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RETHINK PORT URBANISM

connotation of 'architecture' and 'port' in our culture

 

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    CHANGING DYNAMICS OF PORT TOWNS

    Niyati Soni
    Jun 7, '16 5:52 PM EST

    ​          Through history, the majority of larger cities have been located on the coast, as ports and harbors were the hubs for most forms of trade, investment and innovation. Port cities are now on the front-line of a changing global urban system. There are problems from restructuring of trade, logistics and ship-building, creating economic dependency, social exclusion and cultural destruction. Meanwhile, there exists new opportunities in heritage tourism, cultural industries and ecological restoration, but these opportunities often have negative impacts. as a result, many ports have lost their historic functions and suffer rapid decline. However, the port city as a ‘hotspot’ of decline can also offer opportunities as a hotspot for sustainable innovation, based on creative conjunctions of physical, social and economic resources.

    In a wider context cities are hubs for resource consumption and climate change pressures, but they also offer possible solutions for low impact living. They are the sites for social and economic tensions and conflicts, but also for social and economic innovation and progress. Most cities show not one but many layers alongside the official version of policy-makers with endemic problems of poverty and exclusion, ethnic and religious conflict, exploration and corruption. The new spatial geography of cities is fluid and emergent, and previously defined upon structures are now spreading into globalized ‘edge city’ sprawls, agglomerations, airport parks, logistics depot, and peri-urban hinterlands.

    So, the agenda for port cities is crucial- not only a local agenda, but for global- scale innovation and entrepreneurial action- on social, economic, cultural and political fronts. The challenge is not just to understand a static situation, but to anticipate and design creative responses, which work at multiple levels for multiple functions. All this call for new ways of thinking and working with complex inter-connected problems. This challenge is the theme of this research and its ‘synergistic’ approach: one of a series which explores the concept and applications of synergistic methods.Such problems and conflicts also point to a unique set of opportunities, which are also centered on port areas, port cities or port-centered agglomerations:

    . zones of creative destruction and creative experiments in obsolescent areas;

    . cross roads for transient and migrants, marine workers and cultural diaspora;

    . zones for capital accumulation in the circuit of urban poverty;

    . hubs for new social moments, socio- cultural enterprise, community initiative, etc.

    . accumulation of cultural built heritage, both new, recycled and obsolete;

    The 21st century will see radical changes in the business base underlying port operations.  Innovative systems, new idea of business trade and new technology will radically change requirement for port infrastructure and increase the degree of specialization, raising the financial stakes of port investments and the need for a highly specialized workforce. A Port Hub with all its contingencies under one roof. Changes in distribution patters and in the structure of the maritime geography will increasingly create a hierarchy of ports and some historical port related activities will be shifted to inland sites. Environmental and safety concerns will force on port-towns the requirements to impose regulations and provide facilities that may have no commercial return on investment.

    The world economies are becoming increasingly interrelated as a result of increasing trade and the growing trend towards globalization of production. The basic forces that have triggered the greater interrelation and interdependency of the world economics remain active. Thus, there is no reason to think that the observed trends will not continue. As the world economics become more intertwined, port-towns are being increasingly cast as partners in assisting customers to compete for business share in the global market.

    Changes taking place in the port sector present difficulties to port administrators, terminal operators and other port service providers. But these changes also present opportunities for new ways of doing business and open the door to entry of new players throughout the range of port activities. In short, it’s a brand new era for everyone involved in the port sector and the opportunities as well as the challenges are substantial.

    Traditional ways of doing business in ports are being challenged worldwide by demands for gains in port efficiency, increased customer responsiveness and lower cost to move cargo through the port. How time have changed! Most ports today are competing with one another on a global scale and, with the tremendous gains in productivity in ocean transport achieved over past several decades, ports are now perceiving to be the remaining controllable component in improving the efficiency of ocean transport logistics and entering their foot in non-profit concerned activities. Port-towns are now perfect specimen where creating business models is not a nil thing. Shifting focus from cargo handling, the ports here are moving ahead to cater to complete value-chain in port sector. Ports today seek to attract enterprises that extend their logistic chains or provide them a platform which specializes trade competences that empower growth and continues to drive its economy through integrated port-led development.

    The bottom line:

               Ports no longer operate in an insulated environment. They face the same competitive forces that companies in other industries experience. There is rivalry among existing competitors, continuing threats of new entrants, potential for global substitutes, presence of powerful customers and powerful suppliers. Where dealing with these forces is a continuing challenge for the port management, adding on another horizon that facilitates trade business at port town is the new trend of developing self-sufficient ports. It requires that the port be keenly aware of port user’s requirements, know their constraints in the global market and have a strategy for making the port a partner in business development. Recognizing this potential of the port-town to cater as epicenter for trade, a schematic outline can be formulated to realize this vision. An ideal blend of high quality trade facilities and of headquarter monitoring over various port maneuvers will optimize the capacity to harness global connectivity as an icon of progress.



     
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About this Blog

One aim of this project is to find an accessible way of talking about port architecture and to use it in exploring what might be the shared and defining characteristics of the port as constructs of the littoral – whether concrete or conceptual. The purpose of creating this blog is to gather attributes to which will ponder to my research on rethinking port urbanism. ...

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