NYC coastal resiliency project receives Waterfront Alliance verification

Nov. 16, 2022
The project, which will provide flood protection, upgrade sewer systems, and capture runoff, received the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines verification from the Waterfront Alliance.

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced that its East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project, which is enhancing parks while creating a 2.4-mile long flexible flood barrier, has been selected to receive Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG®) verification from the Waterfront Alliance.

ESCR is a $1.45 billion climate resiliency project that will provide flood protection and improve open spaces for more than 110,000 New Yorkers, including 28,000 residents in NYCHA housing. Managed by DDC, the project involves significant upgrades to public open spaces and five parks, including improved waterfront access through reconstructed bridges and entry points. It will also upgrade existing sewer systems to capture and manage precipitation during storms.

The Waterfront Alliance’s WEDG rating system recognizes developers and landowners for resilient, sustainable, and accessible waterfront projects. WEDG provides guidance and establishes design standards across six categories tailored to the complexities of waterfront development: site assessment and planning, responsible siting and costal risk reduction, community access and connections, edge resilience, natural resources, and innovation.

WEDG Verification is only awarded for projects that successfully pass a technical review of the project’s design against the WEDG standards. Each project is assessed by engineers, landscape architects, and other professionals coordinated by Waterfront Alliance.

ESCR was cited by the Waterfront Alliance for many features including the project’s ability to reduce risk from coastal hazards, emergency preparedness plan, community engagement, quality of public access areas, waterfront greenway connectivity, and inventive design.

“As we continue to expand coastal resiliency throughout NYC, it’s important we incorporate designs that highlight sustainable and eco-friendly elements,” says Meera Joshi, New York City’s deputy mayor of operations. “It’s an incredible achievement to DDC and ESCR to receive WEDG verification and demonstrates how to incorporate innovative green design into resiliency projects.”

Construction of ESCR began near Stuyvesant Cove Park in November 2020. In July, the city announced the reopening of Asser Levy Playground along with a new 45-ton sliding floodgate. The entire project, which is being done in phases to keep park areas open for use by area residents during construction, will be completed in 2026.

The Waterfront Alliance became an independent organization in 2007 when a group of leading activists, businesses, foundations, and civic organizations came together with the goal of making the New York and New Jersey harbor a shared, resilient, and accessible resource. The Waterfront Alliance has grown into a coalition of more than 1,100 organizations working together to bring change to the region’s waterways and 700 miles of shoreline.

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