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This document reports some research into the city-port area, a topic that has been widely discussed in international literature and of which there are plenty of recent examples of development in Europe and abroad. The literature has two main focuses: uses and functions (Boulos 2016):


The first of these concentrates on the urban environment and often neglects the interests of the port. The second concentrates on port economics and pays little attention to the urban-maritime relationship.

This paper aims to link both areas – cities and ports – by studying the space they share: the interface. It finds that very little literature deals with both entities from a common perspective (Hein 2013), and that most studies focus exclusively on one side or the other (city or port) (Daamen 2007; Aarts et al. 2012). Little work has been done on the parameters common to both contexts (Berghe 2015). In the opinion of the author, the rigid structure of this academic research, instead of helping to enhance a fluid collaborative city-port environment, is fostering independent management systems. The established scientific classification suggests that both ambits, city and port, have to be managed using quite different principles. This research aims to make a comprehensive analysis of the city-port landscape with the aim of creating an environment of trust in which new policies of collaboration can be put into practice between the port and the city. It is expected to boost new city-port development models that are in tune with the demands of both the general public and industry. Administrative, physical and market contexts are examined here with the objective of providing a multidimensional and multidisciplinary perspective.

This study continues the line of research initiated by Daamen and Vries with their study of developments in European city-port interfaces and the consequences for the spatial city and port organization (Daamen & Vries 2012) and supported by Daamen’s studies on the Port of Rotterdam (Aarts et al. 2012; Daamen & Vries 2012; Daamen 2007), Wiegemans’ analysis of the city-port interface in Amsterdam and the intensification of land use (Wiegmans & Louw 2011), Grossmann’s research into city-port adaptive developments in Hamburg (Grossmann 2008) and Wiese’s economic-spatial analysis as an instrument for defining the port’s inland influence and the resulting interface (Wiese 2015)

Paying particular attention to the port environment, this research aims to analyze and describe the city-port interface in an administrative, market and spatial context, and generate reliable information about processes for converting port land to urban activities.

Urban activities in port environments are a recognized trend today (Sánchez Pavón 2003). They are not always successful, but they are useful instruments for improving city and port relationships. A specific description of the immediate influence of the port area, which is directly related to decisions on port expansion and development, is expected to contribute to the emergence of plans and procedures that are more
inclusive than those commonly advanced by cities and ports.

Daniel Lorenzo has been teaching design and urbanism at the Reus Architecture School since 2012. He did his MSc at the Institute of Housing and Development Studies (IHS) at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and graduated at the Barcelona Architecture School. His professional practice and research focuses on coastal developments and urban regeneration. Daniel Lorenzo received his Phd from the Universitat Rovira I Virgili with his thesis: “City-Port Interface. A Conflict on Urban Activities.” It was codirected by the Architecture School and the Economic Faculty of the URV.
Today Daniel Lorenzo is Head Architect at LoCa Studio, an architecture and urbanism office located in Barcelona which focuses on urban regeneration and rehabilitation.


Download the full thesis

Universitat Rovira i Virgili


Director: Ernest Ferré Ricart, architect
Josep Maria Arauzo-Carod, economist
Thesis year: 2016

Phd: Daniel Lorenzo Almeida

Jury: Francesc Muñoz, Benedetta Rodeghiero, Fernando Menis

LoCa Studio Architects Barcelona
LoCa Studio Architects Barcelona
LoCa Studio Architects Barcelona
LoCa Studio Architects Barcelona
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