Redesigning the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway - Improving Environmental and Cultural Sustainability by Creating Identity (2012)

Client Organization: 
Scenic Highway Foundation
Project Location : 
Escambia Bay Bluffs, FL
Secondary Client Organization: 
City of Pensacola
Summary of Project Idea: 

Pensacola's Scenic Highway skirts bay bluffs overlooking Escambia Bay. The highway traverses an 11-mile corridor running along U.S. 90 in Escambia County and the city of Pensacola, ending its northern terminus where U.S. 90 bridges the Escambia River.  An environmental treasure, the nearest Gulf bluffs are in Veracruz, Mexico. Estuarine and freshwater wetlands, majestic live oaks, longleaf and shortleaf pine remnants, and sand beaches are all found along the Scenic Highway Corridor.

Anticipated project boundaries are Highway 90 to the north and Bayou Texar to the south, with Downtown Pensacola as a secondary southern boundary. The City of Pensacola is looking for a master plan to leverage this corridor into an environmental showpiece - both a source of local pride and a tourist destination.

Specifically, a baseline assessment and cataloguing of environmental resources along the corridor is needed. Out of this assessment, a conservation plan will be created that shows how to preserve and protect resources, remediate an invasive species problem, and spell out conservation priorities.

Additionally, the city wants the plan to look at the identification and enhancement of viewshed opportunities from the highway to Escambia Bay; designing native landscaping in select locations along the highway right-of-way and adjacent parks; and providing a greenway linkage to downtown Pensacola.

It is felt an environmental education component to the plan, targeting both the client and the public, will help facilitate plan implemention. This component should describe the ecosystems present and give native landscaping and invasive species removal guidance. Scenic Highway photos are available on Google Earth Streetview.

Skills/Expertise Needed: 
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Environmental Planning
  • Ecologist
  • Historian
  • Environmental Education
  • Knowledge of Invasive Species Mitigation techniques
  • GIS / GPS
  • Written, graphic, and other communication skills such as Web Page Design
SEAS Program Areas: 
Landscape Architecture
Professional Career Development Benefits: 

This is an opportunity to work with the non-profit and government sector. Groups consulted with will include the Florida Department of Transportation, West Florida Regional Planning Council, The Nature Conservancy, City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Department and Public Works Department.

Skills gained include starting with field work and using the results for environmental planning and design at both the city and site scales.

Funding Sources: 
  • Housing can be made available for students in Pensacola.
  • The master's project team should secure necessary funding that will include a visit to Pensacola to conduct a baseline environmental assessment Ã¢â‚¬â€œ complete with needed equipment.
  • Graphic and multimedia deliverables should be budgeted for.
  • The Scenic Highway Foundation can assist in identifying regional funding sources
Identify expected products/deliverables: 
  • We are hoping for more than a book to sit on a shelf.
  • The environmental assessment and cataloguing done with GPS for integration into the county's GIS server.
  • A multimedia educational presentation, such as a web page or video, targeting both the client and the public that gives the "how" and "why" to the conservation plan.
State or Country: 
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Chet Hill and MaryCarol Hunter
Contact Phone: 
(850) 549-5440
Contact e-mail: 
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Olivia Garnett, MLA
  • Helen Graham, MLA
  • Mary Hejna, MLA
Project Status: 
Past Project