Industrial Storytelling: Preservation and Adaptive Use at Waterfront Redevelopments in the Puget Sound Region of the Pacific Northwest
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Type of Work297 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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industrial waterfront redevelopment
adaptive use and sustainability
waterfront redevelopment planning
Puget Sound region industrial sites
Thea Foss Waterway
Bellingham Waterfront District
Historic preservation -- Theses
Industrial buildings -- Remodeling for other use -- Washington (State) -- Puget Sound Watershed
Industrial districts -- Washington (State) -- Puget Sound Watershed -- Case studies
Industrial sites -- Conservation and restoration -- Washington (State) -- Puget Sound Watershed
Puget Sound waterfront redevelopments that visually communicate their histories of industrial use will best achieve sustainability, cultural meaning, and authentic placemaking for local residents. Preservation, design, and interpretation all contribute to this industrial storytelling. Hence, one major criterion for success is the extent to which a redevelopment has cultivated its extant resources. Historic buildings, structures, and artifacts should set the keynotes for site design and new construction. A second corollary, or criterion, evaluates how well developers, architects, and planners create a genuine sense of place, primarily through preservation and design, but also supplemented with interpretation. Finally, a third criterion focuses on ethical storytelling. A highly- effective project will mediate among competing values to convey its diverse history and promote narrative continuity, a layering of temporal evolution. Telling the stories of a site’s industrial precedents is an ethical mandate because it is essential to a community’s identity and need for continuance of a familiar landscape. These narratives should be conveyed through an organic process grounded in the site’s past. For example, at Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first case study site, authentic placemaking was derived from the site’s historic layout, materials, and original resources. When these components are translated into a redevelopment, they produce the materialized narrative with the most historic integrity. The site should be recognizable to residents and interesting to tourists, but also communicate its history to new generations. This visibility is particularly necessary when original resources have been lost, as in the case of the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma, the second case study. The industrial narrative is, therefore, best developed through sustainable preservation practices, design standards that evoke the original sense of place, and conscientious interpretation. The Waterfront District in Bellingham, the third case study, is an undeveloped site that could benefit from cultivating these elements. Ultimately, the communities that establish a well-conceived program for redevelopment to enhance their extant resources will articulate the most compelling, multilayered stories for their residents, and those of the future.