When “port out –city in” becomes a strategy: Revisiting the land-use conflict in the European port-city interface

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Within the majority of port city literature, the evolution of port cities is still explained as an inevitable process wherein maritime land-uses gradually migrate from city centres towards waterfront zones with deep water access. Between the 1950s and 2000s, obsolete port areas around the world have surely become waterfront redevelopment sites, often with high-end urban property development signified by iconic architectural projects. The financial-economic success of this process has led to land use conflicts in many port cities, where operational maritime functions have been pressured out of the city in order to make room for urban functions. In this paper, however, we argue that the spatial conflicts in the contemporary port-city interface can no longer be explained by forces of port-urban planning and ‘highest and best’ economic land-use principles. Illustrated by the case of Amsterdam, we explore the current phase in the port-city interface evolution from a relational perspective, and show that—at least in Europe—it is signified by competing political economic concerns about affordable housing provision, decarbonisation, and sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventIAME 2021 Conference: 'Accelerating Transitions' - nHow hotel, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Nov 202127 Nov 2021


ConferenceIAME 2021 Conference
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Accepted author manuscript


  • Port-City interface


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