Printer Version

The Waterfront Center announces winners of the 2009

“Excellence on the Waterfront” Program

2009 Waterfront Center award winners

 Top Honor Award

              The Confluence Project Vancouver and Iwaco, Washington and Troutdale, Oregon.         

The Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program was initiated in 1987 with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts Design Arts Program and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The honor awards were developed to recognize top quality design and development work. Entries are accepted from around the world for comprehensive plans, built projects and student work. The Center also recognizes citizen’s efforts through a Clearwater Award named for the non-profit group of that name working to clean up the Hudson River in New York.

For each winner, an entrant and co-entrant are listed, usually the project/plan sponsor and lead design firm. For Clearwater citizen's awards, the recipient and nominator are listed.

The 2009 awards are listed by category.  The jury statements for each award are posted.



  The Confluence Project Vancouver and Iwaco, Washington and Troutdale, Oregon.         

Entrants: Jane Jacobsen, Executive Director, Confluence Project, Vancouver, Washington. 
Johnpaul Jones, Principal Architect, Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, Seattle, Washington.

Jury Statement

The three waterfront artworks on the Columbia River recognized here are the forerunners of an ambitious seven-installation undertaking. Each project is on a site of cultural and historic significance with a site work by the noted artist Maya Lin that celebrates the area ecology. They each reflect the 200th  anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 2006 and reflect as well the Native American roots unique to each site.

The completed projects are: Cape Disappointment, the Vancouver Land Bridge and the Bird Blind at Sandy River.

The jury thought this project is, in the word of one, “fabulous” and that the land bridge is “stunning.” They appreciated the rich joining of art, landscape architecture and design, the major public outreach entailed and the prodigious amount of fund-raising required. There was also appreciation that the public agencies involved did not, as one juror put it, “cut out the magic and poetry from the project.”

Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco, Washington, where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean, has four distinctive artistic elements. One stunning piece is a large block of basalt used as a fish-cleaning table, on which Ms. Lin engraved the traditional Chinook story of creation. A trail leads to an amphitheater. An oyster shell bed surrounds upended drift logs at the forest edge, providing a place for quiet reflection. A piece of land buried under a parking lot for decades now flourishes with native plants and a water overlook.

Vancouver Land Bridge, in Washington State, is a beautiful, bold intervention, enabling pedestrians to cross over a busy highway to make a connection to the Columbia at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. River vistas invite people to a River Walk. The bridge itself, a gentle curve, is covered in soil and native plantings. A ceremonial First Walk in 2008 attracted 3,500 people. The land bridge is at once an engineering achievement, a work of art and provides a storyboard contained in historic and explanatory panels.

The Bird Blind at Sandy River Delta in Troutdale, Ore., is an elegant and functional artwork, built of black locust and perched on a hilltop overlooking the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia Rivers. A total of 18 months went into researching the most sustainable wood. Each upright board is engraved with names of animals that Lewis and Clark encountered.

                  There is a 1.2-mile trail, built by volunteers, and reforested areas in this National Park Service area. A cooperative network of Federal, state and local governments, working with civic groups, collaborated to bring about this project.

The other sites are Celilo Park near the Dalles, Oregon; Sacajawea State Park in Pasco, Wash. at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers; Chief Timothy Park at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers in Clarkston, Wash., and Ridgefield, Wash., where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers are joined.

The jury also recognized Confluence in the Schools, a three-year arts education program that linked students and teachers with professional artists, Native American tribes and community partners. It aimed to encourage students to understand the relationship between the Columbia and the tribes that first inhabited the Pacific Northwest. In all over 5,000 students took part.

Johnpaul Jones and Jane Jacobsen receive the award



 Category: Environmental Protection and Enhancement:

A Regenerative Surgery: The Beach Restoration Qinhuangdao City, China.

Entrants: Kongjian Yu, Turenscape, Beijing, China
Lina Yang/Peng Yun, Landscape Bureau, Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, China

Jury Statement

A badly degenerated site, suffering from erosion, decay and neglect, has been transformed by this intervention. The site is along the Bohai Sea shoreline of Qinhuangdao city, a coastal tourist center in Hebei Providence in North China.

