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Waterfront Center’s Annual Conference Urban Waterfronts 2012 

“Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence” 

Sept. 27-29 2012, Washington, DC

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Mayflower Renaissance Washington Hotel                                                       The Potomac River     

 The Waterfront Center’s 30th Annual International Conference on 
Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture
Mayflower Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel, September 27-29, 2012

All Urban Waterfront 2012 conference sessions are held at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel

Confirmed Speakers as of September 10, 2012

Thursday, September 27

Pre Conference Workshop

8:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast at the Mayflower

8:30 a.m. Bus Departs for AIA Headquarters – 1735 New York Ave. NW

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.  Welcoming remarks by Joel Mills, director, Communities by Design, American Institute of Architects, Washington, District of Columbia.
Arthur Cotton Moore, principal, Arthur Cotton Moore, Washington, District of Columbia will make a presentation on Washington Harbour built in 1986 as well as his experience working on the Sea Catch restaurant. 
Ignacio Bunster Ossa, principal, Wallace Roberts & Todd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who will discuss the new Georgetown Park.

10:30 a.m. Walking Tour.  Group will walk from the western end of the Georgetown waterfront along the new riverfront park designed by Wallace Roberts & Todd, culminating decades long struggle to gain access to the river, past Washington Harbour with its innovative flood gates to the new House of Sweden.

12:00 Lunch at Sea Catch Restaurant 1054 31st St. NW on the C&O Canal within walking distance. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in this historic 1840’s shipping warehouse that served the bustling barge traffic on the canal. Carl Lennartson, park ranger, National Park Service will give a short history of the canal. 

1:00 p.m. Scenic drive from Georgetown, to the Southwest waterfront.

1:15 p.m. The WHARF. Steve Moore of PN Hoffman and colleagues will present plans for The Wharf – a project that will dramatically transform the current Southwest waterfront built in the Urban Renewal era. Prior to 1960’s, the waterfront was a lively home to seafood wholesalers and restaurants. The Wharf will bring a wide variety of commercial, residential and cultural facilities along with major improvement to the public realm including generous waterside walkways and a waterfront park. The design incorporates state-of-the-art sustainability practices. The plan also provides major boating activities. 

3:30 p.m. THE YARDS. Ramsey Meiser, senior vice president for development, Forest City Washington, District of Columbia and Rick Parisi, M. Paul Friedburg, New York, New York will conduct a briefing and walking site visit on the emerging new neighborhood in the Southeast where not long ago it was mix of industrial facilities , bars and vacancy. Today, there are new apartments and lofts emerging, a Harris Teeter grocery will soon join the mix and nearly a dozen restaurants are in the works. A crown jewel of the development is a stunning new waterfront park designed by M. Paul Friedburg & Partners complete with a fantastic interactive fountain and iconic pedestrian bridge. 

5:15 Return to Mayflower 

6:00 pm Urban Waterfronts 2012 Registration and Exhibitors’ Welcome
Reception (this hosted event is included with registration)

7:30 pm Get-Acquainted Dinner (optional event for additional fee)

The Washington Club is at 15 Dupont Circle within walking distance of the hotel. A delicious multi-course menu will be featured. Cost is $75.00, includes dinner, wine, beer and gratuities. 

Friday, September 28 - Morning

7:30 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am Welcome, Water Ceremony.

The Water Ceremony has become a conference tradition. Individuals who are asked to bring a small bottle of water from the rivers, lakes or bays that touch their cities, pour the water into a bowl to symbolize the waterfront community’s collective commitment to the health of the world’s waters as well as to sound waterfront planning and development practice. 

NOTE: This year’s program is dedicated to the “Excellence on the Waterfront” Awards Program begun in 1987 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. All presenters are from award-winning undertakings. They represent a variety of city sizes, geography and disciplines. 

8:45 am The Cultural Waterfront: Festive, Artful, Inspiring
Moderator: Fran Hegeler, vice president, marketing, planning, development + design, AECOM, San Francisco, California. Fran served as jury chair in 2010 will present a summary of the topic area with numerous case examples drawn from award-winning work. Individual cases follow. 

