our choice what to do with it, and to use this resource.

The main ambition and what makes the whole project worth it is the opportunity of creating new strategies that could help to improve the urban habitat. On a personal level I also believe that there are not many other things that could produce a greater feeling than mastering a subject or being an specialist in some field. I hope one day I could be on expert in the field I am studying.

On the following posts I will explain the goals for this blog and the Journey that I will start on September 1st.