“Ports and Waterfronts”
by Peter Hendee Brown and Peter V. Hall
in Infrastructure Planning and Finance
Elmer and Liegland, editors, Routledge, 2013
Ports and waterfronts are zones of great opportunity and diversity, but they also present practitioners with complex and changing infrastructure challenges. Cargo ports play a vital role in today’s economy, yet they are also sites of congestion and pollution. While some ports have captured disproportionate shares of containerized trade and others have specialized in niche cargoes, many have been largely deserted by cargo. Most other contemporary ports are trying to manage uses that span from traditional cargo handling to a range of non-maritime commercial, entertainment, and residential activities. Indeed, for former industrial and trading cities, waterfront tourism and other real estate developments are often among the few significant opportunities for revitalizing the rundown urban core although infrastructure planning in these ports is fraught with conflict between competing users and interest groups. This chapter begins with a short history of ports in the United States, concentrating on the changes associated with containerization. Having described the evolution and current situation of ports, the chapter then turns to the topics of port governance, finance, and planning.