Environmental conflicts in port cities: A case study of Port Jackson and Port Botany in metropolitan Sydney
Paper i proceeding, 2015

Many ports authorities around the world face difficulties in ensuring a balance between the competing interests of the ports, local communities and the environment. There often exist risks of environmental conflicts generated by the impact of ports on urban and marine system. Environmental issues of ports located in Australian cities came to the forefront of public attention in the mid-1970s. In this paper, Port Jackson and Port Botany in metropolitan Sydney are chosen as case studies to describe and interpret the nature of these environmental conflicts caused by economic restructuring in metropolitan Sydney over the past five decades, and to speculate on conflict resolution and institutional responsibilities in the future. Six environmental crises have been identified and described: 1) Balmain Residents’ Action: land-side environmental constraints to shipping in Port Jackson with protesting resident action groups; 2) Port Botany – State and Local Government Decision Making: the re-locate of container shipping to a new port at Botany and the land-use changes that took place; 3) Multi-modal Transport Access to Port Botany: traffic issues at Port Botany and the expansion of port (and airport) land-use activities into surrounding residential and industrial neighbourhoods; 4) Inland Depot Conflict – Enfield Inter-modal Logistics Centre; construction of a dry port in western Sydney with the local community opposition to that State Government locational decision; 5) Port Jackson Revisited - Cruise Ship Terminals: the pressure of international cruise ships on berthing space in Port Jackson west of the Harbour Bridge and the local community opposition to pollution from ships, and; 6) Asset Recycling, Port Botany Privatisation and WestConnex: government policy on asset recycling and the privatization of Port Botany with its sale contributing towards the construction of WestConnex motorway in southwest Sydney. A conceptual port-planning framework, originally developed by Rimmer and Tsipouras, is expanded to help mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of commercial ports located on urbanised coastlines. The testing and adaption of the “framework resolution of port-generated conflict” is based on the field of institutional economics and takes a whole-of-government approach. The paper has a generalisable message for other researchers within the fields of urban planning, port development, logistics and transportation and infrastructure financing who could use the framework in their future research into port-generated conflicts.

Environmental crisis


Port-generated conflicts


case study


John A. Black

Proceedings of the WCTRs SIG2 2015 Conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 11-12 May 2015




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