Creative Spaces: Waterfronts That Make a Splash

The debate is heating up around Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford's endorsement of the plan to put a casino on Toronto's waterfront. While some believe a mammoth entertainment complex is just what the waterfront needs, many emphatically disagree.

I asked John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto what makes a waterfront compelling. "Animation is the key to making a waterfront truly great," he told me. "The most successful waterfronts are the ones that are lively and vibrant and attract residents, workers and tourists by offering a variety of things to see and do, from shopping and dining to cultural attractions and signature parks and public spaces by the water." He went on to add, "One of my favorites is Sydney's waterfront because it's got everything -- a ferry terminal, great restaurants, a beautiful promenade, the iconic Sydney Opera House, and the botanic gardens -- and it's always full of people."

Whether it is visiting the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium on Chicago's majestic Lake Shore Drive or hopping into a water taxi and gliding across Baltimore Harbor, why haven't most cities leveraged their waterfronts so well? Because as recently as just a few decades ago, most city waterfronts were still industrial ports. Now abandoned and seriously polluted, these wastelands need an expert master plan, including environmental assessments, transportation and infrastructure expertise, mixed use development options, and investments of millions or billions of dollars before they can be retrofitted for future generations to enjoy.

As the kids are almost out of school and summer is quickly approaching, this edition of Creative Spaces celebrates the cities that have done the work and spent the money to make vibrant and dynamic waterfronts -- great spots where tourists and locals alike can gather, play and reflect.

Creative Spaces: Water Fronts