River-city recreational interaction: A classification of urban riverfront parks and walks
Since the seventies, cities all over the world are rediscovering their rivers. Recreational uses of the urban streams are becoming popular and public access to the waterfronts is being improved. This has led to the construction of a wide variety of public open spaces on the riverfront with different ways of interacting with the river ecosystem.
In this research, we elaborate a classification of riverfront parks based on two criteria: the position of the open space within the river corridor and the access possibilities from the open space to the water. To verify the applicability of the classification framework, seven Spanish urban rivers have been studied.
Results derived from the classification process show that public recreational riverfronts can be categorized into three classes: floodplain, upland and raised spaces. Within the floodplain spaces, fluvial subclass can be distinguished from riparian subclass in that the former allows greater access to water. The case study confirms the viability of the classification system and it is useful to describe the open space classes.
We found that, despite their spatial characteristics, design and use can be almost unlimited, there are patterns associated with each class. The methodology developed and its application (1) allows to know the amount of public spaces in the urban river corridor, (2) gives an organizing framework for understanding river-city recreational interactions and (3) facilitates the assessment of the riverbanks.