The city and the sea.
The patrimonalization of port cities (CIMAR)

Project: The city and the sea. The patrimonalization of port cities.

Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (HAR2013-48498-P)


Research centres

Institut Català de Recerca en Patrimoni Cultural (ICRPC)
Universitat de Girona
Universitat de les Illes Balears
Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla
Universidad de Extremadura
Universidad del Pais vasco Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
Universidad Católica de Murcia
Université de Laval (Canadá)
Museu Marítim de Barcelona
Museu de la Pesca de Palamós
Museu del Port de Tarragona


Call: Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica
Period: 2015-2018
Main Researcher: Dr. Joaquim Nadal i Farreras



The contemporary city has undergone major physical, material, economic and social changes. The result of these changes is a geography and sociology that differ from their traditional forms, and a landscape in which elements of the past, some of which are in disuse, obsolete or at risk of disappearing, survive as silent witnesses to a past that is different, but essential to our understanding of the present reality.


These factors place cultural heritage and uses of heritage at the heart of urban debates.


Special plans for historical centres, restoration and renovation projects, urban development plans with proposals for new uses, and the reuse of major containers of history for new functions mark landmarks in efforts to preserve identity and historical memory as something that is inherent in the essence, in the soul of the city.

Naturally, the wrong choices about heritage, whether through fossilization (the city as a museum) or changing the nature of the city’s heritage status, lead to a speculative kind of trivialization. This generates dramatized, “cardboard city” proposals that do not contribute to the revitalization that is sought, but instead fuel an empty, bland discourse.

The research in this project is based on an examination of parameters that address the relationship between city and sea, port facilities (river or maritime), the urban environment, and the territorial, environmental, landscape and social characteristics of this relationship.

We address these questions through case studies of major port cities with complex urban dynamics, such as Barcelona and Tarragona (Catalonia), Bilbao and San Sebastian (Basque Country), Cartagena (Murcia) and Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands), and of medium-sized cities, such as Tarifa in Andalusia, Bayonne in the French Basque Country, Blanes and Palamós on the Costa Brava.

The research is interdisciplinary and draws on the methodology of historical and heritage studies, that of urban analysis, and that provided by anthropology to gauge the extent of social change and the impact of changes in uses on traditional society. A multidisciplinary interpretation of the city, with creative respect for the heritage that has been passed on, and an ambitious proposal for the future define the parameters of the approach, which, as stated above, aims to link past, present and future. It is clear that we should integrate the past instead of destroying it, as often happens. 

Ministerio de Econonía y Competitividad

R & D projectfundedbytheMinistry of EconomyandCompetitiveness in theframework of the State Program for thePromotion of ScientificResearchandTechnicalExcellence.






Ministerio de Econonía y Competitividad

Amb el suport de: