Covid-19: cooperation and sharing experience more important than ever
AIMF, the International Association of Francophone Mayors, continues to add to its online platform with new initiatives and solutions that could be adopted not just by the organisation’s members, but across the world more generally. Other networks, like IAGF (Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers), are sharing their assessments of the situation for certain countries (Africa, Argentina, etc.) and the challenge posed by climate change in the post-Covid world. UN-Habitat has also unveiled its city resilience action planning programme, which covers 64 countries and draws on practical experience to aid national and local governments, especially the most vulnerable. The action plan mirrors the appeal launched by the World Urban Forum, with its emphasis on cooperation and sharing experience and solutions.
Sharing, partnerships, experience pooling are also keywords for initiatives looking ahead to the post-Covid world and the future of our cities, as with the forum “What will we do tomorrow?” or the appeal for contributions launched by PUCA, an urban planning, construction and architecture body that is part of the French Ministries of Ecology and Territorial Cohesion.
These keywords are naturally hugely important to AIVP also, having always been part of our organisation’s DNA and our raison d’être for the members of our international network!
Once off-limits, Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves have become a hugely popular new precinct
Helsinki: a citizen-centric smart city
Helsinki is aiming to establish its smart city credentials and has identified two key priorities: achieving carbon neutrality by 2035, and becoming the most functional city in the world for the well-being of its residents. As part of this strategy, the former port precinct of Kalasatama is being transformed into an eco-district. Nearly 25,000 residents and 10,000 workers are expected to settle in this area of north-eastern Helsinki by 2030. While the project entails a range of different environmental solutions, the aim is to create a brand new district in full consultation with the population. A sustainable city, designed both for and with citizens, in the words of the deputy director of urban planning.
Almeria (Spain): a 275-berth marina, shops, green spaces and promenades set to open by 2021
Post-COVID: re-thinking our cities
Initiatives to share practical experiences and measures that have proved successful in tackling the Covid-19 crisis are continuing. Some take the form of webinars organised by the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN) and the World Bank, while others involve the use of online databases, like the one published by a research centre at New York University.
However, we are also keen to share with you some of the ideas being floated, about what the post-COVID world should look like. In the wake of the current pandemic, we will need to re-think and reshape our cities, as living metropolises designed around relations and local services and communities, as argued by Carlos Moreno, a member of AIVP’s network of experts. The ICLEI believes nature will need to regain its place in our urban environments, while others are calling for more resilient cities. Will the crisis have a positive impact on our economic, social, environmental and public health policies, as this panel of experts called for during their debate? While experience from previous crises leaves some sceptical, it may be the case that some far-reaching changes were already in motion even before the current crisis began…
Floating public spaces in the heart of Copenhagen
Parkipelago was designed by Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Danish firm Studio Fokstrot. A first small island was created in 2018, and proved successful. Plans for three more will be put forward in 2020. They will be built using sustainable and recyclable materials, and will be mobile, capable of being shifted to various port sites. This flexible solution has already won an award, and could potentially be reproduced in numerous other port cities.
Will the coronavirus change the way we plan the city and inhabit the planet?
In our special Covid-19 newsletter on 1 April, we informed you about several international networks of cities that have published online resources to share the measures and solutions adopted by their members in response to the pandemic: Cities for Global Health, EUROCITIES, and the AIMF – the International Association of Francophone Mayors. Others have followed their example, including 150 urban decision-makers who share best practices via the platform UrbanLeague.
Architects and urban planners have also responded, suggesting solutions for building field hospitals from recycled containers, creating clinics, masks, and converting existing buildings into hospitals.
However, the pandemic has also generated a raft of different views about what the future should look like for our cities and our planet. As such, it could be an opportunity to rethink our approach to mobility and modes of travel within cities, taking a fresh look in order to consider issues of health and well-being, or to help us better understand climate change, and even tackle it more effectively.
Is this overly optimistic? Are these new approaches essential or inevitable? The debate is open.
Life after oil: could old oil rigs be used for residential units in the future?
Fenix I: Mei Architects develops 212 apartments above a former port warehouse by in the Rijnhaven district of Rotterdam (Netherlands)
The Arctic University Museum designed by Henning Larsen will be built on the waterfront in Tromsø (Norway)
New Port Center in Dunkirk
Last Saturday, 4th of July, the Port Center of Dunkirk (France) opened its doors to public for the 1st time. The process started 2 years ago, with the support of the main partners, the Urban Community of Dunkirk, the Port Authority, ACMAPOR association (Association for the creation of a home for port life and traditions) and the Port Museum. The new Port Center is located in the Port Museum and its exhibition is based on 7 topics: the identity the port, ships, goods, men, territory, prospects and opening to the world. The new space with 240 sqm. will be main point for the port-city-citizen relationship.
Port of Dakar (Senegal) extends its support to local hospitals, donating 10 mechanical ventilators.
Beauport Bay in Quebec (Canada) will be the object of significant investment to mitigate the effects of the Laurentia project. The interventions have been agreed in a collaborative effort with local organizations
➜ Port of Quebec
Protecting Biodiversity in Port Cities: Working with nature in Sevilla
The port of Sevilla (Spain) presents an innovative project combining the management of dredging sediments and the creation of new habitats for threatened aquatic birds. This project follows the new work philosophy of “working with nature” and is a collaboration with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). More ports around world are making new efforts for biodiversity. The port of Singapore has commissioned a coral relocation and conservation program, and in Imbituba (Brazil), the port launched the 12º edition of the whale monitoring program as part of their environmental plan.
