by Michael R. Allen
The Project for Public Spaces has unveiled its “Worst Waterfront Cities.” New York, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Boston, Tokyo, Seattle and Paris are the finalists. One wonders why St. Louis, one of the world’s most famous river cities with one of the world’s least-accessible riverfronts, is not on the list. Perhaps St. Louis is not large enough to catch the attention of PPS, or perhaps our abundance of amazing riverfront industrial architecture partly redeems our failures of public space planning.
Of course, in the eyes of the local establishment, the great waterfront plan created by Diana Balmori and Associates is tantamount to actually improving the riverfront, despite the fact that its price tag renders it “dead in the water” (yeah, I know) and its scope is limited only to the downtown riverfront that already is cut off from where people actually live.
More thoughts on the matter are online in Rob Powers’ photo-essay “What’s Wrong With This Riverfront?” (about our downtown riverfront) and my own “How Do You Get to the River?” (about one of my favorite river access points, soon to be rendered inaccessible).
(Thanks to Alan Brunettin for pointing out the PPS list.)