Ten Qualities of a Great Waterfront Destination

December 27, 2011 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

As Jacksonville continues its efforts in bringing life back to downtown, here are ten qualities of a great waterfront destination, according to Project for Public Spaces.

Text by Project for Public Spaces - www.pps.org

1. Surrounding Buildings Enhance Public Space

San Diego's Seaport Village is designed to be a car-free environment, with four miles of winding paths connecting various retail, dining, and entertainment venues.

Any building on the waterfront should boost activity in the public spaces around it. Ideally, there should be a mix of uses, with seamless interaction between inside and outdoors. High-rise towers that lack any public uses on the ground floor are noticeably out of place along rivers, lakes and ocean fronts. They usually create a wall that physically and psychologically cuts off the waterfront from surrounding neighborhoods.

2. Limits are Placed on Residential Development

Great waterfronts limit residential development like Berkman Plaza because they tend to prevent around-the-clock activity from happening.

Great waterfronts are not dominated by residential development. Why? Because these are places that are full of people, day and night. They are the sites of festivals, markets, fireworks displays, concerts, spontaneous celebrations and other high-energy gatherings. A high concentration of residential development undermines the diversity of waterfront use and creates pressure to prevent nighttime activity from flourishing.

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