Brooklyn Boro

The city turns to New Yorkers to envision the waterfront’s future

A "Waterfront Planning Camp" will take place on Saturday.

August 15, 2019 Scott Enman

With the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan projected to be released at the end of 2020, the city is turning to residents to help imagine a future for New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline.

The third iteration of the plan, which is required by law to be updated every 10 years, will rely on “extensive public input” to make the waterfront more accessible, active and resilient for the next decade, according to the Department of City Planning.

The second version of the plan, released in early 2011, focused on opening miles of the waterfront that were previously closed to the public and supporting the expansion of the maritime industry.

Coney Island. Photo courtesy of DCP

Brooklyn Councilmember Justin Brannan, who leads the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts, said public input is one of the most important tools for planning and protecting the waterfront.

“Waterfront residents are the people most impacted by our waterfront planning decisions,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Eagle. “If we don’t listen to people from these communities, we cannot very well serve them. Any planning policy needs to be driven by public needs, and no one knows those needs better than the public.”

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In addition to running an online survey and public information campaign, DCP will host listening sessions in the fall, as well as several public events — the first of which is this weekend on Governors Island.

An all ages “Waterfront Planning Camp” at Nolan Park on Governors Island will feature activities that will encourage attendees to tackle critical issues affecting the waterfront, including how to fight climate change, how to create more public access and how to generate jobs.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo courtesy of DCP

“New Yorkers love their waterfront and we’re using it more than ever,” DCP Director Marisa Lago said. “To make this precious resource even more enjoyable, accessible and resilient, we’re going to the experts — New Yorkers themselves. We encourage your involvement to inform a plan for the city’s waterfront for decades to come. You can both help us plan and also have fun by coming on out to Waterfront Planning Camp.”

The event — co-hosted by the Trust for Governors Island and Works on Water, an arts organization focused on water and ecological issues in urban areas — will take place from 12-4 p.m.

Those who show up will encounter everything from advice on flood insurance to emergency to-go bag packing tutorials to boat tours.

DCP is running a public information campaign on NYCLink Kiosks. Photo courtesy of DCP

The camp will feature several different workshops, including “Living and Playing at the Waterfront,” “Working at the Waterfront,” “Restoring and Recreation,” and “Adapting our Waterfront.”

At the “Working at the Waterfront” workshop, for example, attendees can learn about the city’s maritime history, attempt to have goods reach their home from port and learn how to tie knots with the Billon Oyster Project.

At the “Restoring and Recreation” workshop, visitors can see how the city’s Department of Environmental Protection conducts water quality sampling, and they can also hear from the New York Aquarium’s conservation team about the importance of protecting migratory species like sharks and whales.

See a full itinerary for the “Waterfront Planning Camp” here

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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