Evolution of the port-city relationship between 1974 and early 2000s

Evolution of the port-city relationship between 1974 and early 2000s

During the last couple of months it was difficult to find time to craft an article worth posting. Finally the third piece explaining the evolution of the port-city relation in Lisbon is here.

Socio-political context

Portugal was in a complex political situation after the end of the dictatorship in 1974. The carnations revolution brought democracy to the country, a period also known as the 3rd republic, but the socio-political situation was yet unclear. Until the political climate settled the major economic decisions remained unaltered.

During the early 1980s the country was still in a unstable socio-economic situation. For this reason it was forced to ask for a loan from the IMF, who intervened twice in these years, in 1978 and 1983. Portugal joined the EEC (European Economic Community) in 1986, along with other south-European countries like Spain and Greece. The arrival of European funding allowed important investments, particularly in infrastructure.

Port evolution during the 1970s and 1980s

The changes taking place on a global scale in the maritime sector also affected the port and industrial development in Lisbon. The introduction of new technologies, i.e. the container, changed many port dynamics and the space the port required. During these decades, 1970s and 1980s, the port saw the creation of new container terminals adapted to the new cargo. The two main examples were the terminal of Sta. Apolónia and the one in Alcântara. Sta Apolónia terminal opened in 1970, it was the first infrastructure dedicated to containers in the Iberian peninsula. The facility in Alcântara was inaugurated in 1985. According to Nabais & Ramos (1987), this terminal was severely deteriorated in the 1960. The AGPL (Administração Geral do Porto de Lisboa) decided to invest on it and prepared for containers.

Terminal Sta Apolonia - Sotagus
Sta. Apolonia Container Terminal today. Since the original project the infrastructure has been updated and expanded. Retrieved from http://www.sotagus.pt
Terminal Alcantara - portosdeportugal-pt
Alcântara Container terminal today. Retrieved from http://www.portosdeportugal.pt

During these decades other port facilities were created. Particularly relevant were the new silos for bulk cargo, linked with several industries, such as concrete manufacturers, agri-food companies, mainly dedicated to cereal derivatives or liquid bulk. The new infrastructure caused an important visual impact in the estuary, but increased the throughput of this type of cargo. This investment helped the port of Lisbon to become the leading port in cereal bulk cargo in the Iberian context[1].

At the same time these investments were taking place the maritime business was changing, causing transformations in the port-city relation, world-wide and obviously also in Lisbon. The port and industrial activities of large conglomerates diminished drastically. These industrial settlements, located on the eastern section of the city and the south side of the Tagus[2], developed during previous decades, originated large urban voids and brownfields. As in other port-cities there was a process of socio-economical decay in the urban areas linked with port and industrial activities. (Figueira de Sousa and Fernandes, 2012)

The social perception of the river and the port management model also changed during these years. People demanded an access to the Tagus, and the Port Authority (hereafter PA), like many other worldwide, changed to a landlord port functioning scheme after 1995 (Cabral, 2001). Later, in 1998, also following international port governance trends, the PA became a public owned company, (Administração do Porto de Lisboa – APL S.A)[3]. The economic and technological changes along with the increasing social pressure to get a free river accessibility, motivated a compendium of planning initiatives, led by different stakeholders, that changed the port-city-river relationship.

The most relevant issues for the current investigation is the evolution of the initiatives concerned with the use of the waterfront, and the development of new infrastructure testing the port-city relationship. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the attention towards the use of the waterfront for public areas and facilities started to rise. We will see how the situation changed drastically when compared with the previous decades. Four key processes took place almost simultaneously, we will briefly comment them and see what role did the PA played. The consequences caused by these planning initiatives marked the PA scope for the following decades, pointing out an institutional rigidity process.

Many planning initiatives with different results

During the second half of the 20th century, particularly since the 1980s, several private projects were developed along the railway barrier, on the city side. These new constructions gradually changed the programs of these buildings, from industrial to office and housing, although they were not part of any general plan nor considered the connection with the river a relevant goal. The new buildings were simply answering to market needs and city development, gradually increasing the urban pressure over the port (Costa, 2006). Simultaneously, there was a growing interest on the historical value of certain heritage buildings near the river, related with former port activities. This attention can be seen in the refurbishment project of “Casa dos Bicos” (op.cit. 2006).

Changes in the maritime sector and in the industrial tissue had left abandoned areas on the waterfront, affecting the general image. These spaces were seen as an opportunity. National and municipal (hereafter CML) governments, and port authorities, were interested in the waterfront regeneration. During this period we will see several parallel plans taking place at the same time, with different leading figures. For the scope of this research we will only focus on the ones directly affecting the waterfront, requiring negotiation with the PA.

The first relevant moment was the 1988 competition, organized by the Architectural Association and supported by different public bodies, including the PA. Besides this event, in this chapter we will mainly discuss the plans of the EXPO 1998, the POZOR and the 1990s municipal strategic and City development plans – PDM (Plano Director Municipal).

One of the most interesting characteristic of this period is the evolution of the port’s role, both internally and in relation with the society. Several authors have highlighted how, inspired by the international waterfront regeneration trends and to find financing for new port infrastructure, the PA deviated from its original focus to be more concerned with urban planning issues (Matias Ferreira, 1997, 1999; Ressano Garcia, 2006; Costa, 2006; Rego Cabral, 2001). This attitude change earned the port strong criticism from different sectors of society, claiming that it was going beyond its realm and accusing it from privatizing public territory, since the PA was only authorized to rent or lease port land, not to sell it for tertiary redevelopment projects (Ressano Garcia, Op. Cit)

First waterfront redevelopment initiatives – “Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” competition – 1988

Most scholars agree that the definitive moment for the new approach towards the waterfront and the river-city relationship occurred in 1988, when the competition “Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” (Lisbon, the city and the river) took place[4]. This event organized by the Architectural Association (AA) and supported by the PA, had the goal of providing ideas for the riverfront, admitting the presence of the port, and mostly to raise a debate about the connection between the city and the river.

"Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio" Competition catalog, 1988.
“Lisboa, a Cidade e o Rio” Competition catalog, 1988.

The Tagus has always been considered the key identity element for Lisbon. It has been the inspiration for artists from different times, and welcomed kings from foreign countries. It was one of the key reasons for the original settlement by the Phoenicians, and provided transport, protection, work and food. The main public space of the city, the Praça do Comércio, opens up to the water and in the social psyche there is a certain false nostalgia for the free access to the river, something that never really happened, at least the way most residents picture it (Morgado, 2005)[5]. During the 20th century the separation between the city and the river increased, due to the presence of industrial activities that, as we have seen in previous chapters, blocked the visual connection or turned the riverfront into an inhospitable space. The new port landfills progressively changed the “face” of Lisbon creating a new artificial territory, increasing the distance between both.

Gradually, during the second half of the 20th century, the water, rivers and seas, gained a new role in the city´s urban structure, a phenomenon taking place worldwide. There was a new perception, and therefore economic use of water, as an identity and landscape element that could increase the property´s value (Ward, 2011). New waterfront projects were often created around the contact with the water, seen it as strong development concept, and possibly as an asset to increase the profitability of the real estate operation. The examples known at the time often included new leisure facilities, office building or housing. Several projects in the USA and Europe showed a new image for “water cities”, based on what is often considered the urban post-fordist society (Olivier & Slack, 2006; Schubert, 2011). The new international waterfront image, the partial decadence of some port areas, an intense cultural program and the interest of several stakeholders, such as the PA and the AA, raises the awareness of local residents and created an interesting debate about this issue.

In the introduction of the competition´s publication (Brandão, 1988) the innovative character of the competition is clear. In this text there are several relevant statements. The author points out, as one of 6 key premises, the port activity as inseparable from the city, in a certain way appealing to the necessary coexistence between both realities.

“A actividade portuária é cidade – elemento indissociável da centralidade que a cidade oferece, pode rentabilizar a cidade com a sua própria vitalidade.”

Brandão (3: 1988)

Further on he also describes the riverfront as both 15 km of conflict and a key element of the urban and metropolitan structure for the connection with hinterland, Europe and the Iberian peninsula. In the same text Brandão also highlights the variety of layers existing in this port-city interface, including cultural and heritage elements, relevant economic activities and important landscape features.

In the competition 23 proposals were presented. The final statement of the jury indicates that none of the competitors was fully aware of the technical aspect necessary to include the port activity in their proposals. Therefore, the majority of the projects worked in idealized scenarios in which the port activities were either not considered or oversimplified. Only one proposal, from Arch. Manuel Bastos, was considered to have potential influence in the future planning of port activities. Another important entry was the one presented by Gravata Filipe. His project was focused on  Cais do Sodré, and was later further developed to include commercial areas and housing in this area. In this work, mostly in the later development, the influence of American and British waterfront projects was clear. Several companies and the PA were later interested in the further development of the project, but never became a reality.

 

Figure 1 Bird's eye perspective of the winning entry.
Bird’s eye perspective of the winning entry.

 

primeiro premio 1988 planta
Winning entry floorplan. Team led by Arch. Carlos Marques. Retrieved from the competition catalog “Lisboa, a cidade e o rio”

The competition played an important role, raising considerable media attention. It set the foundation over which the debate about the riverfront and the port would be built. Some ideas were later retaken or included in other plans, however the main issue of the port-city coexistence was not addressed. Although this competition was sponsored by the PA, the CML was also very present. Later both organizations would develop separate visions over the same problem, deepening the conflict. One particular plan that we will later see, the POZOR, damaged PA´s public image, and by association of port activities.

To conclude this section, when we observe the project areas, the issues they tried to solve and the images of the sites, we see that not much changed during the following years, although there was a strong debate. The first important intervention would start in the early 1990s, being inaugurated in 1998, the World Expo, in the eastern section of the city. Some priority areas, as stated in the competition catalogue, were gradually improved, although, some of them, only today are being completely developed, after years of discussion and frustrated attempts.

First major plans – 1990s

The idea competition brought a new vision of what could take place in Lisbon´s waterfront. The following years we would see different initiatives taking place, sponsored by different public bodies. The national government, responsible for the PA, developed different projects and plans with an international reach, and massive public investment. The waterfront was rediscovered by the municipality, and mostly by the people. There are several examples of the transformation process taking place at the time.

Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB)

In 1987 the plan for the regeneration of Belém, by Prof. Costa Lobo, was focused on the area where the 1940 Expo took place. This section of the city had several urban voids from the exhibition and required a general plan for its regeneration. In this plan was included the CCB project.