The jury liked the light touch and simplicity employed in a project that involved environmental “heavy lifting.” The islets added to a degraded lake were thought to be a bit Christo-like. All in all the jury felt a major environmental challenge was artfully handled, approaching, in the word of one juror, the “sublime”.

The project consists of three parts: a boardwalk running along sandy dunes, featuring different patches of plant communities. Bases of fiberglass allow the walk to “float” above the dunes and wetland, permitting minimal environmental impact. Pavilions are located along with walk and environmental interpretation systems provided.

The second area was an abandoned site of a theme park which had destroyed coastal habitat. The area was covered with debris and garbage. A Wetland Museum which connects to an adjoining wetland and a bird reserve is a new feature. There is a system of walkways and platforms as well.

To the east was a park with heavy concrete embankment plus a lake which also had a concrete shore. The solution was to replace the concrete with rip-rap and install a boardwalk to replace pavement with native ground cover alongside. Nine green islets were introduced into the lake to provide visual interest and bird resting areas.


Category: Historic or Maritime Preservation/Adaptive Re-Use

 Erie Canal Harbor Project Buffalo, New York.

Entrants: Peter T. Flynn, Flynn Battaglia Architects PC, Buffalo, New York
Dennis P. Conroy, New York State Empire State Development Corp. Buffalo, New York

Jury Statement

A big accomplishment here was to re-water the Commercial Slip at the historic western terminus of the Erie Canal. This permitted public access by both water and land to the central waterfront, adjacent to downtown Buffalo.

The project consists of a Naval and Military Museum along a reconstructed canal tow path, docking for visiting boats, a large wharf suitable as an events venue, re-creation of a classic truss bridge over Commercial Slip, stabilization of ruins and interpretation of the area’s historic significance, all in a landscaped park setting.

Access is by all means, from car to bike, as well as boat. There’s a walkway above the water as well as a ramp to the floating docks. A major emphasis is on historic authenticity, including placing original stones in their original locations after careful archeological documentation.

The site attracts visitors year ‘round whether for special events or just to enjoy the restored waterfront. The next phase will re-establish the historic cobblestone street pattern.

Planning for this project won an Honor Award from the Waterfront Center in 2006.

The jury was impressed that a “tough” site had been turned into something wonderful, that the work was elegant and that old foundations had been re-used. They also liked the lighting details.


Sara Reid receives the award

Category: Commercial/Mixed Use:


• Ferry Terminal at the World Financial Center New York City, New York.

Entrants: Donald Fram AIA, Chief Architect, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey.
Janet Cox, General Manager, Ferry Transportation Program, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York, New York

Jury Statement

Opening in March of this year, the Port Authority’s floating ferry terminal at Battery Park City’s World Financial Center can handle six vessels at once. Average weekday passenger trips since opening numbers 4,500.

The jury was impressed with the significant engineering challenges present here and with the integration of that engineering with architecture. Jurors remarked that this could have been a mundane project but instead rises to the level of having an iconic quality.

The barge is anchored to bedrock 75 feet below with two huge towers. One of the virtues of a floating ferry is that there is no interruption of the heavily used Battery Park City esplanade. The ferry terminal in fact integrates with the esplanade, its public entry space containing the same paving materials.

A major feature is the provision of public views of the Hudson River. This is accomplished with 13-foot high glass windscreens, a glass covered gangway, the high canopy structure that permits views at both high and low tide and a large “terrace” area adjacent to the main waiting area on the western side of the barge allows major river views.

                 The translucent fabric roof provides shading on bright days while allowing a filtered daylight. At night it is part of the lighting system. It is felt to be an attractive roofscape for nearby office tenants and residents.

