The remains of the port: port memories in the new architectures on the waterfront

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In fluvial and maritime cities, the presence of the port leaves an indelible mark even when the port is disposed of or abandoned. Not only are appearances in existing infrastructures to convert to other uses, but it is also the perception of the genius loci that survives any transformation. It is a cultural memory even before functional, the result of a sedimentation of customs and habits, languages and traditions, struggles and hopes, which impregnate the atmosphere and which remain in sensitivity and mode of feeling of the inhabitants and visitors. So it is from this material but also immaterial heritage that the designer, who approaches the transformation of port for other uses, it begins to re-think in creative terms the waterfront. And this happens either knowingly or unknowingly, as a source of inspiration and recovery of memories and traditions that have marked the places for centuries. When writing a new page of these places, as a result of technological changes that occurred in freight transport and port activities in general, emerges strongly that the issue of identity, even reinvented, it remains a fundamental element for the recognition of a city that knows how to read his own past in the light of changes in society and its needs. A path through a number of these new architectures – from Marseilles to Copenhagen, from Lisbon to Hamburg – in European port will highlight the theme of building a new identity through the signs of the past.

Marta Moretti is born in Venice in 1961. Graduated in Contemporary History at the University of Venice (Ca’ Foscari) in 1986.
Founder and Board Member of the River//Cities Platform Foundation (, set up in Warsaw in 2010. She is jury member of the ESPO Awards for the editions 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Till April 30th 2013, she was Deputy Director of the International Centre Cities on Water, in Venice.  During her 24 years long collaboration with the Centre, she was involved mostly in editorial issues being Editor in Chief of the Centre’s magazine: Aquapolis (1992; 1996-2001) and Portus (2001-underway).
She was also Editor of the monthly digital newsletter of the Centre, Città d’Acqua News. She participates in conferences and seminars of the Centre’s issues at national and international level, and she partecipates to publications.
Since 1988, she writes for several local and national newspapers and magazines on cultural, urban and tourisms issues. Since 2005 she is regularly registered at the List of Journalist (Albo di Venezia).

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