Mapping values and tensions in Port Cities

Beyond being drivers of actions, values can also be seen as enablers for larger scale innovation. Once made explicit and shared among different groups of actors within society, they turn into unifying elements for larger coalitions towards a shared goal. Within complex contexts such as port cities, however, values and tensions among different stakeholder groups may not be always evident, losing potential of better supporting and informing innovation pathways in the city. To unveil values and tensions in port cities, and make them actionable tools for multi-stakeholder coalitions’ strategic dialogue, we have explored the development of research tools denominated Value Maps.

Value Maps are visual place-holders that represent the conditions, values and mindset of a port city in relation to the ecosystem of innovation initiatives that the city presents. The map also highlights the existing tensions among the different values present in port cities, for example between bottom-up initiatives and top-down infrastructures (government). In other words, a value map aims to support strategic dialogues, shared learning, and ultimately co-creation among different urban stakeholders in the city.

Value Mapping as a strategic tool has been developed within the elective course Design & the City (ID5127), at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology. Students developed a Value Map for a specific European Port City. In the cohort 2021-22 fall semester, 12 Value Maps have been created for either Port Cities around the North Sea (Aarhus, Antwerp, Bremen, Copenhagen, London, Oslo) or around the Mediterranean Sea (Athens, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Marseille, Nice, Valencia). Below, a selection of Value Maps developed by students.

Valencia - Values and tensions in an increasingly modernizing city 
Puck Gerritse, Micha Swen, Justė Motuzaitė

Puck Gerritse, Micha Swen, Justė Motuzaitė developed a set of three complementary maps. The first map illustrates in three different layers the different initiatives present in Valencia and the corresponding values. The outer layer of the map indicates broader values of Valencia while the inner circles of the map visualise bottom-up initiatives present in the city, both at small scale “niches” (inner circle) and more developed innovations, part of the city “regime”, ‘tagged’ and clustered according to their values and overall focus. For example, social cohesion, dignity, inclusivity are values characterising niche initiatives focused on the social dimension, while for many governmental initiatives, the modernity and efficiency were evident values, in line with the city's rapid expansion and modernisation. Abstracting from these data, a second map visualises the shared values in the city as well as the tensions that arise. A green line between two values stands for a positive synergy among values, while a red connection indicates conflicting values creating a tension in the city. An exemplary tension highlighted by the map lies in the ‘social’ domain, between the city government’s ambition of transforming and modernizing the city, resulting in gentrification and social fragmentation, and many citizens’ value of long-term social cohesion. Finally, through a third diagram students highlighted their evaluation of the capabilities present in the city, useful to deal with urban innovation complexity and tensions. This third visual support indicates in particular the missing capabilities from the government of co-creation, iteration and reflexivity when innovating for the port city of Valencia, which would be necessary to foster better discussions with local citizens upon the future plans of development for the city.

Antwerp - Connection, yet not integration, between a city and its port
Annemijn Hollestelle, Kim Vroege, Ruby Schaap

By conducting an analysis on the history of the city, current city initiatives, and the municipality social media communication to national and international public, students Annemijn Hollestelle, Kim Vroege, and Ruby Schaap stressed how Antwerp seems to be divided in two parts, the port and the city, and how these parts are in fact connected but not really integrating each other. This tension is really well highlighted in their Value Map, which shows with a red line the boundary between the two city areas, each of them with their unique values and innovation capabilities. Additionally, the arrow at the center of the map indicates that values and capabilities present in the city seem to be transferred and integrated in the port initiatives, demonstrated by an increased interest in co-creating solutions and making the port a more accessible area to citizens and initiatives. However, while the port is trying to integrate the city, the latter is not yet doing the same. The innovation-focus and visionary skills of the port seem not to be applied in the city, whilst they are so closely connected. This contradiction highlights the need of finding ways to establish a two-way flow between port and city, for example by focussing upon the aspects and interests that the two areas share, so that both port city areas and their stakeholders can learn from their different approaches to innovation.

Oslo - Dynamics of a city striving to develop more sustainable values. 
Mutia Khairunnisa, Nadia Dalh, Yu Huang

To communicate the values and dynamics within the city of Oslo Mutia Khairunnisa, Nadia Dalh, and Yu Huang developed an interactive clickable map. Through metaphoric illustrations the map shows the aspirations of the city, connected to the three mega-structures representing the three main values of Oslo: inclusivity, sustainability and knowledge. The appearance of these buildings reflect the overall progress of Oslo in implementing such values in the city. For example the shabby temple of inclusivity implicates the wretched status quo of inequality of social classes, while the soaring tower of sustainability indicates the large number of initiatives that are dedicated to this area. For each value, corresponding challenges and tensions are indicated in the map through black dots, as roadblocks that are stopping the citymakers of Oslo from contributing to the development of the city values. 
As the map indicates, the port is directly connected to these tensions. In fact, whilst aiming the desired shift to become a greener city and a knowledge economy, the city and its port have for a long time been reliant on the oil mining and petroleum industry, where the port of oslo plays a huge role.