Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech Group Planning the Future of International Urban Waterfronts

Apr 18, 2013 | Atlanta, GA

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  • Panorama of Waterfront Revitalization Studio

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Perry Pei-Ju Yang

A group of City & Regional Planning and Architecture graduate students traveled to Taiwan during their Spring Break to conduct research and share ideas with members of the local government and officials from institutions of higher education as part of a semester-long studio project. Led by Professors Perry Yang, Richard Dagenhart, and Nancey Green Leigh, the group is working with the government of Kaohsiung, an industrial port city, to create a waterfront redevelopment plan.  

The group met with the city’s Deputy Mayor and representatives from the Taiwan Port Authority and local Bureaus of Urban Development and Economic Development. The land around Kaohsiung’s port was previously owned by the Port Authority and used exclusively for heavy industry and shipping.  This activity has increasingly moved away from the historic waterfront piers as Kaohsiung has become one of the largest container ports in the world.  The city government is now engaged in plans and projects to redevelop hundreds of acres of contaminated land along the waterfront.

Local government officials presented their high profile and innovative design waterfront projects which included a pop music center, passenger cruise ship terminal, convention center, and library. The visiting Georgia Tech students and professors presented ideas on the use of urban Free Economic Zones, areas of deregulated economic activity created to promote foreign direct investment and boost job growth. Additionally, they discussed fostering urban redevelopment with international educational institutions as anchors, utilizing urban design to create waterfront accessibility for a wide range of users, and revising zoning regulations to allow a mix of residential and economic activity for a vibrant, sustainable waterfront. They cited examples from their earlier research trip to New York City exploring its waterfront redevelopment, and especially notable efforts to support manufacturing and creative industries in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The studio’s waterfront redevelopment plan will be completed by the end of the spring semester. For more information, visit the studio group’s website: http://waterfrontcities.wordpress.com.