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.

6. Access Made Easy by Boat, Bike and Foot

Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Park is easily accessible by boat, bike, and foot.

Waterfronts flourish when they can be accessed by means other than private vehicles. In Sydney, Stockholm, Venice, Helsinki, and Hong Kong, people head to the waterfront via boat as much as by land. You can dramatically enhance the character and experience of a waterfront when it is easily reached in ways other than driving. Access by foot and bike are a crucial element of the transportation mix, which is why many of the most beloved are crowned by pedestrian promenades and bike lanes. People feel more at ease when not overwhelmed by traffic and parking lots, creating a climate that fosters a full breadth of waterfront activity. Where streets are absolutely necessary for commercial deliveries, or access to retail or marine uses, they should be designed to minimize their impact on pedestrian safety and enjoyment, and always be closed for events and festivals.

7. Local Identity is Showcased

In San Francisco, Dungeness crab is locally caught and served everywhere.

The greatest waterfront destinations are found in cities that truly orient themselves to the water. Venice and Stockholm are defined by their waterfronts, and residents and visitors alike naturally gravitate there. Making the most of local identity, history and culture stimulates widespread interest in the waterfront and creates a unique sense of place. Frequent opportunities to appreciate local art, music and theatre helps draw a community together around the waterfront.

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