Dedicated to the exploration of the themes concerning the relationship between city and port and the regeneration of urban waterfronts, PORTUSplus, the online supplement to PORTUS, RETE’s bi-yearly magazine, has now reached its third edition, maintaining its original purpose: to exploit the advantages of online communication to collect and disseminate interdisciplinary scientific documents, expanding and organizing information and research studies focusing on the many aspects of the contemporary port city. PORTUSplus in fact intends to establish itself as an opportunity to bring to the attention of the public original works, theoretical studies, the results of completed studies and new research, supported by significant experiences and international best practices, to increase scientific knowledge and expand the academic debate.
Open to contributions from the university and cultural world, from experts and professionals in the field, or anyone who works, each in his own capacity, within institutions and research centres and has relevant knowledge and experiences, the Call for papers 2012 expanded the themes of interest with respect to the multiplicity of dynamics that concern port cities and waterfronts, from the point of view of diverse scientific and disciplinary approaches (economic, social, city planning, environmental, cultural, etc.).
The thematic fields range from the history of the port cities and the analysis of port development starting with the earliest settlements and through the mid-twentieth century, to the issues related to economy and business of the port, to entrepreneurial and commercial businesses, to the possible role of infrastructure, transport, intermodality and logistics at the urban, regional and national scale.
Particular attention is reserved to the theme of urban-port development and to the issues raised by the relationship that the presence of a port in an urban context will have to environmental sustainability, climate change, urban sprawl, the vulnerability and risk of extreme events on the coast, phenomena in the face of which the culture and identity of the port city must be protected, by cultivating its material and immaterial heritage, its cultural memory and maritime identity. Other consolidated thematic areas include the restructuring urban-port waterfronts and the regeneration of abandoned industrial areas that aim to define a contemporary port city and new port-city relations models. In this context, increased importance must be given to the dynamic processes taking place at the international level, which rely on planning and prospects to design future scenarios and innovative proposals, architectures and urban planning that will transform the city-port landscape.
The papers, like in every previous edition, were submitted to an “Evaluation Committee”, constituted of members of the RETE Scientific Committee and a Committee of International Experts. Judged anonymously – on the basis of the originality of the approach and methodology, the clarity and order of the contents, the quality and completeness of the presentation, the scientific-academic level and the sphere of application of the results – 29 papers out of the 46 that were submitted were selected for publication in issue n.3 of PORTUSplus. Four papers which were considered to be of particular interest will also be published in the next issue of PORTUS, which in its new online version may be viewed on the website www.portusonline.org.
The participation and the results we achieved confirm, on the one hand, the interest surrounding this initiative and the themes of discussion both in terms of figures (69 authors including experts, researchers and professionals) and geographical origin (Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Lebanon, Canada, United States, Togo, Chile, Costa Rica, etc.) and, on the other hand, the role that this digital tool can play in the promotion and improvement of the dialogue between port and cities at the international level.