In the same plan for Belém, the burial of railway lines was suggested. This issue would be discussed several times during the following decades in the different planning initiatives that affected the waterfront.

After Portugal was accepted in the EEC, it was in charge of hosting the commission presidency in 1992. This event was used as motivation to promote the creation of new large public building, with a cultural scope. The location for this new facility was in Belém, in a sensible place, next to the Jerónimos monastery and the railway line. The competition for the new facility took place in 1988, for a site of 5 Ha. Several well-known archistars competed to develop the project, in total 53 proposals were presented, being the final winner the team formed by Gregotti and Risco Ateliê (the office led by Manuel Salgado, current urban development responsible in the municipality).

The design included five sections connected with an interior street that would link the Praça do Império to Belém Tower. The project´s geometry and the sensible location raised considerable discussion and controversy, particularly among certain sectors of society, that considered the new building an aggression to the monastery, a protected monument (França, 1997).

CCB - Atelie risco
Aerial view of the CCB. Project by Gregotti and Ateliê Risco. Retrieved from: http://www.risco.org

This case, although built in municipal land, not port land, was one of the first major intervention on the waterfront, implementing cultural programs and trying to develop a connection with the river through its elevated public space (Pagés Sanchez, 2011). The controversy already indicated how delicate the riverfront is for the local society and how any intervention would be closely examined.

From the five elements that composed the project, two remained unbuilt, including a congress centre and hotel. The proposal´s completion has remained in municipal masterplans and detail and sector plans. No specific deadlines have been set, and other cultural projects on the waterfront have been developed in the meantime.

EXPO 98

Portugal was, at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, a country aching to achieve international recognition and establish a fast development process to match its European partners. The country needed to show a new image to distance itself from the dictatorship times, and overcome the existing challenges. Spain, the Iberian neighbour, had successfully applied to host international events that would raise the international profile of two major cities, namely Barcelona with the 1992 Olympics, and Seville with the 1992 Expo.

Hosting international events would also bring funding and generate an opportunity to implement new key infrastructures in Lisbon, allowing it to compete with other cities. The investment required would be justified in terms of image, marketing, tourism generated income, and positive externalities. For the city it was also an opportunity to impulse a transformative process that otherwise would take longer time and face greater difficulties. Although the main driver was the central government, local government appreciated the investment brought by the international exhibition. At the same time, the scale of the intervention would go beyond Lisbon, affecting the entire metropolitan area, the region or even the country.

During the drafting of application, an internal debate took place to decide the best location for the Expo. After much discussion, three options were finally brought to the table by the project committee[6]. The first included a poly-nucleus concept, with several locations spread over the metropolitan area, a second option was the western part of the city, on the boundary between Lisbon and Oeiras. The third option was the eastern section where several declining industries existed. The first option was immediately discarded since it presented several difficulties that could make the event unmanageable. For the final discussion remained two possibilities, both on the waterfront, affecting port territory.

Lisbon has historically suffered an unbalanced urban development, particularly visible in the east-west dichotomy. The western section had an organic development, including the presence of historical monuments that potentiated the identity of this part of the city. In previous chapter we have seen how during the 20th century this section of the city was the first place to undergo an urban waterfront redevelopment plan, increasing its cultural and social profile, with museums and representative buildings. In contrast, the eastern section of the city hosted large industrial settlements and the port expansion for new cargo, such as containers. In the long term, particularly when the industrial activities started to decay, the eastern section became a depressed area, suffering socio-economic problems, poverty among the local residents and chaotic urban development, including slums, large social housing projects and gradually industrial brownfills. In this area we could also find companies from the petrochemical sector, whose activities were no longer considered suitable for the urban environment, presenting diverse hazards (Matias Ferreira, 1999).

The final decision, reached in 1991, was to develop the Expo in the eastern section of the city, on the boundary with Loures, in port territory, that hosted different companies from aforementioned petrochemical sector. The reasoning behind the decision was that it was an opportunity to balance the urban development and impulse a regeneration process in this section, implementing a new centrality that would attract private investment between the city´s downtown and the new development. Also relevant was the presence of logistic infrastructure, close to the airport, railway lines connecting the city with the rest of the country and Spain, and the possibility of integrating a new connection with the south side of the river.

Expo site
Expo site before the construction started. We can see several industries, including an important petrochemical area that was later transferred to Sines. Retrieved from http://www.skycrapercity.com

The case of the Expo 98 in Lisbon can be observed from very different perspectives. It has been broadly used as an outstanding example of urban intervention, that brought quality public spaces to the city, new leisure and cultural facilities, unique in the region or even in the country, and a successful real estate scheme, with considerable private investment after the event (Guimarães, 2006). The fast reconversion of the exhibition area into a new element of the urban structure was also considered exemplary, avoiding abandonment situation like it happened in Seville six years earlier. Officials from the municipality and the central government have also, frequently, used the expo to show the Portuguese capacity when competing to host international events, such as the Euro cup in 2004, or international summits, such as the EU meetings. However, the plan and development of this section of the city also had its flaws and negative aspects, or at least less positive issues, that could have been handled differently. In this investigation we will focus on the general urban regeneration process, the effects on the port territory and the role of the PA.

In 1992 Lisbon beat Toronto in the final vote of the BIE (Bureau International de Exhibition). The inauguration date was set for May 1998, implying a fast development process. Given the tight deadlines the government decided to create a new agency, named Parque Expo[7], that would operate outside the usual urban legislation, and benefited from special capabilities. The area where the exhibition and associated real estate operation would take place was removed from the PDM being drafted at the time. The new public company had total authority for the redevelopment of the area, including building permits. The financial capacity introduced two speeds in Lisbon´s development (Costa, 2006), enabling an unprecedented urban transformation rhythm. [8]

Aerial view of the Parque das Nações - Post-Expo98.
Aerial view of the Parque das Nações – Post-Expo98. In this image the real estate operation was not concluded yet. Retrieved from: http://www.tsf.pt

The government set three main goals (Matias Ferreira, 1997): (i) to reconnect the city with the river, (ii) to impulse the regeneration of this area, and (iii) to develop the plan with no cost for the state, being financed through the real estate scheme for the aftermath, associated to the operation. The first goal was also included in the municipal plans. In this area the Olivais dock, the former maritime airport, was considered a great opportunity to establish a new connection with the river.

The regeneration of the area was complemented with the Plano de Urbanização da Zona Envolvente da Expo 98 (Plan for the surrounding area of the 1998 Expo). This part of the city was already a priority in the new PDM. The social issues present in these neighbourhoods, the lack of public facilities and unbalanced urban developed between east and west was seen as a major problem. Municipal plans considered the regeneration should be based in the “gate” character of this area, that included connections with major transportation chains, such as railway, port and airport. At the same time the redevelopment of the depleted industries was considered, including its consolidation and the construction of new facilities linked with education and investigation. When the expo location was decided, the PDM was modified, and the 350 Ha for the operation given to the new public company. Different authors mention how the original intention was to avoid the “island” effect, that eventually did happen. The connection with the surrounding did not happen as fluently as expected, particularly in the social sense, the contrast between the poor areas and the new modern neighbourhood was, and still is, clear[9]. The pressure to complete the project on schedule has been often used to justify the lack of public consultation that in other conditions would have taken place. At the same time, to achieve the goal of minimal state investment[10], the real estate scheme favoured luxury housing and higher densities introducing a strong gentrification process.

PA role

The site for the expo included a considerable section of port territory. In the law DL 207/93 14th of June the decommission of the land was made official, being the Parque Expo responsible for the compensation to the APL (Matias Ferreira, 1997). When the exhibition was concluded the PA demanded a considerable indemnification for losses, mostly caused by the contract breach with the concessionaries. This operation it is subject of controversies since the compensation from Parque Expo to the APL was never paid, the APL had to carry with the losses. Also, as Castro and Lucas (1997) point out, the port land release took place in a particularly sensitive moment, when the tension between the APL and the municipality was increasing. Being the Parque Expo a government company, not a municipal one, certainly eased the path. However, as the same authors explain, the losses caused by the aforementioned transfer were accounted in 1994 in 65 mill €[11].

During the application and planning process the role of the PA was rather passive. If the PA would have been owned by the CML there could have been considerable differences. In Portugal the port management model follows what it is known as the Latin tradition, the central government controls all PAs in the country. In the central  government agenda, to do an international event in port territory was more important than the port plans or even the compensation payment, that in case it had been paid, could have compromised the operation. In this particular case the centralized port management scheme diminished the possible confrontation. The agreement regarding the port land was made between two government companies.

Comparison with other plans

Particularly interesting is the fact that at the same time the expo process was taking place, the PA was drafting its own waterfront real estate operation, the POZOR (Plano de Ordenamento da Zona Ribeirinha). This plan, that we will later describe in further detail, included the reconversion of a central waterfront section into housing and office buildings. There were several key differences: (i) the location was considerably more sensitive, since it affected a consolidated area of the city, contrasting with the eastern section where the expo was going to take place. Another key difference (ii) was the lack of central government support, being an initiative mostly defended by the PA, with the opposition of the local government and civil society. Another issue (iii) was that, while the expo real estate operation, was developed by a new public company created for the occasion, the PA collaborated with a private corporation, also developing itself the urban plan, a task beyond what was by many accepted as its realm.

Comparing both cases we see that there can be substantial differences when developing a waterfront plan, pending on the national port system and who are the operation´s main drivers. In this case, as it is said in the official documents (Mega Ferreira et al., 1999), the national ownership of the port authority was considered an advantage, avoiding possible conflicts[12]. In the POZOR, the situation was exactly the opposite, social confrontation was present since the beginning. There was no clear political back up to the project and the confrontation eventually stopped the plan.

POZOR and Port Plans

The riverfront competition supported by the PA brought considerable media and social attention to the relation between the port, the city and the river. In the international context, more cities were implementing waterfront development plans. In two American cities, Baltimore and Boston, the first major plans took place. During the 1980s several port-cities in Europe redeveloped their urban waterfront, including the famous case of London, with a liberal approach, and others that followed a concept more focused on public spaces, housing or new leisure areas (Schubert, 2011). As it happened with every planning tendency, it expanded, reaching Portugal and inspiring the PA to act in a certain manner.

