Dec 03

Love Thy Neighbour: Social Benefits and Port-City Relationships

Love Thy Neighbour: Social Benefits and Port-City Relationships

Toby Roberts, Ian Williams, John Preston – University of Southampton

Ramboll UK – Nick Clarke, Melinda Odum & Stephanie O’Gorman


Sustainability 202113(23), 13391; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313391

Received: 3 October 2021 / Revised: 24 November 2021 / Accepted: 1 December 2021 / Published: 3 December 2021


As awareness of the negative externalities created by ports increases, and the perceived local benefits decrease, ports must find new ways to improve the local noneconomic benefits they provide if they are to obtain local support. This global survey collected data from 51 ports in 26 countries. The results highlight a recognition by port authorities that ports face increasing pressure from local residents to reduce their negative impacts and that they should seek to improve the public perception towards the port by increasing local benefits. At present, port information and social media (81%), port events (67%) and education (63%) are the most adopted options. There is a lack of evidence that these measures are effective in improving local perceptions. Maritime museums and public access show a positive association with increasing local awareness of the benefits a port provides, despite their lower levels of adoption (45%). Port centres are the least adopted option at present (29%) and can be expected to increase significantly, with a 43% increase anticipated between numbers of current and expected future centres. Education (14%), public access (13%) and maritime museums (4.5%) also show increases in levels of interest. Maritime museums and public access should be pursued as proven, effective options for improving local perceptions of ports, whilst port centres may provide a new focal point for port-related social and cultural activities.