Portcities have always been the places to be: their uniqueness is grounded in the triangulation of physical and virtual elements: trading goods, connecting people, and on-/off-boarding ideas.
Already in the 15th century their geographical position ranked higher than their size. The term portcity not only referred to oceanfronts, but also to riverside urbanizations. In any of these variants, the trade through portcities facilitated a country’s and region’s interconnectedness. It was up to the traders and shipping community to transform the local competitive advantage into a regional and nationwide one. Some succeeded countrywide, others turned into a trade and storage hub offering dispatching services for the next hub or withholding the goods before forwarded. The role of the connected hinterland evolved over time once the trade of goods and information turned into local trade and attracted sellers and customers in the wider spread areas. It is worthwhile to look into the distinct players and organizations. We know from our own research that multiple hundreds of organizations in the port area, the city nearby and the hinterland participate, share and engage in a portcity’s operations.
These days, portcities transfer port-sided land to turn it into highly priced residential and commercial real estate areas. If insufficient or purely developed by nature, constructional efforts help to regain land and consume space from commercial businesses. While us as ship lovers, cruise ship passengers or waterfront visitors all know about a portcity’s attractiveness, portcities need to turn incoming trade and tourism into sustainable business onsite. By observing tourist groups that traverse a portcity, hardly retail revenues go up. Portcities need to look into the unique opportunity they have to capture the interest and the preferences of any individual passenger and employee as soon as possible – ideally right from the start before the ship left the previous harbor.
[extract from article Port-Villes: Connecter Le Monde originally published in Le Tribune 2018]