Linking Ports and Citizens: A shared vision for the Future
Venice, Italy – 16/17/18 November
The term glocal is defined in Oxford’s dictionary as something “having features or relating to factors that are both local and global”. There is no better example of “glocal” than port cities. The connection between global supply chains and the local context has been one of the dominating topics for anyone working or researching the port-city relationship. It is indeed one of the challenges of our time. However, while the global elements seem to be clear (worldwide shipping lines connecting different parts of the world, multinational corporations, global institutions such as the IMO defining the regulations for international trade, etc.) what is the “local” part of this equation? Do we mean the physical settings that define the land-water interaction or set the physical boundaries? Do we mean the local institutions, the port city ecosystem that have the responsibility of looking after the local business and public good?…
Nothing is more local than the citizens who live in the port city territory. In fact, we often refer to them as the “locals”. Their language, traditions, habits, and way of life are often referred to as “local culture”. What role remains for these citizens, who alternatively benefit or suffer from the effects of port activities? Global initiatives such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals or the AIVP Agenda 2030 for sustainable port cities, are meaningless without the citizens themselves. If the “locals” are not included in the discussion and implementation of concrete projects, we will not succeed in becoming more sustainable. The question remains then, how is it possible to establish the link between the port activities, intrinsically influenced by global technical and financial trends, and the citizens and communities which represent the essence of the local?
As if that was not enough, there is yet another dimension to consider in this equation. AIVP has often highlighted innovation as the key to reconcile contradictions between ports and cities. In order to achieve this ideal of sustainable development in all its dimensions (the energy transition, climate change adaptation, biodiversity protection, renew governance, sustainable mobility, etc.), we require technological innovations, which are developed and tested responding to complex theoretical models, in virtual environments and laboratorial conditions. What happens when these solutions reach the “real world”? How is the link between these innovative technologies and the port-city reality the citizens face every day? While society goes through one technological breakthrough after another, how is it possible for citizens to have time to learn and be part of this process? How is it possible to strengthen the link between technological innovation and the locals?
Linking global and local, technology and the citizens
This double challenge will define our capacity to co-construct a shared vision for the sustainable future that we want for port cities. Social acceptability and citizen dialogue are the essential foundation of innovative ports. Venice is an extreme example of some of these challenges. This emblematic port city has been long threatened by sea-level rise and flooding, often at the forefront of social issues such as tourism, while also keeping and protecting local culture and heritage. Containing all the elements of this equation we want to answer, it is the perfect scenario for the forthcoming AIVP conference on November 16th, 17th and 18th 2023.
In Venice, AIVP in cooperation with the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority will offer a rich program, hosting sessions to discuss, among others, the citizen dialogue in the implementation of solutions for the energy transition, climate change and resilient port cities. We will also tackle issues such as the balance of global trends, like tourism or blue economy, with local priorities, including the valorization of heritage and the local port-city identity. We will also see how new port-city interface projects and visions are becoming the worldwide base for a renewed link between ports and citizens, a place where the glocal occurs, and innovation can take place in a human way. These and many other topics will be addressed in our forthcoming conference.
We hope to see you in Venice and help us discover how we can create new links and recover old ones.
Venice - ITALY