Vibrant Waterfront Communities: Case Studies

Throughout the Great Lakes, there are a variety of coastal communities dotting the shores — large and small, industry-focused and tourism-linked. What community leaders all have in common is the challenge of balancing economy, ecology, and aesthetics along their shorelines. This balance often includes planning for vibrant coastal communities, including waterfront lands, waterfront infrastructure, and waterways that are used for water-dependent uses and activities.

However, Michigan’s Great Lakes waterfronts are in a time of transition. As changes in land use, population, lake levels, and waterfront industry occur, it is important to protect and preserve working waterfronts and to balance coastal land use to meet the needs of current and future residents and visitors and to protect the environmental quality of our waterfronts and waterways.

Waterfront community case studies and report

The Coastal Community Working Waterfront report, complete with 11 case studies, was compiled in 2011-13 to describe national and state trends related to working waterfronts, identify what uses occupy coastal land and how communities are supporting and planning for their working waterfronts, and to increase awareness of protecting water-dependent uses and public access to the Great Lakes.

The report is intended to serve as an information and educational resource for community leaders, resource managers, and anyone interested in learning more about Michigan’s working waterfronts. The file has been split into sections for easy navigation and download.