Cultural heritage as resilient driving force for the next economy in the port-city of Naples

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


Ports have the characteristic to be both infrastructural hub and cultural identity core within a city. This specificity produces a wide complexity in the definition of contemporary urban planning strategies. Very often, preserving the features of port activities, hinder the social desire to live and perceive the waterfront as integrated part of the coastal city.
The research purpose provides port areas, and in particular, the areas in-between city and port, as especially suitable places to rethink the port-city development towards next economies. This multidisciplinary approach is based on the transformation of resources in new economies through a sensitive and ecological perspective. Repair, reuse and upgrade the existing elements of the city is a renewed way to improve resilience in port-city development focusing on adaptive planning actions related to local practices and cultural environment. In this regard, the sustainable development strategy copes with external disturbances as a result of social, political and environmental changes and, assuring the need of common grounds in the contemporary cities, it can also represent the starting point for a new way of thinking about the waterfront as public space.
The research deals with the well-known issue of the renewal of historical waterfronts towards the next economy strategy in the case study of Naples in Italy.
Naples port-city interface is a conflictual space shaped by complex decision-making processes among actor networks with different tools, ideas and goals. These aspects have led port and city to develop into separate entities, from a spatial, functional as well as administrative point of view.
Therefore, the interstitial area between city and port became a place of contradictions that gathers different actors and interests and where often the lack of dialogue and strategic vision has transformed the port in the main element of separation between city and sea.
Since the second half of the 19th century, the relation between city and port in Naples has changed dramatically. The transition to the modern port and its containerization processes definitively interrupted the historical and functional integration of port and city. These processes altered also the perception that people have of the city and port as a whole. The historical city has gradually lost the contact with the sea and today new roles for these areas in transition are required.
Nowadays, investigating port-city relations in Naples, entails to think about the crossroads of these two complex elements, the infrastructure and the urban core, which evolve with different timings and dynamics. The research aims to offer a new perspective dealing with issues like the coexistence of different functions, the re-using of common goods and the re-shaping of the maritime identity. Cultural heritage as the palimpsest of tangible and intangible elements, can play an important role in defining new economies and new quality of the public space in-between city and port.
The latest Italian reform of the port system represents the background of rules through which analyse the contemporary public debate around the evolution of the port stressing the need to find new ways to rethink the port as part of the landscape as well as infrastructure at different levels of scale.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event30th Annual Aesop Congress 2017: Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity: Fostering the European Dimension of Planning - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 11 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


Conference30th Annual Aesop Congress 2017
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