The gradual decrease in port activities during the 1970s and 1980s, forced the PA to reassess its role and evaluate the port  territory, identifying where were the active port facilities, and what land could be destined to other uses (Figueira de Sousa and Fernandes, 2012). During early 1990s, the PA saw its role and influence diminished by the ambitions of the central government to do the 1998 Expo. For the PA losing control over the Expo territory meant releasing almost 20% of its land and seen how the petrochemical cargo handling was transferred to Sines, both issues were a significant for the APL. At this point the PA decided to elaborate an strategic plan to answer the contextual changes.

In this investigation we will focus on the process and reactions the plan caused, just as we have done with previous documents. There are other investigations developed by well known scholars that enter into further detail, and that have been broadly referenced in this paper.

Pre-POZOR

Before the POZOR the PA already realized it was necessary to change its attitude towards the city. The growing pressure and the option of gaining certain revenues from the waterfront regeneration became a strong motivation. After the competition that took place in 1988, one of the proposals received considerable attention. The project presented by Gravata Filipe included the redevelopment of waterfront between Cais do Sodré and Praça do Comércio. His project offered a new commercial vision for this area, including a shopping centre. (Ressano Garcia, 2006).

Gravata Filipe partnered with British architect David Colley to further develop the project into a more concrete plan. The project affected 2,5 km of the riverfront, stretching from Santos to Sta. Apolónia, the historical central section, including land from the PA, the municipality and the central state. With a strong commercial approach, influenced by the British examples, the plan included several key ideas that later would be again discussed and some implemented. The most relevant ones were the vertical transport node and the road tunnel to solve the barrier effect in this section. The first one was later developed, including the connection between trains and ferries  with the subway, while the second, although often discussed, was never built (Costa, 2006).

This proposal marked the beginning of a new approach towards the waterfront and its commercial value. The PA saw an opportunity to satisfy the public demand of greater access to the water, avoid possible social conflict and profit from the land, that later could be reinvested in the development of a new container terminal on the south side of the Tagus. One of the most relevant aspects of this proposal was bringing together different actors to negotiate about a concrete plan. As Costa (op. Cit.) mentions, the sensitive location also caused considerable debate, somehow giving a continuation to what had taken place some years earlier. During the second half of the 1990s the argument about this particular section would continue, even seen the creation of an ad-hoc company for its redevelopment, including the tunnel. As said before the tunnel would not be built, the transport node would be developed years after, and finally the public space would be designed twice.

Strategic Plan 1992

Simultaneously to the Project for Cais do Sodré, the PA had taken a pro-active role and decided to do the first strategic plan to establish a development course for the port. Following the public debate and the evolution seen in the international context, it seemed inevitable to potentiate port development on the south side of the river and consider the waterfront regeneration on the north.

In the port strategic plan, developed between 1990 and 1992, the pro-active approach implied the construction of a new container terminal on the south side, in Trafaria, and further waterfront regeneration on the north side. According to Costa (2006), the main issue was not the construction of new terminals, but the way it was proposed, linking Trafaria with Bugio Fort, an island in the middle of the river’s mouth. The environmental impact of this project, and the opposing local government of Almada, presented the first controversy. The strategic plan later evolved into a more concrete plan, the POZOR, published in 1994. This new document would create unprecedented  tensions in the port-city-citizens relationship.

POZOR 1

The POZOR was presented to the public in June 1994, proposing to restructure the complete waterfront, from Algés until to the Expo, giving 12 km of riverfront to the city. The commercial approach was clear, following in some areas a similar scheme to the one introduced by Gravata Filipe.

One of the characteristics of the plan was the dense construction for certain areas, influenced by the British model. It organized the waterfront in six different sections, each one treated differently; at the same time catalogued the existing buildings, either to be kept, refurbished or demolished. The new buildings would totalize 450 000 m2 between Sto. Amaro and Alcântara, and 160 000 m2 in Rocha Conde d’Óbidos – Santos. Included in the plan was the construction of a new shopping mall with 82 000 m2 in Cais do Sodré, by Multi Development Corporation International (MCDI) (Ressano Garcia: 71, 2007).

POZOR PLAN
General Plan of the Intervention Units and the programs. Retrieved from http://www.fat.pt

Social contestation

The public discussion process  was particularly interesting. The project was presented with a public exhibition including a large model and plans, an innovative approach, particularly coming from an organization such as the PA. There were several debate sessions for public participation, taking place in a representative placement like the Alcântara cruise terminal.

Since the plan became public it faced fierce opposition, not just from the civil society or NIMBY[13] movements, but also from reputed specialists from architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning. Social figures from the media and popular intellectuals supported the opposition movement, reaching large press coverage, taking the conflict to a previously unseen polemic. Also in the political sphere the POZOR did not counted with much support. The mayor at the time, Jorge Sampaio, rejected the proposal of the PA, claiming that the port land recovered for urban uses should be planned for the city’s general good (Costa, 2006). This author explains how the discussion reached the national political debate, being even argued whether the planning capabilities of the port ought to be limited[14].

POZOR newspaper clip
Newspaper clip from 1994 describing the debate around the POZOR Pland and the different positions. Jornal de Noticias, October 11th 1994, Retrieved from the Architectural Chamber Library.

POZOR in the newspapers

POZOR 2

The massive social contestation forced the PA to retract itself immediately and offer an alternative. In 1995 a second version of the plan was presented, removing the new planned construction and the real estate operation, focusing on new public spaces for the city. The plan kept the same scheme, dividing the waterfront into six different sections, with 4 different vectors (buildings, connections, parking and zoning). The main point was to study each case without proceeding to large scale transformations.

Another difference to the previous POZOR was the collaboration between public organizations. If in the former plan the PA practically operated by itself, cooperating with private companies, for the new document it established an intense dialogue process with the municipality.

Short after the new plan was presented, a new board took charge. Cabral, the new head of the board, stated the PA would, from that point on, focus on port development (Matias Ferreira, 1997)

POZOR Results

Finally, the POZOR 2 was never concluded, but, as with other plans in Lisbon on the 20th century, it guided several PA’s waterfront interventions. Although in this second version the public space and leisure facilities had an important role, the trust of the local residents in the PA never recovered. The results of the plan were mainly visible in the western section of the waterfront, where a new access to the river was created, including green areas. In Santo Amaro former warehouses were refurbished to host restaurants and clubs. Several parking and marinas were also developed. In 1995 the APL and CML began to cooperate, mainly for the redevelopment of certain public spaces and connections, particularly in the western section, from Cais do Sodré until Algés, including three priority interventions and identifying 11 crossings in different levels (Craveiro & Soares, 1997), some of which several were built.

Sto Amaro Docks
Sto. Amaro Docks today. This was one of the regenerated areas on the waterfront after the POZOR

Personal Comment on the POZOR Process – Institutional Framework

The POZOR is an interesting case to analyse the repercussions of path dependency, institutional plasticity and social expectations. In this article we have seen how the PA intended to act beyond what we can strictly consider its core activities, i.e. port activities management. The formal institutional framework gave the PA the capabilities to draft urban development plans, in the legislation it is indicated that it would be allowed to manage its territory beyond the port activities, including leisure or cultural programs. With this plan the PA saw the opportunity to do an “all around” operation, theoretically creating positive externalities to all the involved stakeholders.

The financing of the new terminal in Trafaria was connected to the real estate operation on the northern side of the river. As we have seen, the main intervention was between Cais do Sodré and Alcântara, curiously an area without any relevant public spaces on the port level, and with a strong infrastructural barrier, including a bright avenue and the railway line. The city should also benefit from this operation since the new waterfront would theoretically be open for all the citizens, increasing the public riverfront area. The issues before described, lack of public and green spaces, visual impact and possible gentrification, were the main drawbacks.

The process of institutional plasticity and change, as explained by Buitelaar et al. (2012) implies a complex succession of factors, that eventually leads to an institutional change. In the case of Lisbon we can actually see the reverse process. Although the institutional framework allowed the PA to execute the plan it proposed, since it was entirely within its territorial boundaries, the social context along with certain planning decisions, triggered a reverse procedure in which, instead of institutional plasticity, institutional rigidity took place. The general society had created specific expectations for the PA role, the riverfront and the relation between the river and the city. The PA was seen as a non-democratic organization, pending from the central government, with a very specific function, in charge of managing a specific territory for a certain function, port activities (Matias Ferreira, 1997). In other words we could say there was a certain expectation, a path dependency, not decided by the PA or the port community but by the social image of this particular body. On the other hand, the process started in 1988, concerning the relation between the city and the river, created a certain desire among the inhabitants, to gain an access to the river, seen as the key identity element of the city. The proposals presented in the competitions privileged this point of view. The municipal plans were also drafted in this direction.

The timing, location and scope of the POZOR also affected its fate negatively. There was already a significant waterfront regeneration process taking place in the city, the Expo, that hindered the possible institutional support from the national government. The municipality was already “left out” of the Expo process, due to the creation of the Parque Expo, therefore there was a precedent distrust. This corporation, created by the central government, had, as we have seen, supra-municipal powers, similar to the PA, and operated above the traditional urban planning scheme. The priority for the central government was the success of the Expo, therefore the support for the POZOR was compromised from the start.

The location also presented issues. We have seen how this central section of the waterfront has stronger roots in Lisbon´s history, hence any intervention could easily awake certain sensibilities. On the opposite side, the EXPO was on the eastern part of the city, where the urban tissue was not (and still is not) so consolidated. Any intervention here would imply less discussion or protest.

Finally the plan´s character and design principles were unfitted for the context. The influence of British plans for urban waterfronts, which often included dense real estate operations,  affected the POZOR negatively, passing an image of a strong gentrification development, in an area for which the local population had higher expectations. It is important to consider that, in general terms, the civil society, might well not understand the issues of planning boundaries, been an apparent continuum, therefore a strong image can easily be created. The density and program of the first draft triggered the social protest we have seen. Curiously, the process was innovative and could be considered a positive example for its participatory nature. Although the public discussion did not provided the positive feedback expected by the PA, it did set an interesting example for future planning initiatives.

The bricoleurs, the actors that in Buitelaar et al. (2012) model would pressure to change the institutional framework, in this case did the opposite, pressuring politicians and decision makers to install a process of institutional rigidity, reducing the PA planning powers. In this context we could say the PA´s path dependency harmed its expectations of acting beyond its usual realm, and finding an extra financing resource for other port infrastructure. Although eventually the proposed legislation change did not succeeded, probably linked to the retreat of the plan by the PA, the complete process did narrowed the development path of the PA in several ways. It was clear that any sort of large urban planning intervention led by the PA would be critically observed. The general role of the PA was associated with port activities, and only certain low-impact actions to implement leisure programs, linked with heritage refurbishment would be socially accepted. We can find different examples of this in the last 20 years. The release of riverfront areas for public and green spaces would be accepted. The connection with the new municipal plans had to be consulted and encouraged, since one of the main critics by the municipality planners was the apparent disregard towards the new masterplan and partial plans.

