Understanding How the Intangible Elements of the Georgetown Waterfront Drive Its Daily Experience



The Georgetown Waterfront is an excellent example of how a public asset can drive an experience which permeates through every public and retail space around it.

An Area is a Sum of Elements

By breaking down the Georgetown Waterfront into a variety of topics such as its atmosphere, scenery, family friendliness, cleanliness, convenience, etc, we’re able to pinpoint which topics drive an area and which can be improved upon.

Impact of Qualitative Metrics

Retail businesses closer to the Waterfront thrive off the place identity of the Waterfront, not only the water-side restaurants, but even the AMC movie theater. A place’s value goes far beyond the financial analyses that are too frequently run without other metrics.

The Value of Public Spaces

Consumer sentiment of restaurants surrounding the waterfront reveals that the proximity to the water provided businesses with an undeniable edge. Quantifying what is traditionally qualitative can help cities leverage public spaces to aid economic development.

Mutually Beneficial Partnerships

Location analysis reveals that people come far and wide to enjoy the versatile offerings of the waterfront and in turn, the nearby businesses reap the benefits. Understanding the value of the environment and its impact on surrounding businesses can inform a mutually beneficial partnership between businesses and those spaces that capitalize on each of their contributions.

The reason these elements are often not formally included in roadmaps and analyses is often that it is simply difficult to quantify what is traditionally qualitative.

We began to realize how compelling the holistic "vibe" of the area, not just the proximity to water or available outdoor space, contributed to a visitor's experience, bringing together public spaces with retail, creating nooks and viewpoints for people to enjoy with family and friends or to sit back alone and people watch.

The intangible aspects of an area, its ability to serve as a perfect place to run as well as a casual romantic walk, watch couples pose for engagement photos, is rooted in the area's design, its ample seating and viewpoints, its accessibility and offerings. If there is one singular takeaway from our analysis of the Georgetown Waterfront, it is that businesses alone cannot force a vibrant space. An area must have the sum of its elements exponentially contribute to one another.

While areas like The Wharf were planned with future sea-level rise in mind, organizations like Climate Central have estimated that rising sea levels may impact an estimated $5 billion worth of DC property.

Nevertheless, areas along the Potomac continue to enjoy high consumer traffic, and the recent Washington Post article covering the rapidly-changing Navy Yard stated that residents can look forward to F&B locations like Union Kitchen Grocery, Cold Stone Creamery.

Across the locations and topics we analyzed, we found that "Scenic" was not only a highly positive topic but was also mentioned in four and five star reviews, unlike topics regarding "Staff and Service" or "Seating."

The intangible aspects of an area, its ability to serve as a perfect place is rooted in the area's design, its ample seating and viewpoints, and its accessibility and offerings.

See our data and solutions for yourself.

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  • Quantified consumer perceptions
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