Waterfront development is an important economic activity in coastal regions. Projects include constructing residential lots, resorts, commercial complexes, hotels and restaurants. Waterfront access routes are important for the overall success of coastline project. Building marinas, sea shore walkways and piers along with nature conservations initiatives like wetland preservation make for a balanced waterfront development plan.
Comprehensive planning is the key
A holistic approach works best while planning for waterfront development activities. Various aspects of engineering namely the civil, marine, mechanical and electrical ones need to be integrated into a cohesive solution. Activities like dredging and waterways mapping is possible only by a co-ordinate effort involving technical expertise and experience.
The improvements are there to see in the form of thriving coastal communities where land reclamation work has added to the prosperity. Development of ports has also seen large scale trade where large ships can easily load or unload cargo. Improvements in vessel maneuvering, motion and mooring techniques have opened several waterfronts to large scale economic activities.
Things that could go wrong
The challenges are often varied depending on the geography of the region as well as susceptibility to events like storms, earthquakes and decrease in water level. Extreme climatic changes hinder the usefulness of waterfront development to only a few months of the year greatly reducing its economic significance.
The opportunities and benefits
Tourism is an important part of the economic aspect of any waterfront development activity. For example cruise ships often visit famous cities around the world and waterfronts lined along the city benefit from tourism. However the growth of this industry has entailed large scale infrastructure development. Planning and building terminals for ship berthing facilities is one of the main requirements in this regard.
Some development options include
Resorts deserve special mention in any discussion on waterfront development. Resorts make a destination world famous and along with the facilities and natural landscapes. Resort construction needs to be undertaken based on not only its viability but also its impact on the environment. A resort with sunny and sandy beaches, boating and other recreational facilities will always attract tourists from all parts. However in most cases the development needs to be self sustainable and eco-friendly to be successful in the long term.
Piers built along the seashore are ideal to serve the purpose of fishing as well as catching the action on the sea. A great way to relax and take in the sunset.
Maritime museums are another interesting feature in the list of popular tourist attractions. Historic vessels draw thousands of visitors who wish to experience first hand the maritime tradition of the region.
An evaluation of coastal areas and existing facilities helps to determine beforehand if it can be developed as a waterfront center for trade or tourism. Often regulatory laws based on environment and labor as also market and commerce needs to be considered before going ahead with the development.