The Changing Face of European Ports as a Result of their evolving Use since the Nineteenth Century
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The aim of this article is to make a comparative study of the history of European ports during the last two centuries showing their complexity and specific characteristics. Whereas during the process of waterfront development, local governments emphasize the relationship of ports with sailing ships as a marketing instrument, the industrial history of those ports are mostly neglected. This article focuses on the industrial port, showing differences in the chronology of construction and in their urban impact. Hinterland and inland transportation were responsible for a part of those differences, as well as geographical and political circumstances. However, social aspects as well as technological issues showed comparable evolutions. The decline of the industrial port city is a part of the general process of de-industrialization of Europe, but it has its own specific features. At least it is clear that the development of port cities during the last two centuries is far more complex than some stage theories about port development assume.