Tools for an integrated systems approach to sustainable port city planning

Gilles Morel, Fernando Rodrigues Lima, Hipolito Martell-Flore, Francois Hisse


Large port cities like Shanghai, Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro are key cogwheels in international logistics and transport networks but also serve as showcases for the rest of the world; as such, they constitute strategic assets for the host country´s economy and international influence. Historically, a city and its port often developed independently, through sometimes contradictory or even confrontational policies. Today, the growing number of usage disputes over increasingly coveted coastal areas is prompting local managers to incorporate urban and port-related issues in overarching planning programs. In particular, planning of the sea front and the buffer zone between the port and the city must contribute decisively to the deployment of more effective, cleaner transport services for the port city as a whole. In general, one of the key global challenges for planners and decision-makers consists in integrating sustainable development goals (environmental and social components, as well as the stimulation of industrial competitiveness) into urban planning. In this context the PHEBUS research group has initiated an international program of research to develop innovative methods and tools that can help territorial stakeholders to design, evaluate, compare and ultimately choose development scenarios for the future of their port cities. The main themes are addressed via a multidisciplinary systems approach on the scale of a coastal urban area with an industrial and port complex. In particular, the themes include sea front planning, the city-port interface, energy optimization (e.g. the introduction and sharing of renewable energies), risk resilience, climate change and multimodal, clean transport.


Sustainable city; Port of the future; Collaborative platform; Decision support system

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