Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

San Antonio River Walk

'F.I.S.H.' gotta fly: The river under the I-35 bridge, once a wasteland, is now a civic treasure. San Antonio Museum of Art terminates the view. Image from the Incident Light blog.

It's been a long time since I've been to San Antonio (I missed the relatively recent American Planning Association annual meeting there a couple years ago), and this blog entry, "Placemaking at its best: In Urban Segment of Museum Reach, designers, artists, craftsmen extend Hugman's vision for River Walk," alerts us to the expansion of the River Walk there.

The San Antonio Riverwalk is an excellent example of harvesting assets that you already have, but perhaps have seen as impediments rather than as assets. Waterfronts are a key asset of communities in the Chesapeake Bay region, and especially for DC proper, which has both the Anacostia River and the Potomac River.

-- Anacostia Watershed Society
-- Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (DC DDOT)
-- Potomac Riverkeeper
-- The Future of the Anacostia (article from the Hill Rag)

In the report that I worked on for Cambridge Maryland, we discussed the necessity of linking the downtown to the waterfront as well as listing a number of ideas on how the community could better leverage its waterfront access as a revitalization asset.

Since working there, I have become a lot more conscious of Chesapeake Bay issues and the vastness of "the water" and its centrality to the identity of the Eastern Shore.

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation

In the old days, travel in the region was fastest by boat, and there was steamboat service connecting communities throughout the region. One of my crazy ideas is to re-create a kind of Maryland-Virginia-DC "cruise" using a steamboat or two, comparable to the cruise operation that runs on the Great Lakes.

-- A Great Lakes Cruiser Makes a Stop in Rochester from R News (Rochester, NY)
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
Steamboat at the C. & O. (Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company) piers, Newport News, Virginia. Library of Congress photo.

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