What Does Building Green Mean in Port Cities?

Paolo De Martino*, J.M.K. Hanna, C.M. Hein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This article explores the concept of ‘green’ in architecture and urban design through the lens of port cities. Due to global pressures such as climate change, energy transition and soil consumption the planning of port cities requires new scenarios for achieving equilibrium between nature and water systems. Despite the fact that the concept of green is widely shared in both academic and professional fields –who could possibly oppose green?– it can be argued that the concept is also widely misused and misunderstood. This article uses the “Building Green” TU Delft Architecture master’s elective course (academic year 2021/2022) designed and coordinated by Carola Hein as a starting point for a larger discussion of whether the term green is helpful for achieving sustainability in port cities and at what scale. The course analyzes the concept of sustainability through time, arguing that people built green “by necessity” before the industrial revolution and it explores contemporary attempts at building “green by desire”. Finally, it asks for approaches of building “green by design”. The course argues that these diverse approaches to building green and the contemporary needs of sustainability are highly relevant for port cities. It challenges students to analyze a port city in light of its sustainability practices and to develop scenarios for sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Green
  • Design
  • Education
  • History
  • Sustainability
  • Scenarios


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