Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Article on Waterfronts

As we continue thinking about what to do with our waterfront, this could help.

The Waterfront Renaissance

As many cities rediscover the water, we have a remarkable opportunity to create a new generation of great public spaces.

Waterfronts are inextricably linked to the identity and vitality of cities. There could be no New York without a harbor, no San Francisco away from the bay, no Pittsburgh apart from its three rivers.

Over the past hundred years, shipping and industry have dispersed from riverfronts, seafronts, and lakefronts, making cities around the world rethink what to do in these prime locations--the birthplace, in most cases, of the city itself. As humans we are naturally drawn to explore the water's edge, which makes it deeply disappointing when all we find there is a highway, fenced-off industrial facilities or, just as bad, a mediocre shopping mall or underused park.

A waterfront project opens up the debate about the soul of a city for all to see.
Making the transition from working waterfront to public gathering place is full of challenges, be it providing public access or identifying the activities best suited to a particular community and place. Today, more and more cities and towns are boldly taking on these challenges.