The discussion surrounding the redevelopment of and connection to the New York City waterfront has been going on for quite some time now. The implementation of ideas has potentially become all the more real with the Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the Waterfront Action Agenda.
The intent of Vision 2020, released on March 14th, was to create a sustainable framework for connecting the city to the waterfront on a daily basis over the next ten years. The plan calls for an increase in water transportation, parks, greenways, and economic opportunities, all of which would add toward activating the water’s edge. Michael Marella, the guiding force behind Vision 2020, has noted in an article in The Architect’s Newspaper that the idea is not to displace industry or housing from the waterfront, but to look at the relationships between all of the uses and devise a solution where previously incongruous uses can fruitfully coexist.
The Waterfront Action Agenda looks toward the next three years, targeting specific projects and goals for immediate implementation. The Agenda objectives are ambitious: it looks to revitalize existing parks, acquire new park land, develop greenways, protect habitat, support a working waterfront, invest in green infrastructure, improve and expand water transit opportunities, reform governmental regulations, and increase the city’s resilience to climate change.
In a recent article in the New York Times, the city seems committed to finding ways to re-connect the waterfront, even in these hard economic times:
“In a series of real-life Rubik’s Cube moves, elected officials are on the verge of signing an agreement that would create a framework for both sides to get what they want. The United Nations would take part of Robert Moses Playground for its new building, while the city would end up the enough case to finish an esplanade for the 32-mile Greenway—and a replacement playground.” –Land Deal with U.N. Would Fill a Big Gap in the Waterfront Greenway.
The breadth of goals outlined in both the Vision 2020 Plan and the Waterfront Action Agenda are quite lofty to say the least, and although the comprehensive approach is necessary to achieve the desired results, will a public entity really have the ability to follow it through on all counts? It will be interesting to see if and how NYC holds true to this vision.