Case Study

San Diego Port Integrated Master Plan Creating a Shared Sustainable Vision for the Next 50 Years

San Diego, California, USA

The Challenge

The Port of San Diego sought to coordinate development efforts and manage growth within the bayfront region to elevate quality of life for all.

The Design Solution

In association with Carrier Johnson, HKS led an integrated master planning process, encompassing 6,000 acres and 17 miles of shoreline. Our work involved extensive public engagement to ensure the master plan achieves results in line with community values and a shared vision for the future. We identified eight principles to physically unify the region and guide decisions for development and growth. HKS developed a vision with the distinct needs of the five member cities of the Port in mind, capitalizing on the Port’s water and land assets. The plan guarantees public access to the waterfront and coordinates the development of commercial, hospitality, marine, recreational and military uses. The vision features mitigation strategies to balance opportunities for new development and wildlife habitat preservation.

The Design Impact

HKS showed the Port how the value of its water and land assets could be unlocked by setting clear guidelines for land use and public waterfront access. Our work resulted in a plan that establishes development and design standards that provide a predictable path and certainty in timing for as-of-right regulatory approvals.

Project Features

  • 6,000 acres
  • World-class downtown waterfront
  • Signature waterfront park
  • Bay necklace open space system
  • Expansion areas for military facilities and working-waterfront users
  • Wildlife habitat preserves
  • Bay-wide development mitigation strategy


  • 2016 AIA San Diego Chapter, President’s Award