Urban Planning and Development of River Cities

by Arnold H. Vollmer, (A.M.ASCE), Consulting Engineer; Senior Partner; Vollmer Associates, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Journal of the Urban Planning and Development Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 1, Pg. 59-64

Document Type: Journal Paper


The past provides a wealth of information testifying to the undeniable importance of locating cities on navigable bodies of water for purposes of trade, transportation, and protection. However, our present life style does not demand this same situation in order to grow and economically prosper. As man has evolved, so has his relationship to his environment, in this case his relationship to the waterfront. While the absolute necessity of waterfront location has become obsolete, the sites themselves have become unsightly and neglected. Eyesore waterfronts, once the pride of the cities, have in many instances become the scars of the cities. As the demands for rivers as transportation and trade routes diminished, new demands evolved. The river became the transporter of sewage, the refuge of the pleasure seeker. The new demands often conflict with one another, yet they are of equal importance. While man's relationship to the waterfront is constantly evolving, function and esthetics are still key words in planning considerations. The aim must be progress in river city planning which will meet these demands and allow for order and meaning within the changing relationship between the river and the city.

Subject Headings: Municipal water | Rivers and streams | Urban areas | High-rise buildings | Lifeline systems | Professional societies | Economic factors | Routing (transportation)

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