Ten Qualities of a Great Waterfront DestinationDecember 27, 2011 8 comments 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.
8. The Water Itself Draws Attention
The Inner Harbor is the centerpiece for programming and activities in downtown Baltimore.
The water itself is the greatest asset of any waterfront, and should become the centerpiece for programming and activities. This can include traditional marine uses such as a ferry terminal or fishing port, which helps preserve a place’s identity. Additional activities may include water-taxis, boat tours, restaurants or bars on anchored boats, fishing, rock skipping, floating pools, kayaking and swimming. Many of these activities not only attract users to waterfront but also generate interest among onlookers. Embracing the natural uses of a waterfront leads to thematic programming such as boat festivals, fish markets, bait and tackle shops, and performances on floating stages.
9. Iconic Buildings Serve a Variety of Functions
Toronto's Queen's Quay Terminal is a former cold storage warehouse that has been converted into a waterfront shopping mall.
Iconic, attention-grabbing buildings that reflect a human scale and do not detract from the surrounding context can be a boon to the waterfront, so long as they serve a variety of functions. On a recent weekend morning in Stockholm, the busiest building along the waterfront was, surprisingly, the City Hall. Surrounded by a plaza, park, and courtyards, this landmark shares its slice of the waterfront with a pier where boats embark on waterfront tours. Clearly, this City Hall (where the Nobel Prize banquet is held each December) is more than a one-dimensional icon, it is also a good neighbor exhibiting a strong sense of place. Today’s iconic buildings should strive to achieve the same flexibility and public-spirited presence.