The river in the urban landscape: Landscape ecological principles for the design of riverfronts

Penteado, Homero M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

River corridors have become important resources for the preservation of nature and habitat restoration of because they remain a continuous natural feature within urban landscapes. This study develops riverfront design principles to enhance habitats and species diversity, restore hydrological processes, and provide opportunities for human activities. The design principles are developed from an assessment of literature on waterfront design and landscape ecology, and a case study that integrates ecological and human concerns. The resulting principles were applied to a riverfront in Guelph, Ontario, to illustrate and understand their usefulness. Mitigation and restoration measures could be applied to enhance the ecological function of the riverfront. The principles were applied to re-establish the lost connectivity by enhancing vegetation on the riverbanks and part of the floodplain, and by removing barriers. In some sites, the principles could not be applied because of the presence of buildings. Their removal would represent a costly initiative and a loss of cultural landmarks. The design principles are considered useful for designers and planners because they have the potential to equip professionals with tools to establish and create healthier natural systems, while addressing human needs in riverfront environments.

riverfronts, design, urban landscape, ecological principles, habitat restoration