Many are the cultural icons embracing a waterfront going back to ancient times but moving forward: the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen or our own Statue of Liberty. More recently think of the Opera House on Sydney’s Harbor. These natural pairings demonstrate the power of water to capture the public imagination in a way that not many other settings can. Waterfronts in the last three decades have proved to be ideal settings for aquaria, museums, amphitheaters, public art and interpretive installations. Our panel highlights more recent accomplishments that have a strong educational themes while also being festive, artful and an inspiration to all who visit. 

• Musings on Aquariums, Science and Nature Centers – What They Have Contributed to Waterfronts and a Look Ahead, Charles M. Davis, principal, EHDD, San Francisco, California, who received Top Honor in 1987 for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Chuck will bring his breadth of experience to bear and speak to the contributions of aquariums and other educational facilities have made to waterfronts everywhere. 
• Public Art -- How It Can Enrich Communities both Aesthetically and Educationally. Jane Jacobsen, director, The Confluence Project, Vancouver, Washington whose series of regional installations, The Confluence Project, won Top Honor in 2009. Jane will describe the difficulties and rewards of overseeing the fundraising, design, construction and maintenance of a large scale public art undertaking. 
• Animating Space – Providing for Programming and Events, Peter Kuttner, president, Cambridge Seven Associates, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge Seven received honor awards for the Boston Children’s Museum, 2008; The Scientific Center in Kuwait, 2002; McKown Point Marine Research Facility, Maine, 1995; Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, 1993, and Ring of Fire, Osaka, Japan,1992.
Peter will reflect on how spaces can be created for multiple activities and accommodate people of all ages. 

10:30 am Coffee Break

11:00 am Vibrant Waterfronts – Mixing Work, Live, Play
Moderator: Jim August, chief executive officer, The Forks North Portage Partnership, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Jim, jury chair in 2008, will present summary of this dynamic area with a number of mixed-use winners including projects honored in Winnipeg. 

The commercial, mixed-use waterfront is usually what comes to mind when the phrase waterfront rejuvenation is used. And yet what distinguishes our award-winning examples is that major public space, art installations, educational and cultural components and in some cases, retention of working waterfront facilities, that each contains, plus a large amount of residential space in and/or near the projects. It is their hallmark to provide a rich, varied mix that appeals across the widest spectrum of their populations as well as expressing the character of the place. And with our case example from Minnesota, we make the point that these complex undertakings are not restricted to large and well-known examples.

• Battery Park City – Once a Vision – Now a Full-Blown Reality, Stan Eckstut, principal, E E &K – A Perkins Eastman Company, New York, New York who received Top Honor for the plan in 1987 will discuss that plan and touch on other components that make up Lower Manhattan’s new neighborhood including: Waterfront Plaza/World Financial Center, honor award 1991; South Cove, honor award 1993; The Belvedere, honor award 1995, and the Ferry Terminal at the World Financial Center, honor award 2009. 

• Vancouver – Fabulous Waterfront Access and So Much More.. Scot Hein, senior urban designer, City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada .Vancouver, has deservedly garnered many honor awards over the years including Granville Island , 1988, Canada Place, 1988; False Creek Yacht Club/Anderson’s Restaurant, 1990; Portside Park, 1991; Coal Harbour Development Plan, 1992; Tugboat Landing, 1996; Bayshore, 2002; Vancouver’s Waterfront Promenade, 2003; False Creek North Concord Pacific Place, 2004; Stanley Park Salmon Stream, 2006, and Southeast False Creek Waterfront Phase 1, 2009. 

• Sydney’s Multi-Facetted Waterfronts, Di Talty. director, strategic services, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Sydney has taken home many medals, including two top honor awards, for a wide variety of waterfront project types including Darling Harbour , 1991; The Rocks, 1993;Wooloomooloo Bay Redevelopment, Top Honor, 2000; Walsh Bay, 2005, and Ballast Point Park, Top Honor 2010. 

• Lake Superior’s Waterfront Gem: Duluth, Minnesota. Gerry Kimball, former planning director, City of Duluth, Minnesota. This Great Lakes City took top honor, 1993. Among its achievements: major adaptive re-use of old building, , a waterfront walkway, major parks, public art, a buried highway and award-winning restoration of an iron ore boat. 

1:00 pm Conference Luncheon . (Included with registration) - A Tribute to the Excellence on the Waterfront Clearwater citizen award winners. Emcee: Charles Norris, Norris & Norris architects, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Charley served as jury chair in 1996 and has devoted decades of service to non-profit organizations concerned with the Boston Harbor. 

