‘The Long View’

A Discussion with Sherry Kafka Wagner of the San Antonio River Walk

Concluding CrSF’s 2012 events, Sherry Kafka Wagner, leader in the field of urban design and the development of public places visited Santa Fe on October 30, 2012. Wagner spearheaded the massive River Walk project in San Antonio, Texas: a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, weaving through five miles of downtown San Antonio, and constituting a public park open 365 days a year. Lined by bars, shops, and restaurants, the River Walk engages both residents and visitors in the very fabric of the city.

Based on such examples as the River Walk and New York’s High Line, a public park built on an historic elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side, Wagner presented a workshop and a talk on The Long View, exploring ways to sustain community support for transformative urban projects over the extended periods—sometimes decades—necessary to their realization.


Collective understandings were gathered on strategies to sustain community support for long-term projects to enhance Santa Fe and its economy. Public private partnerships are helping align public and private needs to move vital projects forward. Such partnerships have the potential to significantly change the landscape of a city and create new environments for collaboration.

Government is experiencing an historic transformation. Trillions of dollars are needed to maintain & rebuild America’s infrastructure networks and government agencies are facing gaps of billions of dollars to support public projects. Financing alternatives for funding big projects are necessary in order to ensure economic prosperity, meet public needs and create thousands of new jobs. As a result, the United States is moving aggressively into public private partnership models.

Through collaborations with private sector firms, public officials throughout the country are engaging earlier and companies and subject matter experts are assisting with plans, scoping of projects, and financial modeling. As a result of sound business planning, the projects provide an opportunity for both parties to benefit.

Thank you to our collaborators, -Jane Goodall Institute, City of Santa Fe, and the Story of Place Institute