Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture


Thomas Schurch

Committee Member

Gerald Vander Mey

Committee Member

Daniel J. Ford


ABSTRACT Urban waterfronts are unique landscape edges where the city and the water meet. Water was our country’s first form of transportation, and our cities grew along the waterfronts of navigable harbors, lakes, rivers, and canals. Our urban waterfronts were energetic places of trade and industry, and the “front doors” of our cities. As America became a leading industrialized nation, industry sought alternative means of transportation besides water; and with subsequent deindustrialization, America’s factories began to close. This led industry to turn away from our city’s waterfronts, leaving behind a legacy of over 5 million acres of abandoned industrial sites, much of which is adjacent to fragile waterfront ecosystems (US EPA 1986). Within the last 30 years, cities have rediscovered their waterfronts and realized that these areas have the potential to create unmatched opportunities for redevelopment – “the creation of new uses in the place of the blighted, abandoned property that once held the city’s industrial heart” (Marshall 2001, 77). Rich in history and culture of place, industry, and the people that created them, these landscapes should be seen as assets; as historic sites that enhance the possibilities of creative practice in preservation, design, and planning. This study examines how post-industrial heritage can be integrated into an ecologically responsible and sustainable design of an urban waterfront. Through literature review and case study analysis, examining industrial heritage and urban waterfront development, a design framework of guidelines and principles is developed and applied to a project site on the peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina. The end result is a conceptual master plan for Charleston’s Union Pier that captures and integrates the city’s rich maritime and industrial heritage in the form of an ecologically responsible and sustainable urban design.