How a Waterfront Becomes Redevelopment Gold
12 May 2021

Over the past several decades, the redevelopment of post-industrial waterfront sites has been one of the most compelling trends shaping cities across the United States and around the globe.

It’s easy to see why: As a place of both excitement and calming respite in the urban world, people’s innate desire to be at the water’s edge makes these areas inherently desirable.

For many developers, it would seem that any such project is bound to succeed. As architects and urban designers who have worked on waterfront projects from coast to coast, we have found that the reality is often more complicated, involving intense risk analysis, extensive remediation and comprehensive framework plans—not to mention intricate entitlement processes and the need to garner community support.

What does it take to sort through this complexity and turn a big, dirty waterfront into the next big urban destination?

The most successful waterfront project teams follow three key steps in the pre-design process, and these best practices can offer a roadmap for any development group considering major waterfront work.

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