Healthy co-existence in port cities, the example of Riga and Genoa

Workshop 3 and 4, some examples

How do the port and city live side by side when they are "compressed" into a limited space ? Discussion revolved around this issue during the afternoon session of the second day of the 14th AIVP World Conference Cities and Ports in Durban, which examined two port cities : the Latvian port of Riga and Italian port of Genoa.

The Freeport of Riga is the largest port in Latvia. 6% of the country’s GDP relies on port activity Further on the Freeport of Riga takes up 11% of the city’s total area.
The port is on a river that winds its way to the city with the nearby historic centre, creating a difficult co-existence between inhabitants and port operators.
Last year the Municipality of Riga started its work towards a new master plan for the city which would consist of 10 thematic plans, each focusing on at would be specific topic such as transport, housing, green spaces etc. Ljeta Putane, Deputy Head of Urban Economic Division at the Riga City Council explained that during the early stages of public consultation the citizens pointed out that we need to have a separate thematic plan for the Freeport of Riga.
In order to ensure a wide stakeholder engagement, the municipality made sure to involve experts, NGOs, businesses, citizens and institutions in all stages of the port planning process.
The the neighbourhoods were consulted as part of the whole consultation process for the master plan of Riga, not only for the thematic plan for the Freeport of Riga.
The initiative was successful and made it possible to formulate an overall vision, which while perhaps not forming the basis for an urban revolution, at the least made for a healthy co-existence.

Genoa experienced similar problems to Riga. 595,000 people live in 243 square kilometres adjacent to the port. Densely arranged buildings, criss-crossed by waterways may well create a scenic panorama, but raise serious safety issues. The port is one of the busiest in Italy : covering 15 km with energy consumption of over 30 million kWh/year. “This was why we established the Genoa Smart City Association (GSCA) in 2010, which put together a port environmental energy plan focusing on wind, dam, solar and especially cold ironing” explained Francesco Oddone, Deputy Major for Economic Development for the city. “It is often thought that a smart city translates into a series of technological gadgets – continued Oddone - but in actual fact, it is first and foremost, a study on the economic impact on people’s lives”. The GSCA has one hundred members including associations, companies, research institues and civil society. It has entered into a number of MoU’s and secured EU funding for millions of Euro, working in conjunction with the ports of Copenhagen, Hamburg, Vienna and Lyons to create a network, which as in the case of Riga, focuses on its citizens to resolve the problems of co-existence and safety in the city.