New Futures for Older Ports: Synergistic Development in a Global Urban System
Port cities are 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. This paper addresses the question of how port cities can steer from negative to positive development paths and outcomes. It sets out a way of working with inter-connected economic, social, political and technological factors—a ‘ synergistic ’ approach to mapping of problems and design of policy responses. Looking at three contrasting examples of port cities—Liverpool, Dubai and Mauritius—we can compare the inter-connected dynamics of growth and decline. Then we can understand the inter-connected factors of successful regeneration and sustainable prosperity, not as linear ‘policy fixes’, but more like synergistic processes of learning, innovation and capacity building. These call for new models for creative innovation in social and community enterprise: cultural heritage both old and new; new social finance and investment; socio-ecological restoration with participative governance, etc . Such pathways and opportunities are now emerging in many different locations; this paper provides methods and tools to understand them and promote them.
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