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Title: Adaptation, governance and industrial diversification : North Sea ports and the growth of offshore wind
Author: Evans, Lewis James
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis contributes to debates in Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG) by providing a better understanding of how processes of adaptation and diversification unfold to support new economic growth paths. To date, EEG research has focused upon conventional economic geography research objects and actors, such as firms, industries or networks. Less attention has been focused upon the evolving roles of infrastructural asset bases in supporting and driving new growth paths. In response, this thesis aims to better understand the causal processes through which ports, and their infrastructural assets, have been adapted and diversified to capture growth in the burgeoning offshore wind industry. The research seeks to complement and extend existing studies of port adaptation and diversification within the transport geography research, by developing a more evolutionary approach, capturing how existing infrastructural assets, the agency of key actors and broader political-economic contexts influence processes of port adaptation and diversification through key episodes of change. At the same time, the thesis responds to calls within EEG for more international comparative analysis by exploring the variations between national institutional environments, infrastructural asset bases, port governance models and the corporate strategies and investment from offshore wind firms. The research provides a comparative analysis of adaptation and diversification across the cases of the 'Humber Ports' (Port of Hull and Port of Grimsby, UK) and the 'Port of Cuxhaven' (Germany). The thesis reveals the critical role played by national policy contexts in establishing a buoyant offshore wind market environment to stimulate investment from port authorities, sub-national government agencies and offshore wind firms, and so enable the port adaptation process. However, even within these broader enabling environments, important variations exist in the vision and agency of port authorities in developing and delivering strategies for adaptation. Of critical importance, are the ways in which different models of ownership and governance within ports influence and mediate the scale, scope and character of strategic investment opportunities. Lastly, the research also reveals the important variations in the roles and positions of ports within the broader external governance of territorial development. The ability of ports to operate within a broader ii coalition of actors supporting adaptation and diversification, strongly influences the opportunities to harness and valorise their infrastructural assets for new paths of growth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available