The Transformative Force of Glocal Port-City Projects: Integrated Governance in the Rotterdam Region

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Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Management in the Built Environment (MBE), Chair of Urban Development Management (UDM) P.O. Box 5043, 2600 GA, Delft, The Netherlands Seaport cities function as hubs in global supply chains, and are often considered major engines of economic growth for their respective hinterlands (Wang et al. 2007). However, ports also create significant negative spillovers and externalities in their more local urban surroundings (Merk, 2014). Port cities are the places where the effects of global societal challenges like climate change and the energy transition are vividly felt, and it is thus believed that these places should play a central role in delivering transformative change towards sustainability. In the past, ports and cities have been growing apart in spatial, functional, economic, social and governance terms (Norcliffe et al. 1996). In the last decades, however, scholars observe a renewal of port-city links, and have argued that place-based projects in the port-city interface can play a significant role in shaping an institutional landscape favorable for innovation and sustainable outcomes (Daamen & Vries, 2013). The assumption is that, because these projects address multiple, interrelated problems, governance activities will have to penetrate different sectors and cut across different levels of scale in order to build the networks and capacities for integrated solutions (cf. Brenner, 2011). The empirical focus of this paper will be on the governance of such an integrated port city project: Wiltonhaven in the Rotterdam region, The Netherlands. Combining economic geography and spatial governance insights, the aim is to build an actor-oriented institutional understanding the project’s multi-level, cross-sectoral decision-making process, and evaluate its transformative force. Brenner, N. (2011) New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood. Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press Daamen, T.A. & I. Vries (2013). ‘Governing the European Port-City Interface: Institutional Impacts on Spatial Projects between City and Port’. Journal of Transport Geography, 27: 4–13. Merk, O. (ed.) (2014). The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities: Synthesis Report. Paris: OECD Norcliffe et al. (1996), ‘The Emergence of Postmodernism on the Urban Waterfront’. Journal of Transport Geography, 4: 123-134 Wang, J., D. Olivier, T. Notteboom & B. Slack (eds) (2007), Ports, Cities, and Global Supply Chains. Hampshire (UK): Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016
EventAAG2016: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers - San Fransisco, United States
Duration: 29 Mar 20162 Apr 2016


ConferenceAAG2016: Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers
CountryUnited States
CitySan Fransisco


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