Helsinki: a citizen-centric smart city

 Climate change 

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.

Smart Grid (1/2) ; Smart Grid (2/2) ; Smart Kalasatama

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

 Port city interface 

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.

Archdaily (+ images)

Will the coronavirus change the way we plan the city and inhabit the planet?

 Climate change 

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.



Port City Futures: A research project for port city values and culture


This multidisciplinary research project launched in 2018 studies the development of the port city region of South Holland and other international cases to understand the local-global connection in society and urban development. New research carried out within the framework of the project proposes to define common values for the different actors involved in port cities. It will then make it possible to find solutions to make compatible interests which were initially divergent. Other projects from these researchers also focus on disclosing port city culture, as it was visible in their recent compilations of books and movies, or music evoking the harbour or maritime atmosphere.

Port City Futures, Port City Music, Spotify Playlist


Positive social actions in port cities during difficult times

 Health and life quality 

On the social field, municipalities and port authorities are also stepping up. The port of Valencia launched the campaign #AlPieDelCañón, sharing videos in social media from port workers, recognizing their efforts to keep supermarkets and hospitals supplied. These videos show the different type of professionals involved in port activities. Other social initiatives include the campaign by the municipality of Bilbao in cooperation with the citizens to detect isolation cases among vulnerable groups, like the elderly. In a similar way, the port of Quebec, has assembled teams of volunteer port workers to work with community organization to deliver essential goods to several port cities.

Port of Valencia, Port of Quebec, City of Bilbao

Accessing to Port City Culture during the quarantine

 Culture and identity 

Parallel to the health and economic measures, port city actors are developing cultural and educational initiatives to bring port city culture closer to those in quarantine, particularly children. Last week we saw the work from Trieste, Barcelona, Tarragona and Livorno. This week, Puertos del Estado released a colouring book about ports, similar to the one AIVP published entitle “Port Cities”. The Port Center of Le Havre has also gathered online resources to bring the people closer to the port from their living room, including serious games or video content. In a similar way, the Port City Futures project from Leiden, TU Delft and Rotterdam Erasmus universities has compiled books, films and documentaries to experience port city culture from home (source). Other AIVP members like La Marina de Valencia, is also sharing online content, including the concerts from last season in La Pérgola . AIVP YouTube channel also include entertainment about port cities, including the AIVP Doc(k) videos with several experts. Following the same idea, our partner the “foundation Sefacil” is publishing for free one book per week about their research.

Port of Trieste, El Vigía, Port of Tarragona, Port Center of Livorno, Puertos del Estado, AIVP Colouring book, Port Center of Le Havre, Port City Futures, La Marina de Valencia, AIVP Doc(k), Sefacil

Development strategies for the Casablanca (Morocco) coastline

 Climate change 

The Moroccan Interior Ministry and the Casablanca Urban Planning Agency have begun examining ways of making the City’s more attractive to visitors, by capitalising on its tourist and economic potential. The project concerns a large area, covering 90 km of coastline, eight administrative territories, the port, a marina, the grand mosque, considerable landscape and built heritage, etc. It will also aim to anticipate natural and climate risks. The ANP (Morocco’s National Ports Agency) has already launched a number of projects for new access routes, the fishing port, the shipyard, and a new cruise terminal. .

Aujourd’hui Le Maroc

Call for tenders for a new opera house in Tallinn (Estonia)

 Port city interface 

The “Opéra by the Sea” will be built in a former port precinct close to the old town, as part of a project aimed at creating both a cultural hub and an iconic building, regenerating and improving the attractiveness of the whole district. Deadline: August 2020.

UNI ; Competition brief

Phase 2 of the Euroméditerranée project in Marseilles (France): moving towards a resilient city

 Climate change 

Euroméditerranée has signed a framework agreement with the firm Leclercq Associés, partnered with Setec, to act as urban planning and design consultants for specific districts concerned by this vast development project. They will look closely at strategy on housing and public spaces. The wider aim is to design what could be the sustainable Mediterranean city, one capable of meeting the challenges posed by climate change. AIVP members will no doubt want to keep a close eye on the process and the resulting solutions.
(Euroméditerranée and Setec International are both AIVP members).

Le Moniteur ; Euroméditerranée