Tentative Call for Papers: Journal of Ocean and Society

Ocean and Society Cover

Global maritime flows and local implications: Conceptualizing a Worldwide Taxonomy and Glossary of Port City Regions

Mina Akhavan, TU Delft
Carola Hein, TU Delft
Yvonne van Mil, TU Delft

Deadline for Abstracts:           1-15 April 2024
Submission of Full Papers:     1-15 September 2024
Publication of the Issue:         January/March 2025

If you wish to contribute, please send the ‘title of your contribution’, ‘author(s)’, ‘email(s) and ‘affiliation of the corresponding author’ by 10 November 2023 to the guest editors: m.a.akhavan@tudelft.nl, Y.B.C.vanMil@tudelft.nl and c.m.hein@tudelft.nl


Many port cities across the globe have long thrived on maritime flows and trade connections, leveraging their strategic locations to drive socio-spatial and economic growth. Ports functioning as gateways and hubs have historically been of key importance for local economies. However, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and technological advancements, such as containerisation and innovation in the shipping industry, the dynamic between ports and cities has been undergoing significant changes. While they are often governed by separate entities—port authorities and municipalities or city councils—ports and cities remain closely intertwined in terms of spatial connectivity and shared interests in the port-city interface spaces. Yet, as ports continue to influence and shape urban landscapes, there is a pressing need to introduce new tools and perspectives to understand how global flows through maritime infrastructures reshape the built environment. Moreover, as the process of port regionalization, defined as the impact of ports on its adjacent territories, continues, the area affected by port-related activities becomes increasingly more complex and extensive. Therefore, fostering dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders in ports, cities, and regions becomes imperative. Port-city-regions are, therefore, complex geographic areas characterised by a metropolitan region with proximity to a major port(s) and port-related activities (sea and inland). Such regions become central hubs for shipping, cargo handling and related industries, playing a pivotal role in regional and global economies and trade networks.

Maritime transport is a catalyst for urban and regional development. Still, it also brings negative externalities to urban and rural or sparsely populated environments, such as pollution, congestion, and noise. Addressing these challenges is vital for sustainable port, city, and regional development. Discussions on green ports, blue growth, and green corridors have spurred environmental awareness and encouraged efforts toward sustainable port operations and increased marine traffic. With these discussions come a proliferation of new concepts and terminologies, necessitating exploration to establish a common language that bridges the gap between research, planning, policy, and practice.

This thematic issue seeks to advance the conceptual, theoretical, and empirical discussion around the spatiality of port(s) and their hosting cities in different regions of the world. The aim is to contribute to the large body of literature by identifying the territorial typology of port-cities starting from the global flows (commodity, passengers and knowledge) that run through maritime and inland ports and create a complex ecosystem. Contributions from various disciplines in urban and social studies should, in particular, address (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Typologies and hierarchies of spaces shaped by maritime flows at the port-city interface and within the wider region.
  • Taxonomy of spatial impacts of ports on the surrounding landscape that is affected by the port or port-related activities and vice versa.
  • Innovative interdisciplinary methodologies and tools for studying and planning contemporary port city regions.
  • The role of institutions and multiplicity of stakeholders in shaping port city regions
  • A glossary of policy toolkits, actions and strategies for sustainable development of port-city-regions
  • Examples of multiscale planning tools for governing port city regions, i.e., local and municipal plans, sectorial plans, port planning, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), etc.
  • Revisiting the concept of port-city relationship through the lens of new urban waterfront and urban regeneration


Instructions for Authors: 

Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal's instructions for authors and submit their abstracts (maximum of 250 words, with a tentative title) through the abstracts system (here). When submitting their abstracts, authors are also asked to confirm that they are aware that Ocean and Society is an open access journal with a publishing fee if the article is accepted for publication after peer-review (corresponding authors affiliated with our institutional members do not incur this fee).

Open Access: 

The journal has an article publication fee to cover its costs and guarantee that the article can be accessed free of charge by any reader, anywhere in the world, regardless of affiliation. We defend that authors should not have to personally pay this fee and advise them to check with their institutions if funds are available to cover open access publication fees. Institutions can also join our Membership Program at a very affordable rate and enable all affiliated authors to publish without incurring any fees. Further information about the journal's open access charges and institutional members can be found here.