Port cities, heritage cities: A comparative perspective on maritime cultural quarters

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    With the aim of diversifying local economies or assisting port competitiveness, policy makers in many European port cities have been implementing urban and cultural policies that mobilise maritime history and heritage. ‘Maritime cultural quarters’ are examples of these policies.These waterfront environments buildon local maritime cultures and include restored maritime heritage assets and cultural facilities. Waterfront redevelopment (whether or not culture-led) has extensively been commented in the literature. However, the role of emerging maritime cultural quarters in port-city relationships is underexplored. This paper provides a comparative perspective on the emergence in European port cities of maritime cultural quarters, defined as assemblages of maritime heritage assets, maritime-related cultural and leisure facilities and public spaces, which are designed to provide a maritime cultural offer. We argue that maritime cultural quarters should be explored as a contingent aspect of the touristification and over touristification of many European port cities and are distinct from other forms of waterfront regeneration. Maritime cultural quarters can contribute to the retightening of symbolic port-city relationships. However, issues of authenticity,
    commodification of maritime cultures, standardisation of urban environments and demaritimisation need to be addressed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2020


    • European port cities
    • Maritime cultural quarters
    • Maritime heritage


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