Donald Fram Receives the award

Category: Park/Walkway/Recreational

• Southeast False Creek Waterfront Phase 1 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Entrants: Margot Long, PWL Partnership Landscape Architects Inc.,Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Robin Petri, Manager of Development, City of Vancouver, Parks, Planning and Engineering, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Jury Statement

One of the last formerly industrial areas of Vancouver’s waterfront to be reclaimed, this linear park of 2,130 feet extends the city’s uninterrupted pedestrian and bikeway paths around downtown (Vancouver’s promenade won an Honor Award in 2003).
                   The design provides for a variety of experiences, with walkways,  bike paths, diverse seating and gathering areas, stone terraces and a tidal amphitheater. The industrial past is reflected in material selection and construction detailing. The jury felt that overall the design imparted a distinctive Vancouver feel, unique to the setting.

The signature of the park has become the distinctive lounge chairs that swivel a full 360 degrees. There is public art and interpretive displays. Another dimension is the addition of native plantings to complement the industrial materials, where none had existed for years.

There’s a small man-made island created with clean fill, accessible at low tides and supporting a variety of fish and birds. A small inlet creates a space for festivals and recreational uses.

                  The jury liked the design along the edge feature of allowing direct contact with the water of False Creek. They thought the detailing was elegant, sophisticated and yet unpretentious. They predicted this project will wear well.

Margot Long receives the award



• San Pedro Waterfront Gateway Project and Fanfare at San Pedro, Gateway San Pedro, California.

Entrants: Antonio V. Gioiello, Chief Harbor Engineer, Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, CA.
Steve Hanson, EDAW/AECOM, San Francisco, CA.
Teresa Powell-Caldwell, WET, Sun Valley, CA.

Jury Statement

This project is the first phase of an ambitious transformation of a part of the industrial Port of Los Angeles into eight miles of public space. The heart of the Gateway portion is a one-mile promenade and stunning Gateway Plaza fountain.

What this new public space permits is closeup views of the drama associated with the 10th largest port in the world, views that in the past have effectively been sealed off. Included are views of working cranes, tug boats and huge cruise ships. It also provides needed space for celebrations such as the Tall Ships Festival, Christmas Lighting, Children’s Halloween Parade and a “Cars and Stripes” event on July 4th.

What the project also accomplishes is a pedestrian link between the downtown and the working port. The project succeeds in providing both physical and visual access to the water’s edge. The experience is enriched with the addition of bocce courts, custom seating and wooden decks meant to reflect the experience of the cruise ships docking here.

The “Fanfare Fountain” has become a major attraction, particularly at night. The fountain is programmed to music culturally relevant to San Pedro, with its rich mix of ethnic communities, and also references water and Hollywood. The fountain is three quarters of an acre in size and is visible from cruise ship decks, Harbor Boulevard and a nearby bridge. It is accessible on foot through vertical water streams.

The jury applauded the integration of recreational, residential and industrial uses along the waterfront. They noted that the project provides a lively, accessible waterfront public realm to a generally underserved neighborhood. The fountain has become its symbol and signature.


Dina Aryan-Zahlan and Steve Hanson Receive the award


• West Harlem Piers Park New York City, New York.

Entrants: Barbara Wilkes, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, New York, New York.
Len Greco, New York Economic Development Corp., New York, New York.

Jury Statement

A hallmark of this project is extensive public consultation, creating a major “buy-in” and feeling of community ownership that serves well the completed park. For instance, first planning called for a pier into the Hudson River at the foot of 125th St., Harlem’s main artery. The citizens, however, insisted that there be open water here and as a result, the piers were relocated.

The basic aim of the piers is to expand this small city-owned space, previously a parking lot cut off from the community. The expansion with two major piers and other steps effectively increased a 69,000 square foot strip into a park of over 105,00 square feet.

Further, the new piers are functional. One is for fishing and general recreation, including a fish cleaning station. The other is an excursion pier which is to allow water taxi and ferry service.

A major accomplishment was to narrow an adjoining roadway by 25 percent, further contributing to expanded park space. This also permitted a safe biking lane along the eastern portion. The Hudson River Greenway is thus continued.

At the northern portion, at 132nd St., there is a woodland that provides an entry to the park, with continuous steps that can be seats. Other seating in this area comes from original granite bulkhead removed during construction.

