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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Site specificity in contemporary large-scale harbour transformation projects

Braae, Ellen Marie; Diedrich, Lisa Babette


Harbour areas all over the Western world are being left idle due to global structural changes, and we observe that all too often the question of their reintegration into the urban fabric is addressed with the same standard development answers. More often than not, these vast areas are cleared to leave room for new economy-driven or branding-steered projects based on offices, housing, shopping and other object-centred programmes, resulting from time to time in saving a crane or two from demolition, which we think is not enough to justify calling a project site-specific. Our interest is thus to develop a wider understanding of site specificity for these large-scale areas and their long history of evolution from pre-industrial through industrial to post-industrial states. We propose a heuristically driven framework for scrutinising site specificity, and showcase it in two contemporary European multi-disciplinary, long-term urban development projects on former harbour sites, each selected to represent a set of outstanding site-specific aspects.


site specificity, harbour transformation, design approaches

Published in

Journal of Landscape Architecture
2012, Volume: 7, number: 1, pages: 20-33

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture

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