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Looking Beyond Cargo and Cruise Ships: Promoting Academic Marine Research and Clean Technologies as an Economic Development Strategy for Ports

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The Port of Los Angeles (Port) is the largest container port in the Western Hemisphere, and a catalyst for business activity and employment. Historically, the majority of the Port's workforce lived in the communities directly adjacent to the Port. However, in the latter half of the last century, jobs and economic activity began to shift away from the Port, causing public attitudes in the local communities to change. Instead of being viewed as the source of their livelihood, local residents began to view the port as a generator of environmental impacts and industrial blight. Formidable community opposition to Port growth and modernization ensued. Employment within the Port district peaked in the mid 20th century at 100,000. By 2009, the Port had only 12,700 jobs. To re-establish and maintain a long-term positive relationship between the Port and its neighbors, the Port needed to increase the numbers of local residents in the port on a daily basis. The Port looked beyond its traditional role of cargo handling, to leverage creation of new water-dependent job clusters. The strategy incorporates elements of the traditional cluster concept by proposing to co-locate and create synergies between technology developers, university researchers, and marine and maritime industries.

Keywords: Port of Los Angeles; clean technologies; economic development; job clusters; marine research; port

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, California, USA

Publication date: July 4, 2013

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