Science Inventory

Goals, beneficiaries, and indicators of waterfront revitalization in Great Lakes Areas of Concern and coastal communities


Angradi, T., K. Williams, J. Hoffman, AND Dave Bolgrien. Goals, beneficiaries, and indicators of waterfront revitalization in Great Lakes Areas of Concern and coastal communities. JOURNAL OF GREAT LAKES RESEARCH. International Association for Great Lakes Research, Ann Arbor, MI, 45(5):851-863, (2019).


This publication provides information and knowledge on a natural-capital-based approach to waterfront revitalization in Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Communities stakeholders (agencies, citizens, developers, advisors) can use this approach to select indicators of the benefits of revitalization that are relevant for planning and tracking outcomes of revitalization. Examples and case studies are mostly from the Great Lakes, but the approach is applicable elsewhere.


Cleanup of Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) delivers environmental benefits to waterfront communities and is an essential condition for revitalization. We define waterfront revitalization as policies or actions in terrestrial or adjacent aquatic areas that promote improvements in human socio-economic well-being while maintaining or improving natural capital in the waterfront zone. Natural capital (the stocks of natural assets, biodiversity) underlies all environmental, social, and economic benefits of the waterfront. All revitalization decision-making should be consistent with this tenet. Except for economic measures such as development investments, visitation rates, or commercial activity, evidence of waterfront revitalization remains mostly anecdotal. We offer a perspective on waterfront revitalization that links indicators and metrics of sustainable revitalization to community goals and human beneficiaries. We compiled revitalization indicators and metrics across multiple domains (environmental, social, economic, and governance), many of which are based on or inspired by Great Lakes AOC case studies and sustainability plans. We consider the role of indicators in avoiding unintended consequences of revitalization including social inequity. Revitalization indicators can be used to plan revitalization (e.g., comparing alternative designs) and to track and provide accountability for restoration progress. Tracking incremental revitalization outcomes relative to community goals using a balanced portfolio of indicators can be analogous to tracking progress toward beneficial use impairment removal and AOC delisting as specified in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 11/01/2019
Record Last Revised: 11/14/2019
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 347462