Among the issues and path narrowing process installed in the PA after the POZOR, one of the most worrying ones is the reduced interaction that followed this period, concerning public consultation processes. The NIMBY phenomenon that took place during the plan’s public presentation might have been reinforced due to the openness of the PA. We could then argue to what point would be on the PA´s best interest to encourage public participation in future plans and projects that might have an impact in the riverfront. Also, as said in an interview[15], the PA the communication is done using the official channels, contacting the municipality or other representative institutions, not directly with the citizens as it was with the POZOR. In this case we could ask ourselves to what extend will the CML explain the APL´s point of view, needs or even positive impact. This issue will be explored in the cruise terminal project, an example of port facility that has been considered crucial to experiment with the port-city-citizen relationship (Figueira de Sousa, 2003).

PDM and Municipal Strategic Plan 

In 1989 a new political[16] team arrived to the city hall, starting an intense period of municipal change and planning (Leite, 2008). Previously we have seen the state initiative with the Expo 98 and the port ambitions for the waterfront in the POZOR plan. In this section we will briefly describe Lisbon´s first strategic plan and the successive city masterplan. The transition from the 1980s to the 1990s potentiated the notion of Lisbon as capital of a Metropolitan area, and the need to compete in international context to attract investment. The city suffered several unsolved problems. During this time the first city development plan, drafted during democracy, was published and implemented.

Strategic plan

Lisbon´s strategic plan, approved in 1992, was the first document of new strategic planning system, also including the PDM and the priority plans and projects (Craveiro, 2004). The PEL (Plano Estratégico de Lisboa) was mainly a socioeconomic instrument to define the principal development vectors and areas, and support the political and decision making processes (Leite, 2008). This new scheme proposed a new urban development model, including eight key points. To connect the city with the river was one of the top priorities, also including the redevelopment of historic areas in the centre, the regeneration of the eastern section, improvement of public transport system and reducing urban expansion towards the north. The main general goals for the strategic plan were to modernize the city, improving the general life quality and allowing it to compete with other European metropolises, reassure Lisbon´s role as metropolitan capital and improve the administrative system. During this period Lisbon was already losing population, a tendency that would increase along the 1990s.

For the scope of this investigation, connecting the city with the river is the most important aspect.  The plan considered four different city sections, being one of them the riverfront. For this sector the municipality pretended to recover the connection with the Tagus, without harming the port (Craveiro & Soares, 1997). In this scenario the competition concerning the waterfront organized by the architectural association and sponsored by the PA, created positive precedent. The municipality recognized PA´s effort in the recent waterfront regeneration projects, particularly the new public spaces by the river.

PEL 1992
PEL 1992. Retrieved from Neves, 2013 (https://pt.slideshare.net/tutufischer/seminrio-internacional-sampa-cri-ativa-3-1213-apresentacaobrancaneves)

During the following years the municipality developed several plans for the riverfront surroundings, in which the reuse of heritage elements played an important role. These plans concerned mostly areas in the western and eastern sections of the city. Once again the idea of burying the railway, and later also the road, was discussed. In the scope of the plan several key operations[17] were identified to reinforce the connection between the city and the river, mostly taking place in the western and central waterfront section, affecting several locations with relevant monuments. These concrete actions were destined to areas controlled by the municipality, such as Praça do Comércio, or in which port activities were not suitable, mostly from Alcântara to Belém. To improve the connection several crossings in different locations along the barrier were planned.

The PEL was adapted during the drafting process, to include the development of the expo in the eastern section of the city. Initially this plan proposed to develop in this area the gate of the city, profiting from its connectivity with national and international transportation networks, as we have previously seen.

PDM 1994

The PDM approved in 1994 was the first city masterplan since 1977. This document was part of the new planning strategy promoted by the new municipal government, following the development path set by the strategic plan aforementioned. It was also coordinated with other documents drafted at the same time, such as the PROT-AML (Plano Regional de Ordenamento do Território – Área Metropolitana de Lisboa), or the detail plans drafted for different city locations.

In the plan, as it happened in the PEL, the territory was organized in 4 different areas, being one of them the riverfront. Among the key goals was again the connection with the river, identified as one of the key elements Lisbon should relate with, the second one was the metropolitan area. In the PDM report the connection with the estuary is highlighted defining Lisbon as a river-city (cidade ribeirinha). The port is not assumed as a key identity element, although we could consider it is included in the river-city character, port activities, as we have previously seen, had a strong influence in the city’s economy, identity and urban development (PDM, Relatório Síntese, 1994).

To improve the connection with the river several actions were proposed. The first one was to integrate port areas, improving the port access and complementary services. Other measures included better organization of river transport with Lisbon’s transport interfaces, enhancing public areas on the riverfront, integration of the infrastructural barrier formed by the railway and roads, and establish the view system defended in the same PDM, strengthening the visual relation.

One interesting issue was the Expo area. Parque Expo was responsible for the land where the event would take place, including its after-expo development. For this reason the municipality had to discuss with them the solution and redevelopment of the section of the city. The APL and Loures municipality were also included in the conversation. In the PDM, the eastern edge of Lisbon was still considered the new logistic platform. The integration of port and transport infrastructure was one of the main goals, considering these area crucial for the productive activities in the metropolitan area.

PDM 1994
PDM 1994. In orange we can see the Expo area, controlled by the new public company Parque Expo. Retrieved from: https://ptfdesenhourbano.wordpress.com/

The basic PDM intervention unit were the UOP (Unidade Operativa de Planeamento e Gestão). There were 30 UOP identified in the whole plan of which seven affected the riverfront (Costa, 2006). This author explains that the PDM was more specific than the PEL regarding the possible land uses, including industrial buildings refurbishment to host other programs, such as offices or housing. The relation with the APL was made via specific agreements for concrete issues, such as the port communication, roads and railway.

PUZRO

Once the Expo was finished, the planning horizon for the post-event period expanded until 2009. The municipality began to work on the redevelopment of the surrounding territory to integrate the “new urbanity island” the EXPO area was about to become (Matias Ferreira, 1999).

The new plan to regenerate the eastern edge of Lisbon was named PUZRO (Plano de Urbanização da Zona Ribeirinha Oriental – Urbanization Plan for the Eastern Riverfront) and continued the work developed in the plan for the surroundings of the Expo, practically assuming the same boundaries. The intervention area was structured around four axis, three running parallel to the river (Av. Infante dom Henrique, the interior street from Rua da Madre Deus to Rua Fernando Palha and the railway line) and the avenue Marechal Gomes da Costa expanding from the riverfront towards the north. In total, the covered area was 418,1 Ha, including 4,5 km of riverfront.

A first version of the plan was presented in 2001, although not approved, partly due to the remarks given by the regional development commission. Afterwards it was decided it would become an strategic document, finally republished in 2008,  renamed: “Documento Estratégico de Monitorização da Zona Ribeirinha Oriental” (Strategic Document for Eastern Riverfront Control).

Planta Puzro
PUZRO Plan The doted line indicates the boundary of the planning area. Retrieved from. http://www.cm-lisboa.pt

The original plan, although was never approved, it guided the redevelopment of the area during the following years, a process we have often seen in Lisbon’s recent urban history. The PUZRO included a detailed analysis of the existing industrial heritage, while at the same time, potentiated the redevelopment of large industrial sites and planned new public facilities. From this document several relevant detail plans were drafted, of which we will briefly mention two, Plano de Pormenor do Braço de Prata and the Plano de Pormenor da Matinha.

The first one, from 1999, consisted in the redevelopment of a military industrial site. Although initially included larger areas, it finally affected 10 Ha of land. Renzo Piano was the leading architect behind the project. Some of the most relevant features included the integration of the avenue Infante dom Henrique into the new urban structure, releasing the riverfront for a new public garden. This new green space was supposed to take place in port territory, and be paid by private developer. In figures the project proposed 142500 m2 plus 5500 m2 for public facilities. Being 72% for housing, 16% for economical activities and 12% for services. (Costa, 2006). The project has suffered several setbacks, and is today under development. For the moment only few structures are visible being unknown the completion date. In an interview with planners from the CML[18], it was said the property developers had presented an updated version of the project for approval, therefore it was supposed the construction should be resumed shortly.

In this plan the riverfront park was a relevant issue. It implied the release of port land for public use and a new green space financed by the private developer. In this case we can observe the possible malfunction and inefficiencies of the planning system. The APL released the land for the new green area in 2009[19]. The plan could bring positive outcomes, since it would give this area a new access to the river, increasing its appeal for further private investment. The problem, as it often happens when the public redevelopment depends of private investors, was the project delay. During this time the land has remained abandoned, without any maintenance. Since previously it used to be port land the port image is affected, due to the assumption the PA is still responsible for its caring. This situation raises the question about the relevance of public plans if the development of key elements relay on private hands.

460acf82450cce8ec13268d266f7700cc556830a
Braço de Prata plan. In the image we also see the Matinha plan. Retrieved from: http://www.cpu.pt

The second detail plan (Plano de Pormenor), concerns Matinha, between Braço de Prata plot and the Expo. In this territory we can find gasometer structures, acting as landmark from an industrial past. The final version of the plan was published in 2011, included the redevelopment of the area from the gasometers until the riverfront, affecting an area of 31,5 Ha, included in the UOP 28. Initially, the uses planned in the 1994 PDM for this area were related with investigation and technology. After the PUZRO was cancelled the municipality changed the program to mixed use including housing and tertiary activities. The project is characterized by a central green axis, framing the industrial heritage on one extreme, connecting with the riverfront park on the other. The new buildings are designed perpendicular to the river, following a similar concept to Renzo Piano’s project, but on a larger scale. The total construction area would be 339.305 m2.

matinha - risco
PP Matinha. This plan links the former Expo area with the new real estate development in Braço de Prata. Retrieved from: http://www.risco.org/pt

Since the plan was published the plot has not suffered any alteration. No construction nor real estate development has been announced, remaining an industrial landfill during this time. The location could be considered quite attractive, since it is near a new area such as the Parque das Nações (former Expo 98), but until now there has been no private investor. Once again the issue aforementioned appears, the municipality might produce plans but the redevelopment depends on market operations.

