International Waterfronts Panel: Vancouver, Canada + SF Bay Area Waterfront Edges

Learn holistic project lessons from multidisciplinary teams of major waterfront redevelopments filtered through the lens of San Francisco's storied waterfront and its current challenges.


AIASF International Practice Committee featured event with support of Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee as part of an AIASF multi-committee program has designed a series of discussions on Waterfront Design. Our fourth session in the series will Include International Waterfront projects: Granville Island Redevelopment, Vancouver, Canada and Lower Lonsdale Waterfront, North Vancouver, Canada as well as San Francisco Bay Area Waterfront Edges DIALOG'S Joost Bakker and Vance Harris will present Granville Island and Lower Lonsdale Waterfront projects in Vancouver, alongside City Design’s Kristen Hall presenting Bay Area Waterfront Edges project in San Francisco. Elizabeth Macdonald of UC Berkeley will be moderating this session as the panel discusses best practices around design and delivery of large-scale leisure waterfront developments.

This course offers an exchange of ideas around very complex and multi-phased project typologies. We present this at a time when reduced Port activity, underutilized land, and sea-level rise present unique development opportunities and challenges San Francisco's waterfront. San Francisco's is one of the world's most well-known and storied global waterfront cities, but it faces significant challenges protecting historic assets, improving resilience, activating, and improving access along its diverse waterfront edge. International cities can offer lessons learned through their successful waterfront planning, design, and development. This course features holistic project lessons from multidisciplinary teams of major waterfront redevelopments. Presentations from international practices on global waterfront project of significant scale, offer lessons for current challenges faced on the City of San Francisco's waterfront.

Learning objectives

  • Appreciate the importance of establishing a patient and open approach to consultation and engagement (with multiple, diverse stakeholders) as early in the design process as possible
  • Understand the complexities of multi-modal urban space and Its relationship to the city
  • Implement a wealth of hard-earned lessons on what worked from a technical standpoint and what didn’t
  • Understand historical context and past use to creatively negotiate for uniqueness of place

Featured Projects

Lower Lonsdale Waterfront, North Vancouver, Canada


Masterplan/Architecture: DIALOG Client: Various

An exercise in engagement, diplomacy, placemaking, wayfinding, technical facility design, public art integration and urban renewal, DIALOG will look at waterfront projects from past and present. With a solid foundation rooted in the past success of Granville Island, DIALOG continues to challenge the future of design for Vancouver waterfronts. Through the lens of Granville Island and Lower Lonsdale Waterfront developments, DIALOG will explore; access to transit, the importance of public realm, the integration of light industrial and also an active multimodal, multi-jurisdictional waterfronts. DIALOG will look at how the Lower Lonsdale development connects the local residents and patrons of various neighborhoods along a series of transit routes, plazas, and recreational spaces. At the centre of this site is Shipyard Commons—a historic building that is both an origin and a destination. This project is connected to a series of shops continuing to the waterfront, intersecting with a combined pedestrian and bike route known as Spirit Trail, where the spectacular view of Vancouver Harbour is breathtaking.

Mission Rock, San Francisco

Presenter: Kristen Hall Urban Design: KRISTEN HALL

City Design Client: Giants, Tishman Speyer, and Port of San Francisco

As we plan for sea levels rise, we have the opportunity to redefine the way the city meets the water’s edge. The complex conditions of tidal changes, storm surge, and sea level rise create a continuously changing edge condition, and a wonderfully dynamic design challenge. In this presentation, Kristen will share several projects that she has worked on around the Bay, and the various ways each project worked within its constraints to shape a responsive, dynamic, and place-specific Bay Edge. The projects discussed will include Mission Rock, Potrero Power Station, Resilient Marin City, and one other confidential waterfront project in the Bay Area.

User rating:
Average: 4.8 (12 votes)
 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU
  • RIBA