Post-industrial waterfronts are often characterized by a time-gap or a moment of standstill between the collapse of a previous use and the transition to a new and future use. However, conventional planning processes often leave these areas in a curious limbo while they are being prepared or while their futures are being determined. Changing contemporary conditions demand that planners re-evaluate urban planning and development approaches. Transitional uses and temporary interventions must be recognized as legitimate and important aspects of the planning process especially in these ephemeral landscapes as they provide an outlet for innovative and adaptive practices. This paper discusses three case studies. The cities of Melbourne, Amsterdam and Hamburg implemented unique and adaptive projects along their waterfronts as mechanisms to catalyze redevelopment and foster
social engagement during indeterminate times. This paper explores these projects and applies the strategies used in each to Toronto’s vacant and extensively underutilized Port Lands.