In the strategic document the interaction with the port was explained on article 7, indicating that any urban action to be taken within the realm of this plan must include PA approval.

Conclusion

The decade between the 1988 competition and the EXPO 1998 meant a significant change in the way local residents looked at the river. The Tagus was no longer just reference in literature and history, but a space for the citizens to enjoy. This period was also relevant in terms of planning and stakeholders positioning. The PA development/action path was narrowed due to the social protest, and to some extent marked its role for the following decade.

During these years the foundations for Lisbon’s contemporary development were built. The planning frenzy gave many projects, some of them still under construction today. The image of the city was transformed, as so it was the ambitions of the inhabitants regarding public space and riverfront areas.

Four key moments, happening almost simultaneously, decided the interaction between the actors. Although two of them did not left the drafting table, motivated either by their nature (ideas competition of 1988) or by the public repulse (POZOR), they set the course for action for the following years. The first brought attention to an issue until them ignored for decades, the relation between the city and the river, while the second introduced an innovative approach, such as the participative process, although it played against the own  interests of the APL, narrowing its future realm. The Port Authority, in the good tradition of Lisbon, did eventually developed some projects included in the plan although the document itself was not properly implemented.

The public discussion about the POZOR had a greater relevance than what it might have seen at the time. It was not just a rejection of planning ideas and design, it eventually decided what the PAs are and are not allowed to do in Portugal. The institutional rigidity did not occurred immediately, but, as we will see in following articles, it indicated APL’s future path and functions. Eventually new legislation was passed, a decade after the first plan, that narrowed the scope of the PA, limiting its capabilities.

 

 


References:

Administração do Porto de Lisboa.(2007) Plano Estratégico de Desenvolvimento do Porto de Lisboa – Relatório Síntese. Lisboa: Administração do Porto de Lisboa, 144 p.

Brandão, P. (1988). Prefácio. In P. Brandão & F. Jorge (Eds.), Lisboa, a cidade e o rio – concurso de ideias para a renovação da zona ribeirinha de Lisboa. (pp. 3–4). Lisbon: Associação de Arquitectos Portugueses..

Breen, A., & Rigby, D. (1994). Waterfronts: cities reclaim their edge. McGraw-Hill.

Buitelaar, E., Lagendijk, A., & Jacobs, W. (2007). A theory of institutional change: illustrated by Dutch city-provinces and Dutch land policy. Environment and Planning A, 39, 891–908.

Cabral, N. (2001). Giving New Life to the Riverfront Areas of the Port of Lisbon. Portus, (1), 32–37.

Castro, A., & Lucas, J. (1999). A Expo’ 98 – Cronologia de um Processo. In V. Matias Ferreira & F. Indovina (Eds.), A cidade da EXPO 98 (pp. 345–422). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Cid, M. S., & Reis, D. (Org.) (1999). Documentos para a história da Expo ’98 1989-1992. Lisbon: Parque Expo 98 SA.

CML – Salgado, M. (2011) Proposta 2/12/2011.

Costa, J. P. T. D. A. (2006). La ribera entre proyectos : formación y transformación del territorio portuario, a partir del caso de Lisboa. Barcelona : Universidade de Catalunha.

Craveiro, M. T., & Soares, L. B. (1997). Ligar a cidade ao Tejo: zona ribeirinha – estratégia e programa de intervenção CML/APL – 1990-1995. In A. Caessa & M. Gomes Martins (Eds.), Actas das sessões do II Colóquio temático Lisboa Ribeirinha (pp. 401–406). Lisbon: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa – Departamento de Parimonio Cultural Divisão de Arquivos.

Craveiro, M. T. (2004). A retoma do planeamento estratégico 2001-2005 na cidade de Lisboa. GeoInova, 10, 221–239.

Desfor, G., & Jørgensen, J. (2004). Flexible urban governance. The case of Copenhagen’s recent waterfront development. European Planning Studies, 12, 479–496.

Figueira de Sousa, J., & Fernandes, A. (2012). Metamorfoses da cidade portuária: transformações da relação entre o porto e a cidade de Lisboa. Confins, (15). Retrieved from http://confins.revues.org/7702 ; DOI : 10.4000/confins.7702

França, J. A. (1997). Lisboa: urbanismo e arquitectura (3rd ed.). Lisbon: Livros Horizonte.

Guimarães, F. J. (2006). Cidade portuaria, o porto e as suas constantes mutações. Lisboa: Parque Expo.

Leite, M. A. D. F. D., & Craveiro, M. T. (2008). Entrevista a Maria Teresa Craveiro: O processo de Planeamento Estratégico em Lisboa: Dilemas, desafios e resultados. Oculum – Ensaios, Revista de Arquitectura E Urbanismo, 165–174.

Matias Ferreira, V., Rodrigues, W., Casanova, J. L., Castro, A., Wemans, L., & Amor, T. (1997). Lisboa – A metrópole e o rio. (V. Matias Ferreira, Ed.). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Matias Ferreira, V., & Indovina, F. (1999). A cidade da EXPO 98. (V. M. Ferreira & F. Indovina, Eds.). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Morgado, S. (2005). Protagonismo de la ausencia. Interpretación urbanística de la formación metropolitana de Lisboa desde lo desocupado. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona. Retrieved from http://www.tdx.cat/handle/10803/6959

Nabais, A. J. C. M., & Ramos, P. O. (1987). 100 anos do porto de Lisboa. Lisboa: Administração do Porto de Lisboa.

Pagés Sánchez, J. M. (2011). Frente ribeirinha e cidade. Equipamentos públicos culturais como solução de conexão e regeneração. Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.

Olivier, D., & Slack, B. (2006). Rethinking the Port. Environment and Planning A, 38(8), 1409–1427. http://doi.org/10.1068/a37421.

Ressano Garcia, P. (2007). Life and death of the Lisbon waterfront – Vida e morte do porto de Lisboa. Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique.

Salgado, M. (2012). Reconquista da Frente Ribeirinha de Lisboa. Portusplus, 3(12).

Schubert, D. (2011). 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.

Ward, S. V. (2011). Port cities and the global exchange of planning ideas. In C. Hein (Ed.), Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (1st ed., pp. 70–85). New York: Routledge.

Wemans, L. (1999). A EXPO 98 – da avaliação económica aos custos sociais. O custo zero, a engenharia financeira e od défice de setenta milhões. In V. Matias Ferreira & F. Indovina (Eds.), A cidade da EXPO 98 (pp. 252–287). Lisbon: Bizâncio.

Legal Documents:

Decreto Lei 207/93 14 de Junho

Decreto Lei 100/2008

Decreto Lei 336/98 3 de Novembro

Projeto de Lei 85/VII presentado in 1996

Resolução em conselho de ministros 87/2009, em 3 de Setembro de 2009


[1] According to the strategic plans and activity reports, the Iberian peninsula is the main hinterland of the port of Lisbon, more specifically the western side from Madrid. For this reason it is relevant the competition with the Spanish ports. The agro-food industry grew considerably due to the investment in the 1980s. Currently the port still is one of the leading players in this type of cargo, competing with Girona and Barcelona. (APL, 2007)

[2] The large industrial conglomerates had a stronger presence in the south side of the river, with companies related to heavy actitivies, such as Quimigal in Barreiro, Lisnave in Almada and Siderurgia Nacional in Seixal (Costa, 2006, Nabais& Ramos, 1987)

[3]The law for this change was the DL nº 336/98 3rd of November. Lisbon’s Port Authority was then renamed as “Administração Portuária de Lisboa” (APL).

[4] Although this statement is widely accepted, some scholars like Costa (2006), mention the Casa dos Bicos refurbishment project, referred previously, as another important moment for the waterfront regeneration movement. This project had an important impact, however, from our perspective, is not as relevant as the following plans, since it was an isolated intervention, more linked with the identity value of the heritage and historic waterfront.

[5] The riverfront, as we can see in paintings and photographs, was mostly build, without a continuous public space along the water. In previous chapters we have seen how the concept of a Tagus promenade appeared in the 19th century, remaining in the general psyche. The access to the water were limited to the places where some economic activities were taking place, such as port, commerce or fishing. The only locations where a “leisure” by the water would take place was on the beaches in the western part of Lisbon.

[6] The committee was formed by representatives of the different stakeholders involved in the project. Initially it did not counted with the participation of the PA, but eventually, after the location of the exhibition was decided, the PA was invited, along with Loures municipality. However, the final decision depended of the national government. Different experts were also consulted, particularly in the initial stages to decide the location. The process has been well documented and can be consulted in: Cid, M. S., & Reis, D. (Org.) (1999). Documentos para a história da Expo ’98 1989-1992. Lisbon: Parque Expo 98 SA.

[7]Parque Expo was a QUANGO (Quasi autonomous Non-Government Organization). This sort of publicly owned development companies has been a common vehicle for urban development operations. We can see them in Hamburg, Oslo, Helsinki, and other port-cities. In the case of Lisbon, it continued to operate after the Expo, being responsible for urban management and facilities in the Parque das Nações. The company developed more projects, not just in Portugal. During the early 2000s it developed several riverfront green areas in different Portuguese cities integrated in the POLIS program. Parque Expo was deactivated on December 31st 2016, although its fate had already been decided in 2011 (http://expresso.sapo.pt/economia/2016-12-30-Parque-Expo-extinta-a-31-de-dezembro, consulted on 4/6/2017 11:50).

[8] This sort of operation it is not exclusive from Lisbon. In other waterfront operations similar schemes were followed, for example in Copenhagen. See Desfor& Jørgensen, (2004).

[9] Particularly relevant for this matter is the work developed by Matias Ferreira. Two books were published with the testimonies of different experts. “Lisboa, a Metrópole e o Rio” (1997) and “A Cidade da Expo 98” (1999). In the latter the issues that would affect the overall operation were predicted. The main critic was that in the end the operation was a requalification with new uses and high socio-economical classes, and not a proper regeneration as it was announced during the entire planning process.

[10] During the first stages of the planning and application process the state and the committee defended that the Expo would not cost the state anything, thanks to the real estate operation (Wemans, 1999)

[11]Castro and Lucas (1999) originally indicate 14 million contos, equivalent to 65 mill € approx. According to the National Statistical Institute of Portugal (INE) 65 mill€ adjusted to 2016, after the inflation would be ca. 105,8 million € (https://www.ine.pt/xportal/xmain?xpid=INE&xpgid=ipc).

