MedCities attended the ‘Conference on Sustainable Urbanisation through Port City Transformation organized by the Union for the Mediterranean.

Representatives from countries, cities and regional and local governments as well as port authorities and regional stakeholders were invited to the meeting in which we could hear some concrete cases from MedCities members, for instance, Barcelona, Izmir and Tunis.

During the session the topics addressed talked about port cities as nodes of economic activity and infrastructure, hubs of population, and innovation centres. Ports and their adjacent cities have long played an important role in global exchange, industrialization, and territorial development, often leading local, regional, and national development. In present times, ports generate externalities on their territories that pose a challenge in finding the perfect balance between economic development and its impacts.

Izmir has grown and developed thanks to the millenary port and the mix of cultures it has brought throught centuries. The central role & the regeneration of the port are challenges for city’s development.

Mr. Kadir Eryüce- Counselor to the Mayor of Izmir

Living, working, producing, and recreating at the edge of land and water and amidst strong sectoral interests of ports and cities generate particular and sometimes conflicting spatial interests and challenges of stakeholder collaboration. Developing shared practices and approaches on port city collaboration builds upon a centuries-old tradition of collaboration among public and private actors in port cities.

It is important to bear in mind Mediterranean cities when approving decisions that concern its ports, as those choices are directly related and affect the citizens.

Mr. Josep Canals, MedCities Secretary General

Authorities of ports and adjacent cities have been striving to establish a new working relationship, which has proved to be challenging for various reasons. While port authorities focus on economic, technological, and financial progress to strengthen their global leadership role, neighbouring cities have their own requirements and agendas, economic functions, environmental standards, and social and cultural forms.

MedCities SG, Josep Canals

To find the balance between modern ports economic development and its impacts and the historical ones is a ral key because in most of Mediterranean cities the ports have still old uses that need to be integrated in the city, or renewed, and all this have a huge impact for the local governments and the inhabitants.

Mr. Josep Canals, MedCities Secretary General

Due to the unique character of each port and city and the specificity of their respective challenges, engaging in port city regeneration projects requires local knowledge, global awareness, comprehensive engagement, as well as environmental, spatial, social, and cultural expertise.

In this sense, there is a need to develop shared visions to develop urban regeneration projects while strengthening land-use compatibility and integration of the port and city through urban planning and zoning. Also, these projects must establish governance structures aligned with the specific purposes of the urban regeneration plans, incorporate public participation processes, and develop suitable funding and financing models. New uses, and how the connection with the existing city is solved are also key questions this urban regeneration projects must address.

Some Tunisian ports have built special terminals with easy access to the medinas. For instance, Tunis port Port de la Goulette combines comercial, ndustrial,touristic and sport marina docks.

Mr.Foued Otham, CEO Office de la marine marchande et des ports, Tunisia

MedCities thanks to the Union for the Mediterranean for the invitation to share this experience and the rich debate. Furthermore, the Secretary-General from the association could exchange some impressions about the main subject with Mr. Sabri Ergen, the UfM Deputy Secretary-General for the Transport and Urban Development with who other MedCities projects about urban development were shared.

Mr. Ergen and Mr. Canals met during the conference in the UfM

From MedCities, and following the Strategic Plan MedCities 2030, the creation of working groups will be set in order to foster a dialogue among mayors, concerning the impacts of ports in neighbouring cities and the will of a fruitful dialogue with port authorities, following the pacts of the COP22 of the Barcelona Convention and its protocols, where submission to the IMO was approved in order to create an Emission Control Area for sulphur dioxides on all of the Mediterranean Sea. One of these working groups will be focused on the relationship between ports and cities.

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