Los Angeles’ river revitalization can look to other cities for successful precedents

As Frank Gehry continues to help work out a master plan for revitalizing the engineered-to-death Los Angeles River, there’s no shortage of precedents for him to draw on for guidance.

For decades, cities tended to devote riverbanks to industry, railroads and highways.

Most American cities turned their backs on the water in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s,” said Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington.

With the decline of industry, cities over the last 25 years have rediscovered their waterfronts.

There’s hardly a city in the country that hasn’t tried to reconnect with its waterfront,” McMahon said. “Some have had more success than others.

Success stories include Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Charleston, South Carolina, San Antonio, Texas, and Columbus, Georgia.

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