Why work together

The Centre for Metropolis & Mainport recognises the need to develop, disseminate, and apply knowledge on the connections between metropolises and mainports. It aims to do so while making uses of the joint academic communities of the Leiden, Delft, and Erasmus universities that work on the topic areas of the centre. The centre is progressively involved in SmartPort activities.

Metropolises and Mainports

Metropolises denote sizable urban areas in which seaports and airports are embedded. Mainports are either sea ports or airports, and they act as main hubs in global transportation networks, as gateways to regional markets, and as clusters of industrial and commercial activities.

Societal challenges

Various external agenda’s show that significant societal challenges are relevant for metropolitan mainports such as the South-West of the Netherlands, Rotterdam and surroundings. In particular:

  • The EU champions an agenda focused on “Smart, green and integrated transport”: achieving a European transport system that is resource-efficient, environmentally-friendly, safe and seamless for the benefit of citizens, the economy and society;
  • The Dutch Top Sector policy focuses on amongst others Logistics, Water and Chemistry to boost innovations, again particularly relevant for particularly the South-West of the Netherlands;
  • An OECD analysis showed that links between ports and cities have become weaker: the externalities are caused in metropolitan areas close to ports, whereas the benefits are spilled over to other regions.

Inter-university collaboration

These factors prompted the parties collaborating in LDE (Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus university Rotterdam) to set up a Centre for Metropolis and Mainport, to develop, disseminate, and valorize knowledge on the connections between metropolises and mainports. The Centre is being built across four main themes for research and education:

  • Sustainability
    Addresses the challenge to avoid or reduce the negative externalities of port activities for the urban environment and the region;
  • Synchromodality
    Addresses the need to create access to vital functions in port and urban areas and provide mobility to persons and freight;
  • World Port City
    Addresses the potential of the urban area to support the port function and the potential of the port to stimulate urban development;
  • Secure international trade and global clusters
    Addresses the metropolises and mainports as hubs for the facilitation of global trade from a multidisciplinary approach.