The jury was impressed with the depth of planning undertaken by the New York City Development Corporation and the strength of its analysis. This was seen as a great project for a community previously cutoff from the river here. The strength of the community participation was impressive.

Barbara Wilks receives the award


Category: Residential or Resort:


• South Pier District Redevelopment Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Entrants: Paulette Enders, Director of Planning and Development, City of Sheboygan.
Eduard Freer, ASLA, JJR , LL C, Madison, Wisconsin.
Teresa Powell-Caldwell, WET, Sun Valley, CA.

Jury Statement

There are a number of lessons from this project, the jury felt, for the many communities of 50,000 or so faced with degraded, polluted industrial sites on their waterfronts.

Perhaps the major innovation here is to have a resort/convention center as the anchor to the redevelopment, complete with indoor water park, restaurants and rental condominiums. The City spent an estimated $12 in public improvements, including a brownfield cleanup, which has triggered $54 million in private investment and the creation of 300 full- and part-time jobs.

Paired with his significant economic enhancement has come a host of public amenities into which the private anchor has integrated itself.                     The physical and visual access to both the lakefront and historic riverfront which adjoin the project includes a riverfront promenade, lakefront trail, overlooks, riverfront docks and beach and shoreline restoration.

One feature of note is the incorporation of a historic fishing shanty architecture into a riverfront retail district. An active fishing fleet is still based here as well as a charter boat fleet. Restored dunes stand in contrast to this more urban feature. A pedestrian swing bridge over the river to connect to the adjoining downtown is planned.

The jury took note that a project of this complexity is hard to accomplish. It applauded the major public amenities that are incorporated -- as opposed to what could have been the gated community. Also, they liked the way surface parking was tucked into the middle of the project, where future development will conceal it.

Eduard Freer and Paulette Enders receive the award


Category:  Public Works:

• Castleford Bridge Castleford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Entrants: Rumina Hasi, McDowell+Benedetti, London, United Kingdom.
The Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

Jury Statement

This graceful and dramatic pedestrian bridge unites the residential side of the river Aire with the town center and brings citizens in touch with their long-neglected waterfront asset. Originally lined with factories and polluted, the river was not in people’s consciousness. In the community consultation process, the designers met townspeople who had never seen the river!

They do now, for the sweeping “S”-shaped and open design permits panoramic views up and down the river, taking in the water as it rushes over the weir here, on old mill building and a wrecked barge. The opening up of the river has sparked new private in mixed-use projects and high-end housing. The bridge has also become a community gathering place where promenading takes place. The understated structure embodies a light touch with minimal visual intrusion.

A green design approach including identifying a sustainable forest in Brazil from which Cumaru lumber was obtained for the decking. It is two-and-a-half times as dense as oak and did not have to be treated.

The community consultation process has engendered local pride and has contributed to a higher profile for Castleford.

The jury found this a case of the utilitarian being made into something artful. They noted the curved design, in contrast to the older bridge it replaces, serves to open up river views. The bridge has had an obvious regenerative effect on the community.


Category:  Plan Honor Awards:

• Trinity River Corridor Design Guidelines Dallas, Texas

Entrants:  Ignacio F. Bunster-Osso, Principal. Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jill A. Jordan, Assistant City Manager, City of Dallas, Texas.

Jury Statement

As the submittal for this planning effort well states, the project will create a waterfront where none exists today. The Trinity River, in the early 1900’s, was a beautiful meandering stream that defined the southern boundary of the city it helped found. A flood on 1908 hit downtown and subsequently the river was relocated away from the city and placed behind 35-foot levee walls. Effectively, then, downtown Dallas has not had a river  since the early in the century.Away from the core, natural sections of the river remain to remind the citizens of what they once had.

The ambition here is truly Texas-sized. The proposed park will cover 8,000 acres, making it one of the largest in the country. The majority of this is Trinity Forest, a natural area left out of the flood control project. The guidelines leave this territory largely alone, and concentrate instead on the core 2,300 acres where it is proposed to make the Trinity River once again visible, accessible and a place for recreation of multiple sorts.

