How Green is The Green Port? Shifting Community-Port Narratives in Long Beach, California

Authors: Kirsten Berg*, California State University
Topics: Planning Geography, Human-Environment Geography, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Seaports, port-community impact, port development, community impacts, port sustainability, governance, Port of Long Beach
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Seaports (ports) are a critical component of the U.S. economy and transnational goods movement system. To stay competitive, ports must undergo improvements and expansions. However, investments in infrastructure improvements come at a price, manifesting as negative environmental impacts, including increased noise, traffic, and air quality issues, which affect surrounding communities. The Port of Long Beach (POLB) faces opposition from the surrounding communities and environmental activists regarding impacts of existing operations and future Port projects. Thus, POLB is challenged to balance its economic growth with environmental and community concerns. The objective of this study is to trace and critically examine the narrative regarding the shifting relationship between POLB and the surrounding community over time, with a focus on the tension between economic expansion, environmental stewardship, and community investment. The findings of this research will be based on the examination of past POLB documentation and public meeting comments and interviews with decision-makers and community leaders. The goal is to document the shift in governance over time at POLB as well as determine the drivers, agents, and outcomes of the growing focus on and participation of the community. It is expected that this research will build a narrative that demonstrates a shifting governance trajectory at POLB to include more engagement and public input towards a more cooperative port-community relationship, while highlighting what remains missing from the relationship, and making suggestions for moving forward.

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