Port Cities as Hotspots of Creative and Sustainable Local Development 1st 2nd September 2012

Port Cities as Hotspots of Creative and Sustainable Local Development

Meeting on PORT CITIES AS HOTSPOTS OF CREATIVE AND SUSTAINABLE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT will be held in Naples on September 1-2, 2012, in the framework of the World Urban Forum (September 1-7, 2012). The aim of the Meeting is to discuss principles, tools and practices of creative places, for the identification of successful policies and for the formulation of recommendations to balance economic prosperity with social needs and conservation of eco-systems in reinventing the city.
Nowadays, port areas can constitute the entry point and core place for sustainable development for the entire urban system with their dynamism that makes them as magnets. To understand and exploit this potential, it will be necessary to design an analytical framework which would link the new opportunities provided by traditional port areas/cities to creative, resilient and sustainable urban development. From that perspective, there is a need to develop fit-for-purpose, dedicated policy tools and initiatives, on the basis of general planning principles for harbour front and sea front development. This task would have to be undertaken against the background of the challenge to improve the socio-economic and ecological resilience of a port city – in relation to the city system – and to activate many initiatives that would convert historic-cultural urban port landscapes into sustainable and creative hotspots, starting from re-using, recovering and regenerating such places.
This would also call for a new analytical apparatus in which integrated assessment of novel initiatives would have to be ensured in order to balance also conflicts between interests and values of a multiplicity of stakeholders.
A simultaneous improvement of policy goals associated with port development – such as job creation, foreign direct investment, creative sector development, environmentally-benign mobility, and sustainable land use – would thus be a major task for a modern city.
Clearly, cities are not only engines of economic progress, but they are also the places where cultural heritage is prominently present. This also holds for port cities, which house a wealth of remaining from the past: warehouses, silos, wharfs, lighthouses, industrial archaeology, and so forth. Many port landscapes are recognized as UNESCO sites. Here the conflict between conservation of historic-cultural values and economic interests is very intensive. Creativity is required to manage these conflicts between private and public interests, past and future, new and old values, etc.
It seems therefore plausible to seek the anchor points of urban rehabilitation/revitalization of port areas in their undervalued land use related to past activities.
The general condition is that cities should be able to develop highly innovative strategic approaches in planning, design, conservation and management that really integrate harbour development into comprehensive urban development.
Indeed, organizational and economic innovation and creativity are key to improve the resilience of a city/port system, and thus the overall sustainability.
Good practices can be found in various urban economies, and good experiences can also be found in the conservation of cultural heritage and historic landscape port areas (also in UNESCO port cities). They should be carefully assessed in their capacity to combine and balance intangible values and economic ones.
A final document (manifesto) will be prepared, to be presented and discussed the 4th September, into the WUF.