Due to a combination of climate change-driven threats and economic opportunities, cities across the world are investing billions of dollars in waterfront infrastructure and coastal restoration. Urban planners and park managers are often tasked with designing and programming blue spaces to maximize ecosystem services (ES) for local users. However, it is not always clear which ES are most valued, and by whom. Thus, the design of urban waterfronts presents challenges in identifying how communities engage with these spaces and how new planning might alter such uses if not accounted for. This paper describes a Rapid Social Assessment (RSA) methodology that has been piloted in the NYC metropolitan area to successfully ground community engagement and planning in an understanding of how urban blue spaces are currently used. This methodology can be coupled with other types of data collection for a better characterization of the coupled human-natural dynamics of these spaces, and can be adapted to coastal, lake, and riparian waterfronts globally.
Toomey, Anne H.; Palta, Monica; Johnson, Michelle; Smith, Jason; Balladares, Elizabeth; Auyeung, Novem; Svendsen, Erika; Pirani, Rob; Cullman, Georgina; Corrado, Julia; and Campbell, Lindsay
"Blue Spaces as Social Spaces: Measuring the Uses and Values of Urban Waterfronts,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol16/iss2/9