The North Port Development Project was launched in 2008. It concerns a vast swathe of waterfront, which the Port wants to turn into a world-class maritime and urban tourist centre. There are plans for a business district, a multi-use port district focused on passenger-based activities, cultural and leisure districts, and a residential area. The project is currently on display in the international passenger terminal, which also overlooks this North sector of the port. The Port’s current headquarters will be converted into a cruise terminal. The port is also looking at the feasibility of a new HQ, which would be housed in a smart building in the North sector, accompanying the port on its path to innovation.
The proximity of the Seine was one of the big arguments underpinning Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which focused heavily on the river’s potential benefits as part of an environmentally-friendly Games. As a result, the waterway is being used to transport the materials and excavated earth and waste from the worksites where the various venues and facilities are under construction. One such site is the future Olympic Village, with its 3,000 residential units. Haropa Ports de Paris and Voies Navigables de France are both working to ensure the Olympic-related activity is compatible with usual river logistics, whether in terms of port traffic or tourism. However, the Paris Games are being organised with an eye firmly on the future, with the Olympic Village set to be turned into an eco-district, while Haropa Ports de Paris is keen to use the Games as a way of accelerating its existing efforts to promote the energy transition, and to improve water quality in the Seine.
We have previously told you about several projects to enhance and showcase the aesthetic appeal of port infrastructures. The latest example is to be found at the Port of Strasbourg (France), which is hosting a month of artistic projections on the side of the Malteries d’Alsace silo. The project was made possible with the collaboration of the Rhine Higher Institute of Arts. The series of projections will showcase the past and present of the Rhine Port. In Rio (Brazil), the “Rua Walls” exhibition was recently inaugurated. The initiative, which saw 18 artists turn the walls of several warehouses into artworks, is also a community inclusion project. Another public art initiative is to be found in Toronto (Canada), where artists will be invited to take up residence on the Toronto waterfront for sixteen months, creating a dialogue with the local community and bringing vibrancy to the district. In early 2021, Toronto is also set to launch a new public urban art strategy for the next ten years.
Eleven teams submitted bids in response to the tender process organised by the Port, as reported last July. The aim was to come up with new uses and to integrate the Alfonso XII dock into the surrounding landscape more effectively. The winning project, named “La Ventana del Puerto”, includes a strong cultural component with the creation of exhibition spaces, including one close to the cruise terminal, and plans to showcase existing cultural installations and amenities. It will also create a multi-purposes public space equipped with mobile pergolas, gardens and play areas for children. Priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists, with a new underground route for vehicles. The three shortlisted proposals will be displayed at the port authority headquarters.