GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 1105-1116.doi: 10.11821/yj2010060015

• Urban and Rural Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Port-city interface: Evolution and the spatial mechanism

ZHUANG Pei-jun1,2, WANG Yu-ming1   

  1. 1. Center of Modern City Study, East China Normal University, Shanghai 20062, China;
    2. Maritime College, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, Zhejiang, China
  • Received:2009-10-10 Revised:2010-03-06 Online:2010-06-20 Published:2010-06-20


Port-city interface, an area interacted by the land for water-transportation-related activities and urban zones, is a coastal area representing the linkage of port land uses and urban land uses. As a projection of all social forces and technological development on a specific space, the evolution of port-city interface goes through a lifecycle of growth, mature and expansion, decline and abandon, and revitalization, showing different spatial linkage between port and city, respectively integration, mutual expansion, separation and reintegration. Spatially it migrates from inner urban core, to urban margin, and finally further away. This paper describes the evolution of port-city interface in Ningbo and aims to explain its spatial mechanism. Ports in different periods have developed port-city interfaces of various spatial forms. The ancient Jiangxia Wharves developed a complex tract of business and trade, and the port city Ningbo; while Jiangbei Terminal developed a complex district of western style business center and urban community, and the contemporary Zhenhai and Beilun terminals are developing complex zones of port-related coastal industries and logistic parks. The Ningbo case shows the mechanism of spatial evolution, that the technological revolution in maritime transportation and communication, and organization change for containerization and multi-modal transportation are the engines of its spatial migration, regional labor division in different socio-economic periods determines the industries and company agglomeration in port-city interface and the spatial patterns, the mechanism for revitalization is mostly from the urban renewal and political and economic demands, public care to environmental protection and legislation accelerate the separation of port and city, and institution reform is a critical condition. The case also shows that Ningbo is born to be a port city, with the expansion and migration of port and port-city interface, it is developing into a port metropolis. The results point to an eternal trend that the evolution of port-city interface is a basic element for the development of an active and growing port city, which calls creative policies and harmonious linkage between port and city, especially in the future regional development for environmentally and ecologically-friendly society.

Key words: port, port city, port-city interface, spatial mechanism, Ningbo