Blog From Philly to Seattle: America’s Waterfronts are Urban Development Issue of Decade

Reposted From Discovery News
From Philly to Seattle: America’s Waterfronts are Urban Development Issue of Decade
BY Bruce Chapman
Call it “On the Waterfront” Meets “Philadelphia Story.” The remake of the famous harbor of Philadelphia is the major development issue of that big city today. Three thousand miles away, the impending replacement of the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle has opened the opportunity and necessity of redesigning the waterfront there. Many other cities have similar issues in front of them as industrial era usages in central locations are being replaced by new interests in recreation and tourism and less unsightly transportation.
In a recent visit to Seattle, Harris Steinberg of PennPraxis at the University of Pennsylvania, explained to a Seattle citizen planning team how his group and the William Penn Foundation, backed by the City of Philadelphia and local media and civic groups, have redesigned the general plan for the riverfront along the Delaware River, a deteriorating area of old piers and warehouses and “big box stores”.
The Central Delaware region includes 1146 acres along seven miles of waterfront. Until three years ago its development was dictated largely by private deals brokered by local politicians and bureaucracies. What Steinberg and his associates accomplished was a professionally led participatory process that built trust that “public good, not private gain” would prevail in the future. The idea is not to substitute the private sector, of course, but to provide a reliable vision and predictable standards.
Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center hosted the Steinberg presentation, in conjunction with former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer and businessman Bob Donegan of the citizen waterfront teams that advise local government on how Seattle’s central harbor might function once the Viaduct is demolished and through traffic is diverted to a new upland deep-bore tunnel. Architect and former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck helped arrange the meeting and Cascadia director Bruce Agnew presided.
Related Links:
“Keystone State Experts Share Insights for Seattle’s Waterfront,” Cascadia Prospectus