Active waterfronts can be incredibly attractive public assets that help define and enhance shoreline communities. When a community is connected to the water, it shares a common border with distant seaports around the world.
Our work is inspired by the coastal communities of the past that developed organically from dependent connections with the sea. We study the seaport villages and harbors of Europe and Asia where traditional human scale is intrinsically maintained.
Public docks and wharfs create a connection to the sea that provides unlimited possibilities for community members. When open for retail use, such structures can provide an invaluable asset to local waterfront communities and their upland neighbors.
However, waterfront infrastructure is inherently expensive. The torments of wind, waves and other natural aquatic mechanisms in the marine environment make continual maintenance of docks and wharfs an arduous task. To economically maintain infrastructure in a marine environment without burdening tax payers, a supportive commerce element must be created.
Waterfront commerce both directly and indirectly creates community value that can naturally offset the cost of waterfront infrastructure.
This is where we come in. UPWA works to inspire the development of independent self-sustaining programs that are supported by maritime organizations and entrepreneurs. These programs are designed to foster public engagement with the sea while providing value to local community members and visitors.
We couple sustainable maritime activities with publicly accessible dock sites to drive activation of water connections. Many of the programs we inspire are designed to actively engage a broad range of public participants beyond private boat owners. Most publicly owned dock infrastructure in local waters is designed to accommodate the exclusive interests of private boat owners and not the general public. Marinas and boat trailer launches.
Our FarmBoat program for example provides the ability for dockside visitors to experience aspects of the sea without owning a boat.