Loreto Bay Before​

Downtown Providence circa 1960s. Image: philipmarshall.net​

Now, due to the hard work of citizens and developers committed to sustaining natural habitats and revitalizing economies, both Loreto Bay and the Providence Riverwalk are vibrant centers, featuring stunning architectural design, for locals and tourists alike.​

 

Histories of Loreta Bay and the Waterplace Park Riverwalk

Loreto Bay 2013

Loreta Bay is located on a gorgeous estuary along the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. The bay is a refuge for many marine species including sea turtles, mother of pearl, blue whales, dolphins, and hundreds of fishes and sea birds. Originally, Mexico planned the Loreta Bay to become a tourist destination, equal to Cancun or Los Cabos. However, a series of failed development attempts throughout the 60s and 70s degraded the estuary, leaving little for tourists to appreciate.​

Waterplace Park and Riverwalk (WaterFire) Today. Photo: Dan Taylor

Similarly, Waterplace Park exists in a unique area of Rhode Island where three rivers, the Providence, Woonasquatucket, and Moshassuck live in close proximity. Prior to the Carter Administration in the 1970s, the area was developed for industrial purposes. It was once called, "the world's largest bridge" because a combination of railways, bridge overpasses, surface parking and road/railways left it a mass of continuous asphalt and cement. Interface Study Director, Gerald Howes was a key participant in pushing the project through the legislation in order for the revitalization of Providence's downtown area to come to fruition.

 

While both waterfront communities suffered from poor development decisions during the 1960s and 70s, they were fortunate enough to eventually benefit from community members, municipalities and investors, committed to creating long-standing sustainable development plans.​

Loreto Bay Before. Source: Bill Reed​

For Loreto Bay, Bill Reed and his team at Regenesis Group in conjunction with the Mexican Government, created a long-term development plan to revitalize this once degraded area.​

Loreto Bay Today. Source: mexicotoday.com​

Their plans combine attractive architectural design and the preserving and protecting of its natural habitat. When complete, the project will consist of a 6,000-unit, eco-friendly resort, including Venetian-like canals designed to protect mangroves and marine habitats.​

Waterplace Park and Riverwalk. Source: Matt York via ajc.com​

Similarly, Providence's Waterplace Park and Riverwalk have created a series of pedestrian friendly canals, as well as a mixed-use architectural designs, that attract residents and visitors alike. Shops, pavilions, restaurants, and community-sponsored cultural events draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to this 11-acre, urban park with over 1.5 miles of riverfront walking paths.​

Crowd at WaterFire in Waterplace Park and Riverwalk. Source: waterfire.org​

Sustainable architectural design isn't the only thing drawing interest to Waterplace Park. Barnaby Evans, an award-winning sculpture artist, created Waterfire, a living artwork that is a main attraction for residents and guests.

 

Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors salute these communities for taking unsightly, wasted habitats and restoring them sustainably, in a way that will benefit the economy and eco-system for years to come.

 

Special thanks to Bill Reed for the research on Loreto Bay.​

In Honor of Earth Day: Sustainable Restorations​

Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

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Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

architecture and interiors

At first glance, the communities of Loreto Bay, located in Baja, Mexico, and The Providence Riverwalk, in Rhode Island, USA might not seem to have much in common. In fact, both areas were once a pile of concrete and asphalt, offering little commercial or cultural value to their communities.