Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Editorial | Open Access

Port City Porosity: Boundaries, Flows, and Territories

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Abstract:  The introduction to this thematic issue on port city porosity sets the stage for the study of port city territories as a particular type of space, located at the edge of land and sea, built, often over centuries, to facilitate the transfer of goods, people, and ideas. It argues that the concept of porosity can help conceptualize the ways in which the spaces and institutions of ports, cities, and neighboring areas intersect. It expands on the well‐established notion of the interface and more recent reflections on the port city threshold by arguing for a conceptualization of the port cityscape as a continuous network of port‐related spaces and practices. The introduction places this reflection in time, exploring the ways in which boundaries have shifted and opened up; it also provides a brief overview of the 14 contributions to the thematic issue. The contributions are organized in three groups: (1) exploring long‐term approaches to porosity in port city territories; (2) mapping and conceptualizing port city porosity on the sea side and on the land side; and (3) measuring, designing, and rethinking porosity in port city territories. The thematic issue opens questions for further research such as: Does the degree of porosity between port and city areas and the presence of maritime pockets in the city and the territory lead to greater resilience of port city activities? Does the existence of porous borders between port and city allow for easier transitions?

Keywords:  borders; porosity; port cities; port cityscape; territories



© Carola Hein. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.