chapter  7
22 Pages

Climate-Resilient Urban Waterfronts

ByKristina Hill

Urban waterfronts were once planned and designed as a form of urban competition,  when new berths for ships could expand a city’s reach into maritime trade and military  domination of the seas. In the 16th to 18th centuries, some nations redesigned the  waterfronts of their coastal cities as competitive harbours, designed for larger and larger  ships as well as better dock facilities. Italian Renaissance humanists believed that there  was a set of ideal forms for port cities, and that implementing a rational and beautiful  form would both reflect and contribute to making human society more rational and  humane (Konvitz, 1978, 1994). As trade expanded rapidly and a new class of wealthy  merchants emerged, Venice began to implement some of these humanist urban design  ideas as early as the 13th century when a major expansion of global trade occurred. The  city became a model for other cities and remains so today when urban leaders claim the  title of ‘Venice of the North’ in Stockholm, or others claim that waterfront improvements will make their city a new Venice.