 There are to be three lakes and a wetlands area in this core: West Dallas Lake will be 120 acres and 18 feet deep, complete with a rowing course. Natural Lake and Urban Lake will total 140 acres, the latter the recreational center of the project. Between the lakes is to be a two-mile strip called Central Island, a gathering spot for events. An amphitheater is included as on many waterfronts, but this one will have a capacity of 20,000.

Involved will be the relocation of nine miles of river channel to allow it to meander again and to generate riparian habitat. There are to be 30 miles of trails called for in the Design Guidelines. There is also a six-lane toll parkway called for, which not all on the jury were happy about, but the tollway authority will excavate the lakes and provide funds for five key park access points.

The jury agreed with the submittal’s suggestion that this would be truly transforming for Dallas, remaking its center into a welcoming, habitable core. The lesson is that car-oriented places like Dallas can re-make themselves at least in part. The jury recognized a very strong ecological component of the planning, as well as the breadth and depth of the undertaking. The plan document itself was felt to be very legible, articulate and nothing if not bold -- “Olmstedian” in the word of one juror.

Mami Hara receives the award

• Waterfront Zoning Text Amendment, New York City, N.Y.

Entrants:  Amanda M. Burden, Commissioner, Department of City Planning, City of New York, New York.

Jury Statement

This 117-page document is an update and major refinement of New York City’s waterfront zoning, which aimed to assure public access but was seen as falling short. The criticism was that the result was monotonous spaces without commercial vitality.

The gist of the amendment is to break down the uniformity of waterfront edges, to allow more creativity, more variety and to encourage cafes. The new zoning allows a variety of edge treatments such as boat landings, tidal areas and places to contact the water directly. Meandering pathways rather than simple straight edge design is called for, as is moveable seating and fewer visual barriers.

The aim, in the words of the planning commission, is to make New York City’s waterfronts “more inviting, more beautiful and more fun.” A New York waterfront advocacy group termed the new zoning “a quantum leap forward.”

The document is the result of a two-and-a-half year effort, led by the Department of City Planning but involving other agencies, civic groups and field experts. It was cleared by City Planning Commission in March and was adopted by City Council on April 22, 2009. It affects the city’s entire 500+-mile shoreline.

Where the 1993 zoning meant there was public access, the 2009 amendment seeks to elevate the quality of the access, its appeal to a variety of users, provides for comfortable seating of various types, specifies that shaded areas be incorporated at the edge (a registered landscape architect must submit landscape plans), and calls for active recreational uses such as play areas and boat launches, and which specifically includes cafes --  a feature not now much in evidence on New York’s waterfront.

The jury felt this document would be influential in coming years around the country, effectively raising the bar on what cities can do to insure quality public access. They saw it as taking waterfront access planning to the next step,  with varied and flexible implementation guidelines which they felt were also straight-forward. The Waterfront Zoning Text Amendment of 2009 is felt to be an extraordinary effort.


• Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn, New York

Entrants:  Michael Van Valkenburgh, Principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., Landscape Architects, PC, Brooklyn, New York
Regina Myer, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, New York, New York.

Jury Statement

This master plan for 85 acres deals at once with one of the most inspiring sites in New York, with spectacular views of lower Manhattan, and at the same time one of the more problematic. Issues that had to be addressed to make the 1.3 miles habitable were major road noise, strong winter winds and scorching sun, among others.

In addition, the Brooklyn Bridge Park deals with a largely former industrial/maritime use which resulted in contamination as well as structural limitations. Built into the equation was the stipulation that the park had to be self-supporting; to that end the original legislation said that up to 20 percent of the space could be for commercial purposes, the revenues from which would underwrite park maintenance and the like. It is a triumph of this plan that after carefully calculating anticipated expenses, the commercial area is held at nine percent.

One of the major built-in limitations is that the adjoining neighborhoods, which includes Brooklyn Heights, have just three points of street-level entry to the park. The solution was to introduce a host of activity centers at the entrances, with such features as dog runs, promenades, neighborhood-scale playgrounds as well as generous public spaces. Organized sports, large-scale event places and a small-boat marina are located in the interior of the park.