2:00 pm The Public Realm - 

Moderator: Ed Freer, JJR, LLC, Madison, Wisconsin. Ed, jury chair in 2003, will give overview of the subject with illustrations. This the category receiving the most awards over the years by far. Our panelists will address different categories of public realm while also discussing their own award-winning projects. 

This is THE legacy of the waterfront redevelopment phenomenon of the last 30-plus years: massive amounts of publicly accessible space to and along a wide variety of water bodies. The public access issue has been a hallmark of the Waterfront Center’s educational mission for over 30 years. The public realm, whether as a component of complex mixed-use undertakings, or as stand-alone installations in their own right, beckon the public to come and enjoy. Which enjoyment can be reflective, active, participatory -- or all of the above over time. Many spaces are simple green lawns, others feature cultural, recreational, historic or educational features, not to mention boating, swimming, fishing and activities for all ages. It is a good subject for debate whether or not we attempt to put too many “things” in our waterfront spaces, or whether the intrinsic magnet that is water should be allowed to dominate. There is no debate that thousands of new acres of public realm are on waterfronts where industry, dereliction, abandonment and hostile uses once predominated.

Let’s Go for a Stroll – Great Waterfront Walks, Keith Weaver, principal, EDSA, Baltimore, Maryland whose firm won awards for Fort Lauderdale Beach Revtialization, 1993 and Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk, 1996 will describe these winners and others. 
Multi-Purpose Trails Provide Varied Kinds of Linear Access, Steve Durrant, principal, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, Oregon. Steve when working with other firms won awards for Spokane River Centennial Trail, top honor, 1996 and Minneapolis Riverfront, 2004. He will discuss the many aspects of trail design. 
Parks for Everyone, Everyday not Just Sunday, Thomas Balsley, principal, Thomas Balsley Associates, New York, New York. Tom has received awards for two New York projects: Gantry Plaza State Park, Top Honor, 1999 and Riverside Park South, honor award 1011. Tom will describe this work along with other centerpiece award-winning work. 

4:00 pm Coffee Break

4:30 p.m. Plenary: Announcement and Presentation of the 2012 Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Awards for projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work selected by an interdisciplinary jury. 

Mark O. Dawson, principal, Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Massachusetts, 2012 jury chair, presiding.

5:45 p.m. Champagne Reception Honoring the 2012 Honor Award Winners. (Included in registration)

7:30 p.m. The Waterfront Center’s Gala Dinner Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program and the 2012 Winners. Whittemore House, 1526 New Hampshire Ave. N.W. , corner of Q St. NW (optional extra event for additional fee). Short 15-minute walk from hotel. Price includes multi-course meal, beer, wine and champagne toast. 

Proceeds from the dinner will support creation of an illustrated interactive database on the Center’s Web site containing information on all of the award-winning work chosen by interdisciplinary juries since 1987. An estimated 375 projects, plans, citizen efforts and student work will be included with illustrations, descriptions, jury comments and contact information.

Saturday, October 29 - Morning

9:00 am The Environmental Waterfront : A Growing Imperative– Clean, Green and Sustainable Techniques
Moderator: Jonathan Goldstick, senior vice president, Halcrow – A CH2M Hill Company, New York, New York. Jonathan, jury chair in 2011, will offer an overview of the topic and facilitate the discussion. Individual cases follow. 

A growing emphasis in the Center’s awards program over its 25 years has been an increasing emphasis on sustainability. We continue the need to stress the importance of wetlands, clean water, stormwater retention and wildlife protection. It is reflective of the growing recognition that we are the custodians of our waterfronts and their future, including insisting that they be clean, that they provide for safety and that they are planned with the distinct possibility of sea-level rising for many locations. Fresh water bodies have their own environmental issues to grapple. One tenent developed by the Centers juries since 1987 is the importance of good science underlying all that is undertaken, to make sure we understand the implications of what we’re doing and that we examine cost-effective measures of restoring and retaining water quality. Without it, most waterfront planning will be for naught.

