NYC Waterfront Plan 2020

The details on a Reach by Reach basis are well worth some urban design quires and perusals. We have long known that we see is what we think is there and that this can be correct or incorrect at anytime but always considered correct, and we know that not every observation we make is exact. We know errors in perception and measurement exist. These elements of the human condition are fundamental and accepted collectively in science and psychology. The more important issue is our responsibility to seek or development statements of fact that have such lasting clarity in describing the conditions of our time they will continue to make sense in a distant future despite these errors. I would like your opinion of the waterfront draft on this basis (or, how much jargon can plan one take?).

Armed with this knowledge please read the Waterfront Plan for recommendations and procedures most likely to reduce error when discussing measurements and second, suggest ways to find these errors during the implementation of plan components that provide for adjustments.

There are no design police. Nevertheless, the New Yorker only needs to recall the Sixth Avenue commercial office bonus scheme to realize the limitations involved in the public’s regulatory interest in extending Central Park a bit to south with urban plazas along the avenue. One only needs to look at “restrictive declaration” used in Astoria, to recognize a public access failure when you see it. Both represented a straightforward and honorable desire, but one that was interpreted very differently by the developer’s bottom line of that time. Today we have a double bottom line approach. Please bring this do no harm value to your review of the plans revision as follows:

The New York Department of City Planning website asks you to get involved with Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. It offers a set of links (below). Each seeks thoughtful people to reflect on new public realm†and to deduce the purpose of the update from its 1992 version under Wilber “Bill” Woods. All of the links seeking participation died, and the most recent update is November 2018 as seen below:

Earlier Updates

The connection of New York City’s 500+ miles of blue-interface to regulatory entities such as the NYC Building Code, the Clean Water Act, and the long list or labyrinth of permits demand site-t0-site complexities. The call for waterproofing every new structure within a few hundred feet of the waterfront at 14 feet above mean high tide is a “code” example.

Another is use of the word elevated in reference to the inevitable rise of sea levels. It suggests the need for other measurements to sustain the basic value of public access that sits as the foundation of the public interest. Perhaps it would be a good thing to see NYC function as well as Venice has in the centuries to come, or to plan as well as our friends in the Netherlands. It would seem prudent in a ten-year plan to outline factors that are in NYC interest as far into the future as reasonable.

  • Note: The word elevate in the DRAFT is found twice as follows: Provide elevated views to waterfront in Reach 2 Lower Manhattan and Explore creation of elevated viewing deck overlooking cruise terminals in Reach 3 Lower West Side. What exactly is the measure for elevated and how might this carry over or affect the entire waterfront.

Unlike the folks in the Netherlands that have confidently stated the count to be climate proof, NYC-DCP selection is climate resilience. It says:

While Vision 2020 is focused on the next ten years, the plan recognizes the need to plan for a much longer time-frame as well. The New York City Panel on Climate Change. See 2010 Report (354 pg) from the NY Academy of Sciences.  It has projected hat sea levels are expected to rise anywhere from 12 inches to 55 inches by 2080. In addition, severe storms and the floods associated with them are expected to occur more frequently.

As a coastal city, many New York neighborhoods experience flooding and storm surges. These risks are expected to increase as the affects of climate change are felt. The Department of City Planning is working with other City agencies on assessing the risks associated with sea level rise in order to develop strategies for the city to increase its resilience. Strategies include regulatory and other measures to improve the flood resistance of new and existing buildings, as well as exploring soft infrastructure approaches to coastal protection.

Urban Planning and Design in New York

There are about 1,200 members in this section and the activity level is low but the networking is strong. LinkedIn is known for its a job networking services, but its “group function” makes this system available to members to share articles, post questions and define issues affecting New York City and the Region. Anyone can view group content, request an invitation to join, become managers or set up a subgroup on an issue.

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