Resourcefulness was a watchword in approaching re-use of the five piers on site. Thus Pier 1 was seen as able to support deep soils and major tree cover. Other piers have less capacity and aim to have shallower programming, which will not require reinforcement.

Natural plantings are called for throughout the site, aimed at making it more habitable. A north-south hedgerow of trees will provide shade from intense summer sun, and hill-like berms are planned to absorb the deafening noise form the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that soars above the site on two levels.

The jury thought this plan contained strong civic design, that it represents a classic case of a city reclaiming a previously neglected, largely unapproachable waterfront. One juror termed the plan a poetic integration of landscape, water and built elements. They also had high praise for the plan presentation.


Category: Student Awards:

Aquatecture: Water-based Architecture in the Netherlands

Entrants: Rebecca Pasternack, University of Southern California.

Jury Statement

                    This is a very thorough, well-documented research paper that includes an illustrated booklet, a narrative and the paper itself, 42 pages in length with extensive documentation.

                   The paper is based on an RTKL traveling fellowship to study the architecture of the Netherlands plus a Gesundheit Traveling Fellowship, undertaken earlier this year and involving interviews with as many as 11 Dutch architectural firms, a record of which is contained in an illustrated booklet.

                   Her conclusion is that rising sea levels have to be dealt with and the Dutch have pioneered with a number of approaches. She examined  precedents including an apartment building on concrete piers, a number of floating homes and floating mobile projects.

                   The paper is very thorough in outlining what was proposed, what would be delivered and what she envisions as a follow-on, including a proposed children’s book on floating housing. She recalls a favorite childhood book of hers, “Round Buildings, Square Buildings and Buildings that Wiggle Like a Fish.” She would like to produce something that would fascinate other children with architecture as this book did for her.



Revival of a Canal City, Chuo Ward Waterfront, Tokyo, Japan.

Entrants: Dustin Stevens and Robert Cheng, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Jury Statement

                   The geography here focuses on two areas on Tokyo Harbor, one on the mainland the other two connected islands. For Tsukiji-Hamarikyu on  the mainland, site of the former fish market, the proposal calls for reinvention including a number of proposals for its canal, including a waterfront woods, hardscape steps, an herb garden, a sculpture park and elsewhere, a contemporary art museum and mixed-use development.

                   For the Katchidoki site in the harbor, a “retrofit” is suggested. This starts with a rail and bus transit stop as the area is underserved by public transit. There’s a pedestrian path, community programming space, an office and residential project and numerous pocket parks, all along the interior canal, the focus of the plan. High-rise towers are proposed elsewhere on the site as well as a community boat center, a new civic center  and another  transit stop.

                   The big picture here is that the plan calls for bringing civic centers to Tokyo’s canals, an often discarded resource in that city. The intensity of proposed development is scaled to each locale. Tsukiji-Hamasikyo is a place of dense urban development. The Katchidoki site is a relatively quieter enclave.

                   There is  also a proposal for a demonstration project of water quality restoration on the inner canals of Harumi Island, part of Katchidoki. Aquatic plants that absorb contaminants present in the water would permit a thriving ecological parks in the center of Tokyo, the students write in one of the bolder suggestions.

                   The plan’s presentation is a compact, well-illustrated document, full of solid analysis on what’s present at sites in the middle of Tokyo, and what might occur in a bold but not outlandish vision for a city capable of major accomplishments.


Category:  Clearwater Awards:

Presented to grassroots citizen’s efforts, named for a non-profit group working to clean up the Hudson River and for its signature vessel. The “Clearwater” group is spearheaded by Pete Seeger of Beacon, N.Y. ---  subject of a Waterfront Center documentary film in 2006.

• Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition Duwamish Valley
Vision Map & Report, Seattle, Washington

Nominated by: Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, Seattle, Washington.

Jury Statement

This valley has a high population of poor ethnic groups, including major Hispanic, Asian and islander populations. Some neighborhoods are experiencing gentrification, however, which adds to concerns. It is heavily industrial and the Duwamish River is a Environmental Protection Agency superfund site and a state contaminated site.

