Today, resiliency and New York City are deeply intertwined. Last week the Waterfront Alliance (WA) (formerly the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance) hosted their annual Waterfront Conference. With speakers and attendees from all sectors, discussions focused on new approaches, ideas, and best practices for waterfront resiliency and development. Our Director of Design, Linda Gumeny, RLA and Associate Landscape Architect, Carl Carlson attended and share their top take-aways.
Key themes throughout the day:
This has been a growing trend in the landscape architecture field and the basis of Great Ecology’s approach (ecology + design).
The overarching topic of the day, particularly new ferry links for low income and disconnected neighborhoods, a cornerstone of Mayor DeBlasio’s five-borough ferry service initiative.
Several presenters emphasized the importance of understanding and acknowledging true experts of a community are those who live within it – they need to be involved in any planning or design process.
The consensus is engineers need to work with landscape architects and ecologists to develop hybrid green/gray alternatives. Each project location is unique and presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. There is no one size fits all solution for resiliency.
Developing, designing, and implementing resiliency measures requires a collaborative, integrated approach blending all disciplines from engineering, to design to ecology. We need to plan for the future and layer in resiliency planning from sea-level rise to drier climates into all projects to ensure long-term success.
Waterfront Alliance President and CEO, Roland Lewis, sums it up perfectly; “At the waterfront, it’s all about collaboration. We learn from each other and challenge each other—and our collective wisdom results in better, more inclusive decisions for our coastal communities.”
As practioners we need to understand how we can adapt best practices and creative approaches to different waterfronts and coastal environments. Which lessons learned from New York City can be applied to San Diego or San Francisco? How about New Orleans? What can each city teach us for the others?
The upcoming Coastal Symposium in San Diego, CA is focused on understanding and applying lessons learned. Stay tuned for our next take-aways after attending and exhibiting at the conference.