Port Cities and Universities working together
Human Capital development is goal 5 of the AIVP Agenda 2030, and a priority for many members. The port of Venice will allocate €600k for the Ca’ Foscari University to create a study center focused on maritime and logistic activities. Part of the funding will also be dedicated to the new “Venice Science Gallery”. In Bahía Blanca, Argentina, the port has signed new agreements with the National Technological University (Bahía Blanca Regional Faculty), with whom we have already been working together, to develop new educational programs. In Algeciras, Spain, the city, the port and the university are working together for the creation of the European Sea University, in the Lago Marítimo project.
The Port of Auckland (New Zealand) create a vertical garden
The aim is to integrate its car-handling terminal building more effectively into the urban surroundings. It will form a local landmark for the City Port and its roof will be turned into a public park within a few years. It will also promote biodiversity. The garden meets sustainability criteria, and everything in it can be either re-used or recycled.
New EU project to reduce the air and acoustic pollution in cities. The port of Valencia will host one of the pilot projects.
Archive of the port of Lisbon joins the celebration of the City of Archives of Barreiro, with special visits and exhibitions.
Is hydrogen the best solution for the energy transition in Port Cities?
Reducing the emissions and the environmental footprint is one of the main challenges for port cities. Even though in some cases, urban traffic might be the main pollution source, as the Port of Valencia (Spain) shows in a recent study, ports still play a crucial role. Although there is no silver bullet, a combination of existing solutions and new fuels like hydrogen is showing promising results. For example, in Lisbon (Portugal), the city announced a pilot project of a green hydrogen production station for vehicles, while the port will electrify its quays starting in 2022, reducing cruises pollution. In Valencia, the port will have a hydrogen refuelling station already in 2021, framed in the H2PORTS EU project. Other key green energy projects in Spain are going to take place in the port of Bilbao, where industry leader Repsol will invest €80 million. One project will be one of the largest net zero emissions synthetic fuel production plants, based on green hydrogen, while the other will be gas production plant from urban waste. The importance of hydrogen is visible in the national strategies of some countries, like Germany.
Efforts of AIVP members recognized in the WPSP awards
The winners of the 6 awards of the World Port Sustainability Program (WPSP) were announced on June 24th. This program, of which AIVP is one of the founding partners, recognizes the efforts of ports around the globe to contribute to the sustainable development agenda. In this edition, organized in 6 categories, AIVP members earned well deserved recognitions. The ports of Valencia and Venice are part of the winning entry for resilient infrastructure, the collaborative project “Green and Connected (Green C) Ports”. The ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and North Sea Port earned via the Dutch Seaports organization the award for governance and ethics. Other members also were among the finalists in several categories, such as the ports of Marseille, Rotterdam (in a second category), Helsinki or Montreal.
Public investment and financial aid in port cities
After the first wave of cultural and social initiatives, port cities around the globe are presenting their plans for the post-covid recovery. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has communicated a package of $27 million of financial support for companies, as well as for professionals training and employment support. In the USA, the ports of LA and Seattle have presented renewed infrastructural investments plan. In the case of LA, the port will invest $367million to reduce the impact on the local economy and employment, while in Seattle the plan includes $1.5billion in 20 projects, including also airport facilities. At the same time, in Spain, the ports of Valencia and Bilbao have followed a similar path. While in Valencia the port presented a financial aid package of €57,2 million to support local port companies, the port of Bilbao announced that their investment plan for 2020 will reach €67 million, to support the economy and employment creation.
The sustainable port is both smart and collective
The CEOs of the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam have laid out converging visions for the future development of their respective ports, one having just returned from the World Economic Forum, the other speaking about in an interview about forward-looking prospect for the port. Both agree that the fight against climate change and the need for a carbon-neutral port economy are absolutely crucial. Technological innovation, both onshore and offshore, and moves to optimise logistics chains, will of course form part of the solution. Beyond that, however, the success of these changes will depend on the ability of ports to forge new partnerships and work collectively, by bringing their communities together around a shared process of transformation.
➜ Port of Rotterdam / Flows
To ease congestion on the roads, the Port of Melbourne (Australia) has confirmed plans to develop its rail infrastructure (with a €16 million investment)
Kribi (Cameroon): first 31 businesses now setting up in the port zone, with another 150 set to follow.
Vlissingen – North Sea Port (Netherlands): first developments for the Borsele 1+2 offshore wind farm that will eventually provide power to a million homes
Major trends and scenarios for the evolution of logistics
In the majority of port cities, logistics activity is increasingly structuring the territory. Marking out the future of this sector is becoming necessary. To this effect, the Urban Planning Agency of Marseille (France) remind us of a few key points. The massification of world trade flows will continue leading to the concentration of shipowners, the adaptation of ports, the extension and robotisation of warehouses, the emergence of single operators. In the era of e-commerce, the optimisation of the last mile has also become crucial. Nevertheless, land transport remains the weak link in this ecosystem with difficulties in massifying flows and proportionally a heavier CO2 impact. Pooling could be part of the answer but not all sectors believe in it. At the heart of these developments, the issue of employment appears to be an additional challenge for the territories.
Rwanda: Four ports on Lake Kivu earmarked as an alternative to road transport
Lake Kivu in western Rwanda marks the border with the neighbouring DRC. The four ports will be built with the help of the Netherlands, and spread out from the north to the south of the lake. They will promote improved mobility for passengers and goods between the various districts along the bank. Within twenty years, they should handle the majority of commercial cross-border trade and some 3 million passengers. The Government is also keen to use the ports as a platform for more ambitious plans to kick-start water-based transport on other lakes and rivers in Rwanda. The aim is to reduce the use of onshore transport infrastructures, maintenance of which represents a significant portion of the national budget. Finally, the project will help to boost competitiveness for both the food industry (beer, tea, coffee) and the cement industry, while also giving a lift to the tourist sector.