An urban beach, or city beach, is defined by urban planners as an artificially created environment in an urban setting that simulates a public beachfront through the use of sand, umbrellas and seating elements. It does not include swimming or any sort of natural sloping shoreline into the water (i.e. it is not a natural beach that happens to be in an urban area). The very point of the urban beach is to surprise and delight city residents, workers and tourists by inserting a beach atmosphere into an urban area that would otherwise be typical cityscape.
There are many variations of urban beaches. Urban beaches are often found along waterways, though some are inserted into town squares or other spaces far from water. The beach may be a seasonal installation over a roadway or parking lot, or it may be permanent. It is not necessarily public land though it is always open to the general public (sometimes with a small admission fee). As river or ocean swimming is not possible, many urban beaches include water features -- for example fountains, wading pools or misting towers -- for cooling off. Some urban beaches feature entertainment and food/beverage areas. A few include sports facilities such as beach volleyball.
Most urban beaches are designed to appeal to a general population, from families to young singles to older citizens. Despite the absence of swimming, swimwear is commonly seen alongside the more usual attire seen in major urban centres.
The popularity of urban beaches has increased in the early 21st century as the concept has been championed by urban planners, landscape architects and local politicians.