This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Productive Public Space: Wetland Waterfront Reconnecting to the City in Mobile, AL




Bi, Wenrui

Type of Degree



Landscape Architecture


Mobile is a port city on the Gulf of Mexico, and is the oldest city in the State of Alabama as well. The convenient location and land-river transportation link gave the city great strategic importance, which fostered it development at the last centuries. However, the growth of its railroad and highway systems formed a barrier between the city and waterfront, which has left few opportunities to create a livable river’s edge. This thesis project intends to reconnect Mobile’s waterfront to the city by an approach to landscape planning and design that makes of it a productive public space. It is clear that public space is essential to any city, but not all the public spaces that are created are fully used in our daily lives. Instead of requiring more and more lands in the urban area to create these public spaces, multi-functional public space could be more productive in limited areas, and increase the value of public space especially in urban precincts. By redesigning the existing waterfront park and its surrounding areas, this research will not only break the boundary of the transportation strip, making the waterfront accessible, but also increase the effective use of public space along the waterfront and other vacant space. The aim of the research is to reclaim the waterfront from its industrial-use or vacant buffer zone to an area with diverse functions which raises the economic value and brings local social life back to the river’s edge.