[12] In the answer to the BIE survey from October the 7th of 1991, to evaluate the Portuguese application the committee explicitly indicated that the public owner ship of the PA by the central state was an advantage, granting the absence of any social conflict. (Parque Expo, 1999)

[13] The acronym NIMBY stands for: Not In My Backyard. These sort of civil movements opposing real estate or infrastructural developments can often be found in port related situations.

[14] There was a law project presented by deputies of the PCP, to reduce the powers of the APL. The project was: Projeto de Lei 85/VII presented in 1996 and finally dismissed. (https://www.parlamento.pt/ActividadeParlamentar/Paginas/DetalheIniciativa.aspx?BID=5581)

[15] Interview with APL representatives, Mariana Teixeira and Carla Matos, on December 16th 2015.

[16] The new major was Jorge Sampaio, later to become Portugal´s president.

[17]According to Craveiro & Soares (1997) the anchor projects were: Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, Cordoaria, Standard Eléctrica, Alcântara-Rio, Janelas Verdes, Aterro da Boavista, Ribeira das Naus, and Terreiro do Paço.

[18] Interview with Arch. Pedro Dinis, head of the public space department inside the CML. The meeting took place on December 21st 2015

[19] This agreement was based on the law DL 100/2008 stating the release of port land no longer hosting port activities. The official accord was approved by the Minister Council on September 3rd 2009  (Resolução do Conselho de Ministros 87/2009). In the Analysis Unit 3 this operation between the CML and APL will be further explored, since it included other riverfront locations.

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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The Helsinki Experience

The Helsinki Experience

For the last couple of weeks we stayed in the Finnish capital. This city, as we mentioned in the last post, is undergoing great transformation. In the year 2008 the industrial port left the city center to move to the new Vuosaari Harbour. Since then several important waterfront developments have being taking place and the city skyline will change considerably over the next decades. The experience in Helsinki allowed us to know better the transformation process, the relation between the city and the port and the concerns for the future.

Bird's eye view Source: Helsinki ESPO award application
Bird’s eye view
Source: Helsinki ESPO award application

The work process followed was similar to the other cases analyzed so far. On the first place we made an intensive visit to the city and the affected areas, including the new port. During this time a photographic survey was carried out. The result can be seen in this gallery. At the same time we visited the relevant urban information institutions that could give us significant information regarding the urban evolution and the port-city relation. For this reason we visited the city museum, the urban development information center Laituri and another info-center focused in the Jätkäsaari area. Unlike other cases we did not visited the maritime museum since it is placed in another city, Kotka, and it is more focused in the maritime history than in the port.

In order to get the necessary impartial vision of this case we met with representatives from the port and the city. In this occasion we were able to interview Ms. Satu Aatra (SA), Planning Manager in the Port of Helsinki, and with Mr. Rikhard Manninen (RM), head of the Strategic Planning Division at the City Planning department of Helsinki and responsible for the team developing the new Masterplan.

The relation between the port and the city

Institutional level

During the research we came to know that the Port of Helsinki has changed it status very recently. This institution was until the end of last year a department of the municipality, as an independent entity but under the city hall management. In the beginning of this year, as told by SA, the port changed to be a limited company, however still under the “umbrella” of the municipality. This transformation gave them more independence and a stronger position when defending the port interests. Besides the direct and indirect economic impact and jobs generated by the port another argument for its presence in the city is its economic independence, the port is self-sustainable. It is an economic asset that does not cost money to the city in terms of investment or maintenance.

Another important aspect in the case of Helsinki is the ownership of the land. In many other port-cities one of the main challenges is the fact that the port is an important owner of valuable land. For this reason it has a certain power over what happens in its territories and what would happen in case they released it for urban uses. This situation very often leads to intense negotiation regarding the price of the land and the economical compensations. In some cases this issue might be the solution for financing the new port infrastructure, as we saw in Oslo. In Helsinki the situation is rather exceptional since the municipality is one of the main landowner in the city. Even the land the port uses for its activities is owned by municipality. In this case it works with long terms concessions allowing the port to build the necessary equipment or terminals remain as their property. Given the situation is clear that the city has a very powerful position and the port is in a weaker position when compared with other cases.

When we spoke with the planning professional they both explained that the relation between both institutions is complex and regarding some subjects rather tense. The most controversial issues affecting the relation are mainly the ferry traffic and its consequences and the fact that for some political sectors the port should be completely placed in the new harbour, releasing the territories in the city center. Also relevant was the process for the new Guggenheim museum that could explain how the relation between institutions works. These issues will be addressed later in this article.

It is important to mention that although there are some tension points, there is an effort being made for the collaboration between the planning departments of both organisms. During our meeting with RM he explained that there is a minimum of four meetings per year between the port and urban planning authorities in order to synchronize main planning goals and agendas. To these meeting also representatives from the ferry companies attend to exchange ideas that could improve the collaboration between the different stakeholders.

Emotional level

The history of the city is deeply connected with the port. Helsinki was founded as a commercial port and we see the maritime character of the city in its evolution and in the waterfront. During the time spent here we were able to notice that this connection still is important for the citizens. Both interviewees agreed that for the city the port is a relevant part of its identity. As it was mentioned by SA, for the inhabitants the port holds an important place in the collective memory, although it might be somehow bucolic and detached from the current operation of the port. It is generally known that the ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) code does not allow a direct interaction with the port activity as it used to be. For this reason the more mature citizens pass their memories to the youngster and these ones still identify the port as an important place for them, although they did not experienced the same interaction as their grandparents.

South Harbour Source: http://www.istopoli.com/
South Harbour
Source: http://www.istopoli.com/

The City Museum explains vaguely the importance of the port, but this issue might be solved in the next years when the new city museum is opened. When we asked other people who have no direct relation with the port or planning department they all agreed that the port is part of the city.

In the current moment the port only takes 11 km of the 130 km waterfront, hence the port is no longer an obstacle for reaching the water. The regeneration project could play an important role if they are able to keep the port identity. If the people feel the port as their own probably they will support its location in the city center. This aspect along with the location needs from ferries and economic benefit they bring might be the best argument the port has to keep its presence in the city.

Vuosaari

The move of the port facilities from the city center to the Vuosaari Harbour was decided by the city planning department in the masterplan from 1992. At that time, as it was explained by RM, the discussion was mainly focused on improving the port capacity. During the discussion an alternative location was considered, in Kirkkonummi, west from Helsinki. At that time the municipality acknowledged the important economic role the port played for the city and the region. Only later the planning authorities saw the potential of the areas released by the port in the city for implementing a waterfront regeneration project focused on housing and mixed use.

The construction of the new terminal, as explained by SA, was a joint venture between the urban and national authorities. Although there was an existing large shipyard, more land was needed for the construction of the new port. At the same time there was a necessary coordination with the national authorities, not just for the financing but also for the connections with the road and railway networks. RM explained that it was a complex and long process. The location is near a Natura 2000 area which needed to be protected from pollution and noise. At the same time there was a difficult negotiation with a private landowner. Finally the project was developed between 2003 and 2006.

After the new harbour was built and the port started to work there in 2008, the institution has felt a certain pressure regarding its current location. We have seen during the second half of the XXth century that the waterfront have become one of the preferred location for new urban development projects. This international trend has been seen by the port with certain apprehension and somehow a possible threat towards its position in the city. This behavior is understandable if, as mentioned by SA, we see that the general process has been to “expel” the port from the city and also that there are political sectors who believe all port activities, including the ferries, should be located in Vuosaari. This critical voices might have forgotten what was acknowledged in the masterplan from 1992. The port is relevant for the city for economic and identity aspects.

Vuosaari harbour Source: http://www.aprt.fi/
Vuosaari harbour
Source: http://www.aprt.fi/

In the new masterplan we will see that a future expansion for the Vuosaari harbour is considered. As explained by RM the port accepted this decision with some mistrust since it could be seen as an argument to force moving all the ferry traffic outside the city. In the same interview it was also explained that the main reason for this expansion is possible future port growth and new logistic needs. These issues were consulted with experts from the city hall.

The ferries

The ferries activities are the main issue in the port-city relation. In the case of Helsinki this is a particularly complex situation. The elevated number of connections, almost 11 million passengers and a considerable cargo traffic difficult the integration of this infrastructure in the city. These figures are even more impressive if we consider that they have been reached after 10 years of unstoppable growth. One decade ago, before the Vuosaari harbour was developed, nobody could foresee the impact this sector would have in the city and port economy, and in the urban traffic.

We already saw in Oslo that this is a difficult problem. In order to be profitable these companies, just like the cruises, need a fast access to the city center, therefore its location outside the urban core is not possible. We must consider that this specific sort of maritime traffic is particularly complex since it combines passengers, many taking also their own car, with cargo, mainly trailers, that will be directly taken by trucks when arrived to destination.

The ferry companies need the combination of the different activities in order to be profitable. In the case of Helsinki the situation is more intense than others because we find not just tourist that come for a short visit, but also commuters that live in Tallinn and work in Finland. For this reason there is not a seasonality as strong as in the cruise industry, therefore the traffic generated is constant all year around.

At the present moment there are three ferry terminals near the city center (Katajanokka, South Harbour and West Harbour) and one in Vuosaari. As it was mentioned, through these terminals pass every year almost 11 million passenger and between 25% and 30% of the port cargo. This intense traffic, as explained by SA,  might bring up to 4000 vehicles every day to the city, which is a significant number. Although we have to put this figure in perspective with the general traffic in Helsinki main roads. There is no argue that the ferry traffic makes an impact in the city, but in general terms the city needs to improve the traffic management system. This is one of the main concerns for the new city plan, and it will be handled properly.

Ferries in the south harbour
Ferries in the south harbour

The traffic problem is a challenge for the next masterplan, particularly to one of the boldest ideas developed on it, the transformation of urban highways into more urban boulevards. The positive effect this change could bring to the city is unquestioned, but how it can deal with the traffic generated by goods transportation, not just generated by the ferries but also by the business operating in the city center, is yet to be seen. This issue will be studied in further detail in the implementation plan, the following step once the masterplan is effective.

