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4 design strategies for your cold-climate waterfront

Photograph Sugar Beach in Toronto by christophmarten on 500px

Sugar Beach in Toronto by christophmarten on 500px

Since we’ve been discussing waterfronts lately, I thought I would share this post from ArchDaily talking about 4 ways that cold-climate cities can make the most of their waterfronts.

They are:

  1. Plan for winter sun
  2. Create plazas that block wind
  3. Break up outdoor spaces with comfort stations (not sure why they just have to be stations)
  4. Design for active winter programming

These, of course, aren’t new design strategies. Cities have been built around their climates since, probably, the beginning of cities. It wasn’t until more recently that we started basically ignoring local climates and focusing more on what mechanical systems can do to make us feel comfortable.

But I think that was a mistake. I don’t think that mechanical systems are bad though. I just think that there’s a lot that we can do first – without mechanical systems – to address local climates.

If you’ve ever sat on a patio during a swing season (i.e. right now) where the wind was blocked and you were in the direct sun, you already know that there’s a lot that can be done without relying on active systems.

But the other thing I like about this post is that it acknowledges the fact that winter waterfronts require just as much, if not more, design attention than a warm-climate waterfront.

Saying that we’ll (insert cold-climate city name here) never be Miami or Barcelona or Sydney is just giving up.

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