Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Turn Around, See the River

I can't resist posting excellent design solutions that address regenerative solutions to "throw-away" public space in formerly industrial areas in river waterfronts! From Architectural Record (with a gorgeous slide show):

"Travelers visiting Quebec City this summer who haven’t been there for some time, and who approach by car along the Saint Lawrence from the West, will find a stretch of the river’s waterfront completely transformed. Just past the Pont de Qu├ębec and the Pont Pierre-Laporte, what had once been a largely industrial landscape dotted with petroleum storage tanks is now a leafy linear park filled with pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. This 1.5-mile-long, $63 million (U.S.) section of the Promenade Samuel-de Champlain is part of a vision for a continuous emerald swath that will eventually extend another 6 miles to an area of shoreline near the fortified walls of the Old City."

River waterfronts around the world have a nearly universal legacy as being the "freeway" of the old industrial age. This project is similar to many across the globe, in reclaiming urban rivers and engaging in them instead of keeping the old model of turning the city's back on it. The LA River is a project in a similar vein, except that it has the added problem of being channeled in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers and effectively turned into a sewage pipe, threatening its status as a navigable waterway.