The Port – A Central Dynamic Force of a City

I am undertaking some post graduate study in urban design and landscape at the moment to support my involvement with the Future Fremantle Committee, and the priority projects of our Development and Infrastructure Committee. I have been keen to understand what shapes a city or region from an economic, social and design perspective.
Our second meeting at the Minister’s Future Fremantle Committee last week, coincided with the first meeting of the City of Fremantle’s Innovation and Start up Ecosystem stakeholders.

Both of these committees confirmed for me the importance of connecting and maintaining our roots to marine based economic activity if our container port is to move out of Fremantle in the near future, and we look at a top down design model for such a large space of land and harbour at North Quay.

You only have to look at the case studies Brasília in Brazil when they moved their capital from the life and vibrancy of Rio De Janeiro’s port city to try to create the modernist utopia inland and with only government agencies as the base of economic activity to know how vital the history, the grit and the diversity of activity that arise from being associated with a Port.

There is a wide diversity of port types, including specialised naval and defence ports like the AMC, entrepôt or transshipment ports, coastal ports like Fishing Boat Harbour, and overseas ports, so there is a correspondingly wide variation in the relative scale of maritime and industrial activity, urban expansion, and the influence of ports on regional and national development. However, the development of most major ports has been intertwined with that of a city. To qualify as a port city “the port must become the central dynamic force and organising principle of the port city, and not remain a ‘hidden function,’ a mere appendage.” (Reeves, Broeze, and McPherson 1989, p. 39)We have the distinct advantage of being a “port city” and we must protect as much as our marine, or blue, economy activity as we can. This means looking at our harbour infrastructure and how it connects with activity down the coast, protecting the marine services activity at Rous Head no matter what happens to the Port, creating berths for superyachts and other marine based infrastructure that is required into the future, supporting the cruise industry when it comes back, supporting MG Kailis Marine to keep servicing their fishing and prawning trawlers in Fishing Boat Harbour, supporting the development of commercial grade office infrastructure for head quarters and consultancies that support these industries, and finding ways to support innovative start ups like Chamber members Fremantle Seaweedand nebo. It also means supporting these industries with land based transport solutions that connect the harbours and the people that work, or play, in them.

Keen to meet some of our marine and engineering members and hear their stories? Sign up for a virtual member meet and greet below, or sign up for our Blue Gravity take over of this month’s Set the Month in Motion on April 6th.

It is going to take a strong push over the next few years to keep all of our stakeholders working together to ensure Fremantle remains a vibrant hub of port and marine associated activity, and that in turn will feed into our Tourism, Small Business, Service and Property based industries. Danicia

Read more in the Chamber Weekly here.