Sustainable spatial planning for European sea ports: Natura 2000 and ports striking a new balance
Faculty of Applied Economics
S.l. :International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), 2007
43rd ISOCARP Congress: Urban Trialogues
European estuaries contain both nature values, protected by the European Birds and Habitats Directives, and large sea ports. As a consequence conflicts arise between European nature legislation and port development. This paper investigates the deliberation about the spatial claims of port and nature in and around the Antwerp port area. Processes about nature and port-development in and around the Antwerp Port Area can be distinguished on three scale-levels. On a macro-level, the level of the estuary, a Long Term Vision for the Western Scheldt is developed. On the meso-level there is the Strategic Planning Process for the Port Area and its surroundings and on the micro-level a network of ecological infrastructure in the port area is discussed. New concepts, like 'temporary nature' and 'morphological estuary-management', and the spatial translation of the different sectoral logics are a key to develop sustainable solutions for the nature-port conflict. In this way fragmentation of the different policy domains and a narrow focus on legal security can be avoided. In a highly dynamic environment like a port there is a permanent process of combining long-term visioning with concrete actions and projects. Process management have to overview a lot of instruments and tools in a social field with a myriad of public and private actors. The use of more strategic and development-oriented approaches are characteristic to this kind of processes. In this processes different (formal) instruments like protocols, agreements, Spatial Implementation Plans and Strategic Environmental Assessments are used. The more formal character of the instruments is a necessity because of the permanent demand for legal security and implementation of agreements on the field.