The tragic accident in Beirut did much to focus minds. Port cities around the world are investing massively to make their logistical and port operations safer.
In Rouen (France), which saw a major fire at the Lubrizol plant last year, serious discussions and pollution clean-up efforts are under way to allow the company to resume its industrial activities safely.
Around a hundred kilometres away, in Le Havre, citizens are taking part in a public debate about planning rules and industrial safety. One district located in the port zone is exposed to technological risks, and its residents are keen to discuss the situation with the local authorities.
Outside Europe, strong measures are being taken to improve industrial safety. In Dakar (Senegal), the national authorities and the Port have removed all of the ammonium nitrate present in the area. A new inspection process has also been adopted, applicable to all hazardous products arriving at the port. In the same vein, in Chittatong (Bangladesh), stocks of hazardous products that have been abandoned are now systematically destroyed to eliminate the risk of accidents.
The international competition was aimed at designing a new Novascotian art gallery, along with public spaces for the waterfront precinct which is to be turned into an “arts district”. The projects shortlisted are currently being presented for public feedback until the end of October.
The complexity of port-city territories demands constant dialogue between institutions and citizens, supported with educational actions. This is clear for the Chilean ports of San Antonio and Valparaiso. In the case of San Antonio, the port joined the webinar “educate to create” along with municipality to explain how the port functions and its relevance for the city, where it has offered great social support. In Valparaiso, the port company requested the local universities to join the debate about the port future. In port cities like Marseille, local politicians, including the special rapporteur for maritime affairs and ports, are demanding to enlarge the port-city debate to include the citizens. In this frameworks Port Centers are crucial tools to support educational programs and citizen dialogue.
The port-city connection is not only economic and environmental, but also cultural. This week we have seen several ways to disclose the port city culture. One option is to collaborate with local events and institutions. The port of Dublin is cooperating with the local Festival of History in a series of online events. In other ports, like Lisbon, the port authority also collaborated with the Museo do Oriente in the framework of the European Heritage Days with free visits. In Spain, for example the port of Seville just signed a cooperation protocol with the regional heritage institute to study and protect the port’s industrial heritage. Another option is to host port days, as the port of Leixões just did, even though this year’s edition took place virtually. In a similar way, the Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority (Genoa and Savona) is preparing the 2020 edition of their port day including visits, lectures and exhibitions. Other activities to disclose port-city culture are historic pedestrian rallies, as the one from the port of Quebec, Canada. Finally, ports can also contribute to the city’s cultural life be hosting exhibitions in their historical venues, as the port of Valencia is doing.