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Waterfront planning and development

Blog

How to serve the community with proper development of lakeshores and riverfronts.
Blog
Waterfront planning and development
How to serve the community with proper development of lakeshores and riverfronts.

Chicago, San Francisco, San Antonio, New York City — these cities offer breathtaking waterfronts that have become community gathering spaces. Although they may seem like tourist-magnets, many locals frequent these destinations year-round. So what are these communities doing right? Here are some guidelines for planning a successful lakeshore or riverfront.

Align the space with community goals

Waterfront spaces are too rare and valuable to leave in the hands of city planners and developers alone. A major consideration for revitalizing a lakeshore or riverfront space is to put public goals first, rather than the financial objective. Community engagement and pride are the most important factors. For example, if you’re planning for bike traffic, consider how many bike racks to install and which style best suits the landscape.

Centralize the space with a building

Surrounding buildings will attract visitors and boost activity on the waterfront. The building should encourage activity both indoors and out, and include features like restaurants, food stands, gift shops and recreation-equipment rental.

Design with a year-round mindset

Keep the entire calendar year in mind as you design the waterfront space. Depending on your local weather conditions, this could mean bringing in several different types of outdoor furnishings like umbrellas, gazebos or other types of shelter. Then, fill the community calendar with activities to draw people throughout the months.

Give your design flexibility

Unfortunately, your waterfront space won’t always stay the same. As the community evolves and the weather changes each year, make sure you can adapt. For example, a stage might be often used in the summer, but not during the winter months. Because of this you might opt for a retractable or temporary stage. Your space might also benefit from on-site storage, to keep tables & chairs, or umbrellas that go unused during particular seasons.

Lakeshore and riverfront areas can be among a community's most cherished spaces. Unlock their potential with these ideas for success.

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