This recording is from a dock at Buneset, just north of CCB at Ågotnes. We hear quiet waves. To the left is the sound of a supply boat as a soft drone – tires along the dock creak as the ship moves. Occasionally, we hear small boats on the way in and out. To the right, there is the occasional sound of activity from the CCB base. A helicopter passes (18 min.). Out on the fjord, a submarine is slowly drifting. A frigate sails southwards, and further into the recording (23 min. 50 sec.) we hear messages communicated from the bridge to the deck. Every now and then crows and gulls call out.
Bergen is a port city and developed from Bryggen and eastwards. In the Middle Ages, Bryggen was the centre of international trade and shipping. For a long time, the prime connection between Bergen and the rest of the world was by boat, and the city harbour was the heart of the town.
The Coast Center Base (CCB) at Ågotnes was established in 1973 as a supply base for the off shore oil industry. Activities at CCB plunged following the fall in oil prices in 2015, but in 2018 it was decided that the Port of Bergen will transition to Ågotnes. The relocation will begin in 2020 and complete in 2023. The relocation of the freight port will create new opportunities and jobs at the port here at Ågotnes.
At the same time, the relocation signals a change in how the Bergen region is to be understood. We can no longer conceive Bergen as a city centre with surroundings. The relocation of Bergen Harbor out of the municipality of Bergen signals how the greater Bergen area has evolved into a continuous urban zone. A large part of the population lives and works in the suburbs, and the suburbs are increasingly important economically and for infrastructure. Roger Keil argues that urbanization in the 21st century occurs as a suburbanization, understood as a combination of non-central population and economic growth with urban spatial expansion. ‘The growth of cities and activities is characterized by a disproportional expansion of those cities’ territories. In other words, as the world urbanizes, cities also become less intensively populated, their spaces less intensively used. (…) We are beginning to see the dissolution of centrality as we knew it. Instead, the urban form becomes polycentric and the suburbs themselves appear more as free-floating units.’ 1
It is mild, calm and sunny. Even though it is January, it feels like early spring. I make a long recording of almost 60 minutes.
(Please use headphones when listening.)
1 Keil, R. (2018). Suburban planet: Making the world urban from the outside in. Polity, pp. 1-22.