The coalition consists of 10 groups, one of which is I’M-A-PAL Foundation, recognized in 1994 with a Clearwater Award.

                   It’s major achievement has been to hold a series of public sessions that have led to a vision map for the future. There were eight workshops involving 200 people (two conducted in Spanish, one in Vietnamese and one in Cambodian). They resulted in maps of the area’s environmental features, community amenities, transportation, economic development and finally, a consolidated Vision Map that is recognized with this award.

Cari Simson receives the award


• Oakland-Alameda Waterfront Maps Project Oakland, California.

Nominated by: Diann Castleberry, Director of Social Responsibility, Port of Oakland, Oakland, California.

Jury Statement

                    The Oakland Waterfront Coalition came to realize that for all of the waterfront the area possessed (Alameda is an island, for instance), people did nt know about or how to access the resource.

                   The answer, not surprisingly, is a map. In this instance, a compact, clear, uncluttered documentation of where the parks, trails and public access points are along the Oakland Estuary and around Alameda. Fully 30 sites are covered, which include projects built and under way in 2008 and mixed-use sites present and perspective.  Over printed 3,000 maps were distributed and the Coalition’s Web site has been active. Separately the effort produced a history map of the area, also on the Web site, calling out points of interest, which also may have gone under-appreciated.

                   What distinguishes this project is the largely volunteer effort to create interactive maps that are incorporated into the Coalition Web site.

                   The map project was a major collaborative effort, spearheaded by Coalition volunteers working with multiple agencies and organizations, including authors and libraries. The project has been endorsed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the Oakland Heritage Alliance and San Francisco Bay Trail Project.

Bill Threlfall receives the award



• Friends for Our Riverfront Memphis, Tennessee

Nominated by: Patricia Merrill, former President, Chickasaw Bluffs Conservancy.

Jury Statement

          This is a classic citizen’s organization taking on authorities in favor of what its volunteer members believe to be the best interests of the riverfront. Among other battles it has waged was to block a proposed landbridge that would have converted the Memphis harbor into a lake. City Council eventually removed the project from the city’s master plan.

          Now the effort of FfOR is to retain a stretch of 150-year-old cobblestones that distinguish the central riverfront. Used historically for boat landings, the cobblestones resonate with the early paddleboat days of Memphis and its cotton trade. A proposal to install a sidewalk and rip rap would, in FfOR’s eyes, turn the largest intact cobblestone landing on the Mississippi River into an “empty relic.”

                   The organization has 3,000 members and is now involved in public forums being held to discuss the future of Mud Island River Park on the central riverfront. FfOR has a Web site where its historical research is posted as well as news about public meetings. FfOR functions as a watchdog on the Memphis riverfront.

Virginia McLean and Renee Lartique receive the award


• The Confluence Project Vancouver, Washington

Entrant:  Jane Jacobsen, Executive Director, The Confluence Project, Vancouver, Washington.
Nominated by Royce E. Pollard, Mayor of Vancouver, Washington.

Jane Jacobsen receives the award


The winners of the Waterfront Center’s 23nd annual “Excellence on the Waterfront” awards program were announced in Seattle Washington by Jury Chair  Mike Burke,  attorney, King Hershey PC and counsel, Port Authority of Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri.  Serving on the 2008 jury with Mr. Burke were Fran Hegeler, senior director/development manager, EDAW/AECOM, San Francisco, California, Jeff Sheldon, senior coastal engineer, Moffitt and Nichol, Raleigh, North Carolina, Harris Steinberg, executive director, Penn Praxis, the clinical arm of the School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Michel Trocme, partner, Urban Strategies, Toronto, Ontario, Canada..


The jury deliberated in Cape May, New Jersey for two days in September.  Ann Breen and Dick Rigby are the co-founders and co-directors of the Waterfront Center, organized in 1981.


For additional information and photographs, contact:

Kathleen Ewing

The Waterfront Center

PO Box 32129

Washington, DC 20007

202-337-0356  Fax: 202-986-0448


© 2007 The Waterfront Center
Content and photographs on this site may not be reproduced without express permission from The Waterfront Center.