In the Minds of People: Port-City Perspectives, The Case of Rotterdam

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Following the geographical ‘Any-Port Model’, urban design has stipulated and enforced the disunion of port and city over the recent decades. In conjunction with other disciplines, the emphasis has laid at dislocation of production activities in favor of logistic-productive dynamics. At the same time, professional focus was on the urban areas where most citizens are. While this practice has led to redevelopment of abandoned harbor areas too, foremost the approach stimulated stronger physical boundaries between lived city and the remaining and new harbor areas. This article describes the application of the dominant model in Rotterdam over the recent decades, on the base of literature review, and, it confronts this with the concepts of Rotterdam which are in the minds of professionals-in-training, through method of ‘mental mapping’. On the one hand, mainly harbor areas are memorized when respondents are asked to draw the port-city of Rotterdam, even though its efficient port infrastructure makes public space in these areas rare, and most harbors are located behind inaccessible borders. On the other hand, civic areas, which have a refined network of public spaces and are places for daily life, reveal also all kinds of tangible and intangible signs and symbols related to characteristics of the port-city when memorized; even more. Various elements, linked to water-land or the flows of goods, people, and ideas, dominate the minds of the people when they think of Rotterdam in general. These outcomes reconfirm the unique unity of port and city and provide a way to find an alternative or supplementary model accepting the complex nature of port-cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-81
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes (CPCL)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021): Port City Cultures, Values, or Maritime Mindsets, Part 2: Studying and Shaping Cultures in Port City Territories / Main Section


  • Public space
  • public space
  • Public Space
  • image of the city
  • mental map
  • Port-cities
  • Rotterdam
  • architecture
  • urban design
  • environmental psychology
  • Human geography
  • Cultural anthropology
  • urban development


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