In order to deal with the heavy traffic generated by the ferries there was also considered the option of building tunnels under the city center. This possible solution that could indeed solve the issue still is considered in the masterplan, but will be up to the decision makers in the municipality to see if it is a viable option. As we know, this option implies a significant investment and a complex construction process that could last many years. On the other hand, this solution has already been developed in other cases with positive outcomes, just like we saw in Oslo in previous posts.

The discussion regarding the location of the ferry terminals has been going on for several years. The necessary common ground could have been found. In the West Harbour redevelopment project a new ferry terminal is under construction. Once this strategic decision has been taken it seems unlikely that the ferries will be forced to move outside the city. Also during the interview with the Urban planning department RM clarified that the ferries and passenger ships traffic has been accepted as one important element of the cityscape, it would not be reasonable to insist in moving them outside the center.

New ferry terminal in West Harbour Source: http://satamauudistuu.fi/
New ferry terminal in West Harbour
Source: http://satamauudistuu.fi/

For this issue there is even another possibility being contemplated. If the ferry traffic continues to grow it might be necessary to consider a redistribution of the terminals. In this scenario the possible relocation of some ferry lines in Vousaari could be considered. In order to make this solution effective the existing subway line should be extended until the harbour area. This is a considerable investment, that is also difficult to justify if it is only going to be made for the ferry passengers. In the masterplan the subway extension is an open possibility that will have to be decided in the future.

New areas in the Waterfront

Helsinki urban development areas Source: http://www.portusonline.org/helsinki-converting-waterfronts-intoresidential-areas/
Helsinki urban development areas
Source: http://www.portusonline.org/helsinki-converting-waterfronts-intoresidential-areas/

West Harbour – Länsisatam – Jätkäsaari

The project to be developed in the West Harbour is probably the most relevant for the port-city relation. This project, along with the south harbour, is the only new area where port and urban activities will still have to coexist. The new district will host the new ferry terminal build to give answer to the increasing demand in the Tallinn-Helsinki connection. This new terminal will be placed further south extending the area to the end pier. At the same time the new construction will allow new berths for the ferries making this connection.

The construction of the new city district is currently taking place and several housing areas have already been developed. But the greater construction phases are yet to come. In the waterline we see a new landmark gaining shape in form of a 16 floors tower that will host a hotel. This project will give an interesting urban landscape since this new construction in Jätkäsaari will contrast with the existing shipyards. This industrial settlement will continue where it is. The company that owns the shipyards has the intention of staying in Helsinki and the masterplan also counts with its presence in the waterfront.We will be able to see an urban maritime atmosphere in this area like in very few places in the city.

West Harbour Project Source: www.hel.fi
West Harbour Project
Source: http://www.hel.fi

Kalasatama

In the North harbour, or fish harbour as it used to be known, the presence of the port activities will disappear. Nowadays the responsibility of the port is resume to keeping the access and the dock for the coal supply for the existing power plant. In the future with the probable deactivation of the plant this function will no longer be required.

In this new city district we will see one of the biggest development projects in Helsinki, including several skyscrapers. The focus of the plan is mainly housing, but it will also include several office spaces. The main question remains what will happen with the existing industrial areas. As mentioned, before the power plant is a major decision for this new district, its future is currently under discussion. If Helsinki wants to succeed in its quest of being carbon neutral the presence of a coal powered will hinder this goal. When the decision to deactivate the plant is reached, then the issue would be what to do with this important mass placed in the waterfront. The construction characteristic do not allow an easy reconversion, but it could be considered as industrial heritage element, perhaps for cultural purposes.

We have seen that many housing project will be developed. Very often in the waterfront regeneration projects these new apartments have high prices, hence the new inhabitants are probably from high income classes. The gentrification process is very strong and in some cases inevitable. In Helsinki this might not happen so clearly as in other port cities. The strong position of the municipality as landowner allows a bigger regulation of the market. Therefore, since the land owned by the city is very often not sold to a private but instead long term rented the city can apply certain rules. In the areas here presented, as it was told by RM, the distribution will be: 20% of all housing should be subsidized, 40 % would have controlled prices, following the Hitas system. Finally the remaining 40% should be traded in a free market.

The system used by the municipal authorities allows a better social diversity, hence the waterfront has a more public character that in other port cities.It is important to know that although the majority of the land belongs to the city, there are some plots that have been sold to private. Also the area where the oil harbour used to be belongs to private hands and is currently under development.

Kalasatama urban development Source: http://en.uuttahelsinkia.fi/
Kalasatama urban development
Source: http://en.uuttahelsinkia.fi/

The Guggenheim process 

The Guggenheim museum development process has been an important matter for the city and the port in recent times. Also a complex issue between different institutions. As we know the construction of a new museum of this scale very often generates a lot of discussion at different levels.

In this case the architectural competition for the new cultural venue took this issue to the international stage. The scale of the competition, 1715 entries, generated a significant debate in the media regarding the work produced, the different approaches and even an analysis to state of the arts in architecture. In a more local context the public argument is whether is reasonable to invest in this new infrastructure if Helsinki already has an important cultural venues network, and other museums are already under construction. Also there is the problem of paying to a foreign cultural institution to place in the city a franchise of their museum. The ongoing debate might have undermine the public support to the initiative even before the final design is known.

Winning design Source: http://www.moreaukusunoki.com/
Winning design
Source: http://www.moreaukusunoki.com/

The main issue regarding the port-city relation in this case is the fact that the new museum will be placed in an area the port is currently using. The activities happening there, parking lot and catamaran ferry to Tallinn, could certainly be rearranged and improved, but this issue was not considered as one of the priorities of the competition. Is important to remember that the city owns the land where the port is placed therefore has great decision making capacities in this area. On the other hand the conciliation between the different activities, cultural, urban and port, was not a priority. The nonexistent role played by the port in the whole process is clear not only in the competition report, but also when we see the composition of the jury. Out of 11 members not one was representing the port.

We must also point out that the process is only in the beginning, the chance for collaboration is still possible. The winning design by Moreau Kusunoki Architectes has a certain flexibility, besides the inherent architecture quality. This aspect leaves the door open to a future integration of the different activities existing in the area.

Winning design from moreau kusunoki architectes Source: http://www.moreaukusunoki.com/
Winning design from moreau kusunoki architectes
Source: http://www.moreaukusunoki.com/

Port strategy towards the city

During the interview with SA we were able to see the what are the main strategies followed by the port to have a “healthy” relation with the city. At this point is relevant to know that the Port of Helsinki received an award from ESPO in the year 2010 for the societal integration of the port. If we read the application document we see that indeed the port carried numerous initiatives at that time, perhaps motivated by the move of the port to Vuosaari.

The port continues to develop a social program to insist in its integration. For example, besides the official website with all the port information and the different publications, we can also find specific information webpages. There is one specific important case, the website dedicated to the port development projects. In this page we can see what the port is doing in the west harbour or the different initiatives taking place at the moment.

The activities aforementioned have a particular focus in the younger audience. The PA has developed a stronger program with the schools to allow the youngsters to visit the port and get to know how it works from the inside. This measure presented several security challenges that were solved without affecting the port operations.

In terms of the general public the port has hosted several open days in recent years, but without an specific date. This events often take place associated to other venues, or in some cases they are linked to different target groups.

Helsinki (44)
Information Billboards

Regarding the existing information billboards placed along the waterfront we came to know that they do not belong to the port. They belong to the city and were placed long time ago, when the port was still a city department.

At the moment there is no port-center where one could get to know the history of the port and the role it plays in the city. In the city museum the information is relatively scarce. This issue, as mentioned before, might be solved next year when the new city museum open its doors.

Port innovation: Buffer zones, lighting, sound barriers, traffic control

One of the most relevant aspects in the Helsinki study case is the use of buffer zones. We have seen before that they were necessary for the Vuosaari harbour in order to protect the existing Natura 2000 spaces. These green areas, besides protecting the natural reserve, also work as “cushion” between the housing developments in Vuosaari and the harbour. They were also used for creating a new golf course, a compatible activity with the industrial port activities.

In the new port we also find several other aspects that are innovative. For example the lighting scheme and sound barriers developed by the architectural office APRT. The illumination is a very important subject in Finland since they have very reduced amount of sunlight during great part of the year. For this reason is normal to develop proper illumination projects with architects and landscape architects. The sound wall is particularly relevant because it is the “façade” of the port to the natural reserve. Besides reducing the acoustic pollution produced by the harbour activities, integrates the vegetation in its structure and contains an sightseen point for the port and the natural park.

Vuosaari at night Source: http://www.aprt.fi/
Vuosaari at night
Source: http://www.aprt.fi/

The other relevant innovation are measures being developed to diminish the impact of the heavy traffic generated by the ferries. This strategy consist in the combination of an already efficient automatic check-in system for the trucks with several waiting areas, placed outside the urban core, some of them in the buffer zones. This system would allow the traffic generated by the cargo coming in the ferries to flow with less waiting areas required. At the same time the trucks could await in places where they do not cause any problems, releasing the waterfront for other uses. A similar system has been working in Valparaiso, Chile.

Heritage

Helsinki was an important industrial city. Part of this past can be seen in several building in the city, like the Kaapeli factory or the gasometers in Kalasatama area. The port only owns one building listed as heritage, the Olympia terminal, next to its headquarters. The port is responsible for its properties and looks after them. However there are several old warehouses that probably were port property but are now private and have been transformed to alternative uses. We can find them in Katajanokka, where another waterfront regeneration project took place in 1980’s.

The old cranes are another important part of port industrial heritage. In Helsinki we can find them in the Munkkisaari area. They are owned by the city and the main concern should be to keep them as a memory of what once used to be there. There is a anew project prepared for the area where they are placed, and hopefully these cranes will be respected and integrated in the design.

Old cranes by the docks
Old cranes by the docks

Personal Opinion

The case of Helsinki is very particular regarding the powerful position its municipality holds. This characteristic has on one hand limited the decision making capacity of the port, but on the other hand has allowed a plan led waterfront regeneration of significant proportions. In this context, and in an often difficult position, the port has tried to defend its interests and stay in the city. The efforts have resulted in a compromise between the responsible authorities to allow the presence of the port recognizing its economic and identity value.

The dialogue between the concerned stakeholders is crucial to find the common ground for a sustainable development. In this case the regular meetings and mutual recognition are the backbone of the relation. The problem might surge when the stronger actor abuses of its position to impose its will without the agreement of the other actors. So far this has not happened, although the port recognizes a certain pressure towards its position.

