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Beyond geographic path dependencies: towards a post-structuralist approach of the port-city interface

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Abstract
Technological breakthroughs in the maritime transport industry gave rise to multimodality and global supply chains (Olivier & Slack, 2006). The high competitive character of this maritime transport industry induced transnational corporations (TNCs) to integrate their logistic processes horizontally and vertically. In order to keep attracting these TNCs, ports evolved downstream away from the city, followed by an economic, spatial and most recently by an institutional separation; resulting in less innovation due to the decreasing related variety between maritime and urban economics (Hall & Jacobs, 2012). Other emerging varying conditions are related to the sea level rise which reduces available space were port could further expand, leading to governance dilemmas between economy and ecology. Finally, as the burdens, such as congestion or a decreasing employment rate, are for the region, and the economic benefits are for a small group of TCNs, the ‘license to operate’ has become increasingly complex. The numerous different concepts and models trying to understand these changes are usually based on a historic-morphological approach that can be traced back to the so-called ‘anyport model’ and its modifications (Hoyle, 1989). The theoretical approach of these models is imbedded in structuralism and tries to generalize the observed evolution of the port city complex. An increasing number of researchers critiques the mainstream theories and their ambition for building universal understanding. Researchers emphasize the importance of the port city interface and its related variety. Therefore they point out the risk of facilitating the multidimensional separation by using a wrong assumption and a lack of understanding local processes with a global outlook. To tackle this risk, we have to move beyond this lock-in (Boelens & de Roo, 2014). There is a need to move towards a post-structural perspective of the port city interface, resulting in a more complex, actor-relational and co-evolving approach. This paper is the first step of a four year PhD-research on the theme of the port city interface. In the first part a literature framework is proposed of the previous research about the subject, questioning if existing studies have to be more attuned to regional and local characteristics. The second section focuses on the post-structuralist approach and explores its potential application for the study of the port city complexes. It will illustrate recent ideas of co-evolution and actor networks (Boelens & de Roo, 2014) applied on case studies in Belgium.
Keywords
Port-City Interface, Structuralism, Governance, Post-structuralism

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MLA
Van den Berghe, Karel. “Beyond Geographic Path Dependencies: Towards a Post-structuralist Approach of the Port-city Interface.” Book of Conference Abstracts. Ed. Simone Tulumello. Palermo, Italy: AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team, 2015. 11–12. Print.
APA
Van den Berghe, K. (2015). Beyond geographic path dependencies: towards a post-structuralist approach of the port-city interface. In S. Tulumello (Ed.), Book of conference Abstracts (pp. 11–12). Presented at the Differences & Connections : Beyond Universal Theories in Planning, Urban, and Heritage Studies, Palermo, Italy: AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team.
Chicago author-date
Van den Berghe, Karel. 2015. “Beyond Geographic Path Dependencies: Towards a Post-structuralist Approach of the Port-city Interface.” In Book of Conference Abstracts, ed. Simone Tulumello, 11–12. Palermo, Italy: AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van den Berghe, Karel. 2015. “Beyond Geographic Path Dependencies: Towards a Post-structuralist Approach of the Port-city Interface.” In Book of Conference Abstracts, ed. Simone Tulumello, 11–12. Palermo, Italy: AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team.
Vancouver
1.
Van den Berghe K. Beyond geographic path dependencies: towards a post-structuralist approach of the port-city interface. In: Tulumello S, editor. Book of conference Abstracts. Palermo, Italy: AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team; 2015. p. 11–2.
IEEE
[1]
K. Van den Berghe, “Beyond geographic path dependencies: towards a post-structuralist approach of the port-city interface,” in Book of conference Abstracts, Palermo, Italy, 2015, pp. 11–12.
@inproceedings{5953557,
  abstract     = {Technological breakthroughs in the maritime transport industry gave rise to multimodality and global supply chains (Olivier & Slack, 2006). The high competitive character of this maritime transport industry induced transnational corporations (TNCs) to integrate their logistic processes horizontally and vertically. In order to keep attracting these TNCs, ports evolved downstream away from the city, followed by an economic, spatial and most recently by an institutional separation; resulting in less innovation due to the decreasing related variety between maritime and urban economics (Hall & Jacobs, 2012). Other emerging varying conditions are related to the sea level rise which reduces available space were port could further expand, leading to governance dilemmas between economy and ecology. Finally, as the burdens, such as congestion or a decreasing employment rate, are for the region, and the economic benefits are for a small group of TCNs, the ‘license to operate’ has become increasingly complex.
The numerous different concepts and models trying to understand these changes are usually based on a historic-morphological approach that can be traced back to the so-called ‘anyport model’ and its modifications (Hoyle, 1989). The theoretical approach of these models is imbedded in structuralism and tries to generalize the observed evolution of the port city complex. 
An increasing number of researchers critiques the mainstream theories and their ambition for building universal understanding. Researchers emphasize the importance of the port city interface and its related variety. Therefore they point out the risk of facilitating the multidimensional separation by using a wrong assumption and a lack of understanding local processes with a global outlook. To tackle this risk, we have to move beyond this lock-in (Boelens & de Roo, 2014). There is a need to move towards a post-structural perspective of the port city interface, resulting in a more complex, actor-relational and co-evolving approach. 
This paper is the first step of a four year PhD-research on the theme of the port city interface. In the first part a literature framework is proposed of the previous research about the subject, questioning if existing studies have to be more attuned to regional and local characteristics. The second section focuses on the post-structuralist approach and explores its potential application for the study of the port city complexes. It will illustrate recent ideas of co-evolution and actor networks (Boelens & de Roo, 2014) applied on case studies in Belgium.},
  author       = {Van den Berghe, Karel},
  booktitle    = {Book of conference Abstracts},
  editor       = {Tulumello, Simone},
  keywords     = {Port-City Interface,Structuralism,Governance,Post-structuralism},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Palermo, Italy},
  pages        = {11--12},
  publisher    = {AESOP Young Academics Coordination Team},
  title        = {Beyond geographic path dependencies: towards a post-structuralist approach of the port-city interface},
  year         = {2015},
}