The relation between cities and ports has evolved over time with one of the main goals being to find a balance through a model of coexistence. In recent times, Port Authorities (PA) have significantly changed their approach to the relationship they have with their cities. In the last decades of the 20th century, these powerful organizations took the first steps to relate with their cities. They freed up obsolete central port areas and began a new stage in the relation very often also benefitting from the real estate process and getting funding for the expansion of the port. Port cities share their urban spaces with their industrial ports and also manifest inclusion of public life at their docks, giving way to the integration of the segregated port and city of industrial port. There has also been a gradual demand by the public for the valuable waterfront land as well as growing port development strategies to integrate the cities’ concerns in their port masterplans so as to reconcile conflicts for land with the city.
Putting emphasis on the integration of the public within the seaport and port proximity zones without underestimating the importance of port-city relationship, this study seeks to therefore understand the catalytic drivers of urban development around port areas that result in holistic success of social inclusion within the seaports by reviving the urban pulse of the urban spaces along the waterfronts and around the port areas.
This exploratory and explanatory study includes a review and critical examination of relevant literature on the study and the analysis at a global perspective of port cities and their relationship. It also makes use of multiple research tools that entailed observation and structured interview for data collection to etablish whether Port of Mombasa portrays a successful port- city relationship, looking at the various manifestations of port- city integration and level of inclusivity within the port precints. The results of the study reveal that the Port of Mombasa operates and governs the waterfront but is not successful as a social public space.