During the time spent in this city we acknowledged how difficult the ferries situation is. The success of this sector is definitely something from which city and port benefit. Is a crucial part of the twin-city program. However there is the risk of dying of its own success. If the traffic and other externalities caused by these activities become too big the port risks losing the favorable public opinion. We have seen that the people living in nearby areas already might not be so pleased with the current situation. In this case the constant dialogue with the neighbors is important, but it might be necessary to go further. For example, in Hamburg a commitment was found with the developers of the housing projects near the port to implement a certain type of construction quality regarding windows and soundproofing, or even designing the house distribution to diminish the negative effects of living near the port. In the case of Helsinki a positive reinforcement program could be developed, for example by giving one free ferry ticket per year or a discount to the most affected citizens.

The Guggenheim process could be a metaphor of the relation between the different parts, where the stronger stakeholder is somehow imposing an agenda. Besides the discussion if it is reasonable or not to develop yet another cultural venue, we could see the process as a missed opportunity for the collaboration between city and port. It would have been a very interesting approach for both the museum and the harbour.

The mixed programs building are a path into the future for several reasons. They allow occupancy at different schedules; they are economically more viable; in terms of environment are more sustainable; also the risk of a failed investment is reduced. At the same time it would have been very interesting to see under a new development the transition of uses, from the most intense port activity, including the cargo coming through the ferries, to the most urban ones, the cultural agenda of the city. If we see it from another point of view, it could be considered as a connection between local challenges and global fluxes, both in terms of transport and it terms of culture if the inclusion of a ferry terminal and port center in the project would have been considered. The process is not finished so there is the possibility to correct the path and use this development as a chance to strength the port-city identity of Helsinki.

The maritime identity of the city is very clear when we walk on the waterfront, we can see old wooden ships, ice breakers, marinas, ferries and fishing ships. Besides there are also the shipyards, old warehouses and old cranes. This Genius Loci must be preserved. The new development projects must integrate these elements without affecting their meaning. Not all waterfront areas are the same, the variety should be protected and enhanced. A special sensibility is required when acting in these areas, otherwise there will be 130 km of green waterfront without a particular attachment to the place and the history. The construction started recently and the process will last for several decades, for this reason the benefit of the doubt is here needed.

When we see that the city and the citizens have the port as an important part of the collective memory it would be important to reinforce this aspect. The communication strategy followed by the city and the port regarding the port history could be improved. The city museum contains insufficient information and the existing billboards on the waterfront are in poor condition. In order to give to the people the information about what used to be there it would be interesting to find a more effective communication strategy. The project developed in Oslo could be a good example of how to do it.

The transformation of Helsinki is only in the beginning, therefore some aspects of the case are difficult to evaluate. The first steps are promising and looks like the change will improve significantly this growing city.

We could learn from several innovative practices developed by the PA and the city. The Vuosaari move was very successful and is a good example of how to implement a new port in the XXIst century. The way it relates with the context, the transparency, the sensibility to certain elements (like the lighting) and the general organization are positive aspects to be studied. The traffic management strategy to be implemented could be an important innovation to be applied in other cases. Helsinki is a proud port-city, the relation of the port with the citizens is probable the most important element of this case. This is something to be admire and to replicate in other contexts, for example Lisbon

The daughter of the Baltic Sea: Helsinki

The daughter of the Baltic Sea: Helsinki

Helsinki, Port City, capital City

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. A city with over 600 000 inhabitants and approx. 1,4 mill in the metropolitan area. These are relevant numbers if we consider that the overall population of Finland is just of 5.5 million persons. Also the Helsinki metropolitan area is responsible of approx. one third of the country´s GDP.

The city is placed in the shore of the Finland Gulf, a region that also includes other important cities like St. Petersburg and Tallinn, with which Helsinki has historical bounds. Geographically is a very complex area, as we can see in the images, the city has around 300 islands of different sizes and almost 130 km of waterfront. This context has forced a complex urban settlement and it is an important challenge in terms of urban and port planning.

Finland’s capital is a relatively young city when compare to others. It was founded in 1550 slightly northern than its present location, in the shores of the parish of Helsinge, by King Gustavus I Vasa, from Sweden. The goal was to create a merchant port city to rival with Tallinn on the other side of the Gulf of Finland. Later on, in 1640, the city was moved to its current location, from where the sea was more accessible.

Helsinki and Finland have spent most of its history under control of foreign kingdoms or empires. Until 1808 was integrated in the Swedish Kingdom as an important city for commerce and strategic reasons, but no as a Capital. During this period the city suffered several important fires and invasions by foreign troops, mainly the Russians. In 1808, after another Russian invasion, it passed to the hands of the emperor Alexander I. From that moment it gained the status of capital city of the Grand Duchy of Finland. During this time the city grew and gained several institutions that would express its capital city role, like the University, the Theatre or the Senate. The urban plan was drawn by J.A. Ehrenström, and C.L.Engel was appointed architect for the construction of the city.

Map of Helsinki, 1837 Source: Wikimedia.org
Map of Helsinki, 1837
Source: Wikimedia.org

During the Russian domination Helsinki established itself as capital city and developed an important cultural life. At the same time it gained a multicultural profile and even tourism started to flourish with the neighbor city of St. Petersburg.

During the first World War Helsinki was an important naval base, particularly the fortress of Suomenlinna, an important Landmark in Helsinki´s shore that has played a relevant role in its history. During the last phase of the World War I, in 1917, and in a tense social atmosphere, Finland´s Parliament approved the declaration of independence and Helsinki is the capital of the new republic.

Right after Finland became an independent country the civil war took place, with two sides named the whites (conservatives) and the reds (pro-bolchevikes). The first ones won the war with the help of the Germans. Over the last century Finland has kept a complicated relation with the Russian neighbor and has been involved in different conflicts because of this reason. During the World War II Helsinki suffered several bombings but nothing compared to what happened in German cities during the same conflict. This allowed the city to recover relatively fast and to keep most of its relevant buildings intact.

The last half of the XXst century was a growing period for Helsinki, during which its population would pass the half-million mark and the city would grow significantly. This expansion took place mainly in the outskirts encouraged by the massive presence of automobiles. Later on this car dependence would become a problem the city tries overcome.

In recent times one of the major changes that we have seen in Helsinki was the relocation of the main industrial port facilities to the new harbor of Vuosaari. This change would allow several significant urban projects destined to plan the future of the city. It is expected a significant increase of the number of inhabitants, some indicate around 200 000 to 250 000 until 2050.

The port of Helsinki

In the case of the Finnish capital the port is the raison d’être of the city. Since always it has been one of the main gateways for the import and export of cargo of the country. Nowadays is a crucial infrastructure for trade and passenger traffic. In a recent study about the economic impact of the port in the country and region´s economy it was explained that in terms of GDP it has an impact of 1% in the country, 2,7% in the region and 4,8% in the city.

The importance of the port is also clear in terms of employment. In the mentioned study is said that the port employs 24 000 people, we guess that is including direct and indirect jobs but is not explained. This number means 7,6% of Helsinki´s workforce and 1% of the entire country.

Regarding the distribution of the impact in the GDP of the different activities we see that clearly the cargo traffic is responsible for the 77% of this effect in the economy, and passenger traffic for 23%. However, in the same study we can see that this distribution is not the same in jobs. In this case the passenger traffic is responsible for 44% of the generated jobs and cargo traffic for 56%.

Port of Helsinki, Key figures. Source: Port of Helsinki
Port of Helsinki, Key figures.
Source: Port of Helsinki

Besides the obvious economic importance of the port, it is also one of the main identity elements in the urban landscape, particularly in the waterfront. Although the industrial port is no longer present in the city, since it moved to Vuosaari in 2008, the passenger and cargo ferry traffic has an important presence, that somehow creates a dynamic skyline. This sector is responsible for the majority of the almost 11 million passengers that pass through the port every year. Also between 25 and 30% of the Port comes in the ferries. This intense traffic is focus mainly in three destinations: Tallinn, Stockholm and St. Petersburg. In the first case, due to the short distance between both cities (80km), is even a commuters service, serving people that live in Tallinn and come to Helsinki for professional reasons.

The port before 2008 it used to be in several locations along the urban waterfront. Besides the land where ferry terminal are, the port used to take also the areas of Jätkäasaari in the west harbor and Sompasaari in Kalasatama in the east part of the city. Several decades ago the port had even more territories, specifically the Katajanokka island. At the present time, and after the main industrial port areas moved to Vuosaari, the port has reduced its presence in the city to the passenger terminals, the cargo handling associated with them and the remaining shipyard in the west harbour.

The waterfront

We have seen that the presence of the port in the city has been considerably reduced in last decade. But the changes in the waterfront started long before that. In the article written by Kyösti Oasmaa we can read that already in the 1970´s and 1980´s the first waterfront regeneration project already took place in Merihaka and Katajanokka. Later on from the 1980´s until early 2000´s also in Ruoholahti we could see another port territory be reconverted. It is clear though that the major change is taking place now, a process that started in 2008 and will continue during the next decades.

Since the industrial port moved out of the city several simultaneous operation have been taking place. In West Harbour we can identify different projects happening right now. Jätkäsaari is the main one in terms of size, but there are others, like Hernesaari, Salmisaari and Telakkaranta. All this new areas will be transformed into a mixed use neighborhood and it will join the Einraranta project, already finished, to form a new urban area by the waterfront. The figures of the West Harbour development are remarkable, all together the transformation will affect an area of 200 Ha, creating housing for 30 000 new residents and 20 000 workplaces.

West Harbour Project Source: www.hel.fi
West Harbour Project
Source: http://www.hel.fi

On the east part of the city we also see a major waterfront regeneration project, Kalasatama. In this redevelopment project the area to be transformed is not just port territories, but also several major industrial brownfields or the transformation of functioning power plants. Just like in the West Harbour project the numbers are impressive, in this case the area comprises 175 Ha of land, the construction should last until 2035, it should create housing for 20 000 new residents and 8000 new workplaces.

Helsinki future development projects Source: Municipality of Helsinki
Helsinki future development projects
Source: Municipality of Helsinki

As we have seen Helsinki is undergoing great transformation. We will see how all these new projects affect the relation with the port, and what role should it play in the city. Also we will see how is the relation between the city and the port, both in an institutional level and on an “emotional” one. In order to get the most precise information we will interview Ms. Satu Aatra, planning manager from the Port Authority of Helsinki, and Mr. Rikhard Manninen, director of the strategic Urban Planning Division.