Plan the city with the port



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For nearly two decades European port cities have been throwing themselves into ambitious redevelopment projects for neglected port waste lands, spaces that link urban and historic centres to the industrial zones of activities associated with the port. Today these spaces have become a central issue as they represent exceptional land opportunities both by their size and locality as well as their strong maritime or fluvial identity. In the long term these spaces provide the opportunity for a port city to propose quality housing alternatives, public spaces and facilities that will attract and retain new categories of population in the city centre. Moreover, renovating these spaces will enable the port city to change an image that is often damaged and to find new competitiveness with regard to private investors.

In parallel to these urban objectives the port authorities who also have to maintain their competitiveness within a context of increased competition, seek constantly to adapt the spaces they are responsible for to the demands of international maritime operators. The development of logistic and service industry activities linked to the function of an international port greatly incites them to resist urban pressure over the spaces that link the city and the port so that they can propose conditions to companies that are in conformity with their business. City and port are thus confronted with the obligation of a permanent negotiation regarding the development of the City-Port linking spaces. While necessary, this negotiation, in which multiple public and private contributors take part, has to be supervised in a way that avoids paralysing port or city projects following whichever party "wins", both situations being prejudicial to the competitiveness of the overall port city.

Seeking a balanced City-Port development on this land where so much is at stake necessitates a common City-Port reflection on the issue, by looking for solutions for these linking spaces that associate both quality of life for the city dwellers and performance for the port function and this can only be achieved by eventually implementing compensatory measures.

Faced with these facts and the development projects for these port spaces that are already underway, offering a large sample panel of the types of operation possible, the city of Le Havre and the partners of this project propose implementing a cooperation programme that associates port authorities and urban decision makers.

To carry out this project, the participants propose to start from the postulate, common to the partner port cities, of the search to maintain the competitiveness of certain port functions in the framework of programmes of revitalisation of the interface spaces of the port city.

This project will be based on a comparative analysis of the situations presented by several port cities of North-West Europe. We shall thus be led to:

  • Undertake a typology of the port facilities, existent or being the subject of possible developments in this sector, and their working constraints examined;
  • Undertake a typology of the possible urban redevelopments (accommodation, commerce and shops, public installations, etc.) compatible with the port functions to be protected or redeveloped. The conditions of these redevelopments will be examined.
  • Determine the added value of the compatible urban and port redevelopments on the port city, in terms of job creation, tourist developments, sustainable development, etc.

It will lead to the drawing up of a guide of good practices and recommendations having as object the successful mixing of port and urban functions in the connecting spaces between city and port.

The project will therefore enable the partners to:

  • Take stock of the situation and make a comparative analysis of the existing and planned urban and port development strategies;
  • Draw up a Guide of good practices and recommendations;
  • Ensure a transfer of competences on port-city projects;
  • Contribute in the design and the development of innovative urban-port projects through the sustainable mix that they will ensure;
  • Put into value the initiatives of the partners of this project and of their network of stakeholders;

Develop a network of stakeholders implicated in city-port projects.

Lead Partner

City of Le Havre (France)


Port of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Port of Bremerhaven (Germany)

City of Gdansk (Poland)

Riga Freeport Authority (Latvia)

International Association Cities and Ports