Working Waterfronts

If you think we need more shops and restaurants than Stephen Karp will build to make Newburyport's Central Waterfront a vibrant public space, think again!

The experience of cities across America shows that what works is a PARK with benches and walkways and room to gather together to enjoy a city's most prized location without any price of admission.

Check out these award winning waterfront parks which prove the extraordinay value of keeping a waterfront public and open to all. And scroll to the bottom to hear how parks transform a city.


Charleston Waterfront Park


Designated as one of the Great Places in America by the American Planning Association

Size: 13 acres with park benches, swings and a fountain 

From the American Planning Association:

“Strategically located in lower downtown Charleston, Waterfront Park provides a place of quiet, even contemplation, The setting affords visitors unique views of the Cooper River not found anywhere else.

The park also has been an integral part of the city's planned $400 million downtown revitalization that attracted some $337 million in private capital, or a return of $4.62 on every public dollar invested."

The park has helped make Charleston the #1 city on Conde Nast's survey of Best Cities to Visit in America and has been recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects and National Trust for Historic Preservation for making a significant contribution to the public realm.



Louisville Waterfront Park

Size: 85 acres!


Designated one of America’s Great Public Places by the Project for Public Spaces

From The Project for Public Spaces:

"Boats, bikes, cars and pedestrians all use the space. It connects to downtown through the Belvedere and wharf and to eastern parks through a bike trail.

 It just looks clean and green. People mill about all the time, and the lighting is safe. The lawn is used for sunbathing when events aren't on. The playgrounds are busy. Benches and swings allow people to look over the river, and parking is tucked away."



Pittsburgh North Shore Riverside Park


 Designated one of America’s Great Public Places by the Project for Public Spaces

 Size:  11.25 acres of public and green space, 3.1 acres of lawn and 2.1 acres of planting area. The remaining acreage is dedicated to walkways, memorials, and public art.

From The Project for Public Spaces:

“People of both genders and of all ages use the space regularly for exercise, and recreation... for walking, jogging, bicycling, rollerblading, fishing and sunbathing. No section goes unused by the public. 

North Shore Riverfront Park is truly a front yard for local neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh. The park is easily accessible for elderly patrons, and safe for children. The park is inclusive and welcoming for every person, which is evident by the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the place. Residents feel a sense of pride and ownership, and they bring their friends and out-of town guests to see it.”



FAILURE:  Toronto's Waterfront:  Private development runs amuck

Listed on the Project for Public Spaces Hall of Shame

From The Project for Public Spaces:

"Unfortunately, while many of these public spaces are developed, they are being overshadowed by initiatives led by private investment that are turning waterfront regeneration into profit-making schemes.

Private development has resulted in a barrier of condo high-rises, which blocks the view of the water from the rest of Toronto and creates a psychological barrier for the general public.

While the stores and amenities that are being installed on the first floor of these developments increases mixed-use of the area, chain stores and franchise establishments detract from any sort of local character.  The general up-scale nature of the dining amenities does not represent the diverse nature of Toronto.

Development led by private investment threatens to turn Toronto's great waterfront into a tourist spectacle worthy of the Hall of Shame."


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