THE TRANSFORMATION OF PORT CITIES: LOCAL CULTURE AND THE POST-INDUSTRIAL MARITIME CITY
Free (open access)
149 - 159
Regardless of size or location, port cities were strongly affected by industrial decline and forced to reinvent themselves. The port city we once knew was coined by a particular identity and culture, but now a new type of maritime city emerges with high-tech production, research institutions, tourism, leisure and other services. So, the port city in western countries underwent serious changes in its historic development path. In this process of transformation, one of the most important challenges was and is to change thinking and mentalities. The more distinctive the port city, the more exclusive and specialised its profile, culture and character – products of a historic legacy of maritime trading, seafaring, shipbuilding and all their related productive and service capacities – the greater the difficulty of responding to these challenges. Nonetheless, the changing patterns of local structures reflect essential elements and expressions of a typical local culture. The following reflections will argue that (1) “local culture” forms a third factor besides the socio-economic structures and the institutional system, which strongly determines the local development; (2) this “local culture” is more or less a common characteristic of port cities all over Europe and in the western industrialised parts of the world, which have their roots in the European history (i.e. in USA or Australia) and (3) even today the typical maritime “local culture” plays an important role for the development of the postmodern port city, in spite of the strong forces of globalisation. Local culture affects the process of transformation by various functions. Hence, the typical development paths of port cities are not just pure adaptations to global dynamics. They are more an expression of a certain cultural autonomy reproducing the individuality and the diversity of port cities as well as their differences to the territorial, inland towns.
port city, structural change, local culture, globalization, adaptation, path dependency, urban development