• Creating Habitat, Conserving Water and Providing Public Access – What’s Involved, Jim Brennan, principal, J.A. Brennan Associates, LLC, Seattle, Washington, honor award for Taylor Avenue Dock and Upland Park, Bellingham, 2007 and Herring’s House Park., Top Honor 2002.
• It’ All About Water Everyone! Betsy Damon, Keepers of the Waters, New York, New York. Betsy received a Top Honor award for the Living Water Garden, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. 

10:45 a.m. Coffee Break

11:00 a.m. The Once and Future Waterfront
Moderators: Ann Breen and Dick Rigby, co-founders and co-directors, The Waterfront Center, Washington, DC

We have charged this panel with the task of taking an overview, a philosophic look if you will of what we have accomplished collectively, where we went astray and also to look ahead. Where is the future of urban waterfront planning, development and culture headed? Are new emphases in store? How do North American waterfronts fit into a global perspective? Has the impact of global warming already impacted planning? At the end of the day, arguably have waterfronts played a key role in the rejuvenation of a large number of cities here and abroad. Have we peaked?

Jane Thompson, principal, Thompson Design Group, Boston, Massachuestts. 
Jane served on the 1993 jury and is recipient of several Waterfront Center awards.
She and her husband, the late Ben Thompson and the Thompson Design Group are well known for their waterfront work in Boston at Faneuil Hall, Chicago’s Navy Pier and Houston’s Buffalo Bayou among others. In 2010 Jane received National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. 

Saturday Afternoon – On Your Own

WASHINGTON! -- A city with hundreds of choices for all moods.

Hike in Rock Creek Park; rent a bike and ride all over the city; get a canoe at Thompson’s Boat House and cruise the Potomac; take a boat trip on the C&O Canal or visit one of the scores of FREE museums. Weather permitting, have a leisurely café lunch and relax. Washington is one of the most walkable cities in the country.

Maps and tourist materials available plus a special insiders guide to some our favorite, maybe not so well known 


 Sponsorship Opportunities

Who Attends The Conference

Early Conference Sponsors


AIA/CENTER FOR COMMUNITIES BY DESIGN, Washington, District of Columbia



HALCROW – a CH2M Hill Company, New York, New York



SASAKI ASSOCIATES, Watertown Massachusetts

SF MARINA SYSTEMS, Portland, Maine

WALKER MACY, Portland, Oregon



Thirty Years and Counting

A Memorable Conference


New York City, October 27-29, 2011

Welcome Presentation

PowerPoint Presentations from the 2011 Conference

Please help us to make future conferences a success.


New York Conference Boat Tour

Conference Brochure

“THIRTY YEARS AND COUNTING” was the theme of this year’s Waterfront Center conference held in New York City in October. This is in recognition of the Center’s 30th anniversary in 2011 as well as the approximate date when the waterfront redevelopment phenomenon took hold in this country and abroad. 
To reflect the theme, one of the conference’s 12 panels featured cities whose waterfront work dates back at least 30 years. Candidates include London and Liverpool UK, Newport, R.I., Oakland, Calif., Seattle, Wash. and St. Louis, Mo. 

For over 25 years the Center’s conference has been recognized as the premier international waterfront meeting, bringing together a wide range of practitioners from varied disciplines and geography. In all the Urban Waterfronts 2011 featured 33 presenters, from cities of all sizes and from a range of geography including overseas. In addition there was a keynote feature and a closing presentation. A conference highlight was the first announcement of the winners of the Center’s annual awards program. The 2001 jury chairman was Jonathan Goldstick, senior vice president, Halcrow Inc., New York, N.Y.

A pre-conference workshop featured a sampling of the New York area’s waterfront projects was conducted all day on Thursday, Oct. 27. Special briefings and on-site tours were organized by a host local committee, headed by Donna Walcavage, principal/vice president at AECOM and Roland Lewis, president and CEO, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, both New York City.




The City Resurgent

PowerPoint Presentations from the 2010 Conference

Baltimore Conference Boat Tour


Urban Waterfronts 27 Conference 2009 

Sustainable Solutions
Seattle Marriott Waterfront
October 22-24, 2009

Seattle Conference Boat Tour


Contact the Waterfront Center

Telephone 202/337 0356 


Links to Waterfront Expertise

Conference Brochure Urban Waterfronts 28

Conference Brochure Urban Waterfronts 27

Conference Brochure Urban Waterfronts 26

Conference Brochure Urban Waterfronts 25

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