A New Vision for San Diego’s Waterfront

For the Port of San Diego’s working waterfront, Civitas clearly believes in going big.

The landscape architecture and urban design firm recently proposed a $200 million vision for the waterfront where cruise ships, commercial fishermen and the U.S. Navy all are actively engaged.

“Initially, we were asked to craft policies for open space in the public realm, and to determine how much open space and recommend policies,” says Scott Jordan, principal at Civitas. “Then the commissioners said ‘Good, but we need to know what the look and feel will be like.’”

So Civitas created a vision plan to test the policies. Once the policies are approved, they’ll move forward on projects. “It’s a systemic approach for an urban park and a working waterfront,” he says. “Their role is to figure out what to do with that land – they’re trying to make sure that the property is available to everybody.”

Among the proposals is an enormous pier that takes its cues from aircraft carriers. “It’s a 30,000 square feet, in a shape that’s about creating a place,” he says. “We’ll create pavilions for restaurants and retail, and a maritime museum.”

They also want to take 13 acres of paved parking and turn it into a pedestrian-friendly public space, along a mile-long stretch of the waterfront known as the North Embarcadero. That would follow along behind Civitas’ 2015 Phase One there, a $31 million, 1,000-foot linear park and promenade.

It’s all been in the planning phases for two decades now – with sustainability a key component. “When we did Phase One, one big feature was that 100 percent of the storm water was captured on the streets at Harbor Drive, and treated in both biological areas and mechanical areas and then released back into the bay,” he says. “This would be the same.”

The master plan is out for public review now, with port commissioners ready to make some decisions once they’ve received comments.

And what’s not to like? It’s it’s bold, it’s visionary, and it looks to San Diego’s history and industry to shape its design and direction.

That all adds up to a waterfront like no other in the nation.

For more, go here.

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