Blue Urbanism: Lessons from the Hamburg’s waterfront cruise days festival

Carlos Balsas

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Written accounts of cultural festivals often deal with the various activities that comprise those types of events. There is a paucity of analyses discussing how festivals encourage the status quo of consumption practices, while conjuring their hidden costs on society as a whole.
Objectives: This paper reflects on how the Hamburg Cruise Days Festival in September 2019 attempted to perpetuate the injustices of the cruising industry. The research answers the following question: What would it take to help change the current “cobalt” colour promoted by the organizers of the Hamburg’s Waterfront Cruise Days Festival to a “true blue,” a symbol of the cleanest sky and harbour waters in Germany, and the best example of sustainable Blue Urbanism in Europe?
Methods: The research methods comprised in loco field work participant observation in the tradition of participatory action research. Marcuse’s three-part approach to wicked problems (i.e., “Expose, Propose, and Politicize”) was utilized to discuss the case study’s policy implications.
Results: It is argued that, from a governance perspective, festival organizers could be required to disclaim, in the fashion of “truth in advertising,” the ecological impacts and sponsors’ progress toward reaching existing environmental standards to eradicate costly social and environmental injustices. The results are presented according to three types of measures: (i) Socio-ecological performance; (ii) The Solomonic approach to justice; and (iii) A Port of Call Sister Cities network.
Conclusions: The on the ground “shoe-leather” participatory action research work proved that festival goers walked away from the event without an understanding of the true impacts of the cruise industry on the host city and on stopping port cities during recurrent cruise visits as the highly choreographed festival was mostly aimed at marketing entertainment and touristic activities to visitors. The recommendations can increase our individual awareness of the invaluable richness of our marine environment before it is exhausted irreplaceably.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 9 Jun 2023
EventUK and Ireland Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology conference 2023 Dublin - Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 9 Jun 20239 Jun 2023


ConferenceUK and Ireland Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology conference 2023 Dublin
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