Giving Waterfronts Back to the People

Does D.C. want to be a swamp? Are waterfronts for tow parks or people? Heidi Petersen reports on a panel discussion on the past and future of Washington's waterfront at the National Building Museum.
Alex Ansley / flickr

Remembering the industrial past of riverfronts, a discussion panel of planning professionals, gathered at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. in June to discuss building along rivers, brought up the salient question: "Is the waterfront a back door or a front door?"

With a focus on recreational development along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, the panel concluded that riverfronts are important to both commerce and recreational activity.

Part of the discussion focused on the bureaucratic hurdles that must be jumped in order to implement any significant change for which there is great demand, such as non-motorized recreational boating on the D.C. waterfront. The discussion also meandered to the river as a "double-edged sword," both helping and hindering development with the potential for flooding, particularly in Prince George's County, home to the infamous "rain tax" on impervious surfaces.

The Yards, a new park on the Potomac in Georgetown, has become very popular with the public, an example of the riverfront being used as front door, above the flood zone, of course.

Full Story: Is your waterfront a back door or a front door

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 2012

Thinking about Grad School?

You need the essential resource for prospective planning students
Starting at $24.95