Sustainable Urban Waterfront: Re-imagining Waterfronts as Inclusive Public Spaces
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractConcerns for sustainability and the environmental management processes that contribute to it, is of critical importance to the future growth of cities throughout the world. Cities located along river corridors, lakes and coastal waterways have a greater concern as human migration to these areas has increased over the last several decades. Bordered by water, these communities must make use of limited land while protecting critical natural resources from damage due to their continued growth. From ancient times, such urban settlements and their ports were intimately related in both functional and spatial terms (Hoyle and Pinder) owing their prosperity to waters usefulness and ease in transportation and trade. In port cities today, the symbiosis between water and human based functions has changed dramatically, challenging cities at times to reclaim industrial and derelict properties and transform them into spaces that expand economic growth, protect public health, the environment, and create a sense of place for local residents. The goal of this project is to identify design guidelines that fall within the parameters of sustainable and smart growth planning and develop a model for a sustainable waterfront redevelopment project. The challenge in this project is to develop a model that meets 3 distinct design criteria: 1. Restore the biological and physical structure of the water and shoreline where possible. 2. Enhance the existing waterfront facade and landscape. 3. Allocate space for the areas cultural, social and public programs throughout the entire project. Coastal and waterfront communities around the world have a distinct sense of place created by their history and geographic location. Some of these once thriving maritime communities, over time have deteriorated into underutilized, obsolete and often contaminated properties. Bordered by water, coastal communities are challenged to make use of limited land, while protecting the natural resources from the effects of urban growth. Taking advantage of and reinvesting in these pre-disturbed coastal areas, communities can once again thrive, bringing value back to both the economy and the community. Living near or on the water historically has been and is expected to remain very desirable. Take for example the United States. In the U.S., coastal cities cover less than 17% of the land area yet 52% of the U.S. population lives within that area, and that number is expected to grow (Smart Growth manual 3). In third world countries that number is even higher due in part to the number of jobs available and the overall quality of life in these areas is better. Panama City is no different. The city is in the midst of its own population explosion. At the beginning of European settlement (1501), historians estimate that the entire population (some 60 tribes) of what is now the Republic of Panama was between 500,000 and 750.000. (U.S. Library of Congress) Today, the city hosts a population of just over 1.2 million people, roughly 52% of the countries entire population. (U.S. Library of Congress). According to the world bank, Panama is an uppermiddle income developing country that suffers from extreme income inequality affecting 40% of its population. (World Bank.org)