In February of 2023, the city of Mobile, Alabama released an ambitious new vision for a regenerative project called Brookley by the Bay.
The project hopes to revitlaize a 98-acre waterfront site just south of downtown, adjacent to the Mobile Aeroplex.
Located at the mouth of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the Mobile waterfront was once an abundant mosaic of tidal marshes, forested wetlands, and shallow lagoons.
Since its establishment as a major port in the 18th century, the city has become a regional economic hub: a positive transformation that has also, over time, separated residents from the water’s edge.
At Brookley by the Bay, a collective vision for a 98-acre waterfront park presents an opportunity to reconnect residents back to Mobile Bay, immersed in the lush native ecosystems of southern Alabama.
Incorporating feedback from a series of workshops with partners, stakeholders, councilmembers, and the public, the team crafted a vision that weaves together programmatic areas and ecological restoration into an iconic waterfront park that connects people to the Mobile waterfront, draws on the site’s unique history, and fosters stewardship into its future.
Linking up with existing and planned open space projects including Broad Street, the Crepe Myrtle Trail, and the Mobile County Blueway, the vision prioritizes safe and equitable access for all Mobile residents, strengthening pedestrian and bike connections between downtown and communities along Dog River.
Three distinct shoreline experiences bring people down to the Bay: a tranquil beach and amphitheater to the north, an interactive shoreline with get-downs to the east, and a more active, programmed shoreline with continuous water access to the south.
Stitched together by two paths—a meandering shared-use path encircling the perimeter and a central multi-modal loop at the park’s core—the vision balances sweeping, open spaces for flexible use with more intimate areas for gathering, education, and exploration.
Undulating berms and swales guide visitors to the water from the park’s center, framing expansive views while also functioning as a layered protection system for both stormwater and coastal flooding.
Brookley by the Bay proposes a legacy open space for Mobile that would transform the city’s relationship with its waterfront—establishing a more resilient, accessible, and enduring space for generations to come.
The vision was developed collaboratively by a design team comprising Volkert (as prime), SCAPE, Moffatt & Nichol, Freddie Stokes, and Thompson Engineering.
From August 2022 to February 2023, the City of Mobile worked with SCAPE, Volkert, Moffatt & Nichol, and Thompson Engineering to develop a vision for Brookley by the Bay, a 98-acre waterfront park along Mobile Bay’s western shore, just east of Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.
The final plan presents a collective vision for Brookley by the Bay, guided by input from community members, local stakeholder organizations, and project partners.
The park will be an integral part of Mobile’s continued growth, provide waterfront access to its residents, and showcase some of the city’s most cherished natural resources.
The collective vision for a new waterfront park at Brookley by the Bay presents an opportunity for people to reconnect with the water’s edge and immerse themselves within the rich, bio-diverse ecosystems that once defined and sustained the region – its tidal flats, marshes, forested wetlands, and shallow lagoons.
This vision seeks to carefully weave programmed areas that support waterfront access and recreation through the site’s incredible tree canopies, open fields, and varied shoreline and create new areas that enhance habitat resilience, enrich the under story, and allow coastal ecosystems to emerge and thrive.
This idea for a patchwork of programmed spaces and dynamic ecosystems emerged through a collaborative process with community members, local stakeholder organizations, and project partners.
Their input guided the development of a shared vision that creates vibrant gathering places for all and connects the site to the greater Mobile area.
Providing multiple modes of access to the site and a range of flexible spaces that support a variety of waterfront activities – from smaller family gatherings to larger events – ensures Brookley by the Bay will be an adaptive and enduring place, helping foster a connection with Mobile Bay among current and future generations.
The Brookley by the Bay planning process incorporated feedback from more than 300 community members, partner agencies, and stakeholder organizations.
All images courtesy of SCAPE.
Download the Brookley By The Bay plan (PDF).