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A Tribute to Ann Breen

In the River Action Inc. Eddy Magazine

Late November 2019 Newsletter

2020 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
The 2020 Interdisciplinary Jury

A hallmark of the Center's awards program is the makeup of the jury members who have different backgrounds and expertise which enriches the discussions over the two-day session to be held in Cape May, New Jersey, in mid-July, 2020.
Michael Sriprasert, vice president, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jury Chair
Stewart McKenzie, senior associate, Environmental Design Associates, Somerville, Massachusetts
Rod Marler, director Design + Place, Panuku Development Corporation, Auckland, New Zealand
Domenica Stasiak, senior project manager, Langan Engineering, New York, New York
2018 Awards Jury: l-r Michael Sriprasert, Elan Zingman-Leith,
Chair, Donna Walcavage, Mike Houck.
Deadline for Submittal: July 15, 2020
Visit the Center's Website for program details, application forms, criteria and background HERE
Should you have any questions or need clarification email: or call 202/337-0356 or or 202/256-1263.
We suggest applicants check out the awards database; the booklets or any other pertinent links.
Awards Presentation and Gala Dinner
2016 Excellence on the Waterfront Winners
The Awards will be announced and presented Friday afternoon, September 25th at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. A reception and a gala dinner will follow.
Reception 2016
Gala Dinner 2016

November 2019 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts September 2020, Detroit
In early October we took a field trip to Motor City where our good friend, Harriet Saperstein, gave us a grand tour not only of the fabulous riverfront but other parts of this city on the move. We also met with Karen Slaughter du Perry at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The non-profit organization is partnering with us to put together a dynamite convening. We have also made connections with the planner in Windsor, Ontario to make this a true North American gathering. We plan on a Saturday tour there and presentations a main conference.
On tap is also an all-day workshop highlighting the Detroit riverfront by bus and numerous stops along way to hear first hand about the projects and of course, photo ops.
What's there today is the culmination of 40 years of planning and hard work. Read about the latest addition Valade Park, designed by Groundswell, a three-time Excellence on the Waterfront honor award winner.
Valade Park
Valade Park
Alas we only had one day of fine weather but the pictures below give some idea of a few of the installations.
The custom-made merry-go-round, The Cullen Family Carousel, depicts creatures relevant to the Detroit area is a popular attraction and a centerpiece of Cullen Plaza.
River Walk
One portion of the lengthy and popular RiverWalk we will be exploring.
Harriet Saperstein and Dick Rigby
Charter Waterfront Center board member Harriet Saperstein shows Center co-director Dick Rigby the interpretive panels in the handsome metal shelter in the Milliken State Park Wetlands.
Park Bench
Metal bench provides place to pause and enjoy the river amidst vegetated landscape.
Snapshots from Egypt
From my long ago 9th grade love of things King Tut and archaeologists' stories, I have always wanted to travel to Egypt. Dick and I finally journeyed there in October to be awed by the ancient wonders and artifacts. The fabulous museum in Cairo -- which is a treasure trove -- will soon be replaced by a huge, very modern building close to the pyramids which is nearly complete (Heneghan Peng architects; Patricio Pouchulu, architect). Google the Grand Egyptian Museum. Opening set for 2020. 
Grand Egyptian Museum
Actually seeing the pyramids, the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, the Temple of Luxor, the Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Dead and so much more you leave amazed at the sheer size of the statues and columns, the intricate carvings and hieroglyphs. My wish list for Christmas includes a good photo book of all these amazing things. 
 For our waterfront world colleagues, the experience of being on the storied Nile was wonderful. Our Cairo hotel afforded us views of the urban riverscape and cruising on the small ship allowed us to drink in the blue waters, the green shorelines with the desert tan hills beyond that dominate while traveling along it. 
Below are some snapshots: 
Nile Boat
A sighting of a lovely felluca, the traditional wooden sailing boat, found on the river.
Morning sunlight plays along one of the several steep embankments we climbed to take transport to some of the sites.
Trash Skows
Ubiquitous blue bags on several trash barges sighted along the river.
One of the colorful vessels, used to ferry visitors from one side the Nile to the other.
Luxor Walkway
A glimpse of the waterfront promenade in Cairo. 
Refurbishing Cairo walk
Long stretches of the shoreline in downtown Cairo are being refurbished.
Another view from our hotel room shows not only the shoreline improvements, but also the fierce traffic found in the city. Anyone who has ever been to Cairo backs up the observation about the amount of chaotic traffic and the honking horns. Upon arrival it took us 3 hours to make the usual 45-minute ride from the airport due to huge and uncommon rainfall. Unforgettable.
Early morning on the Nile
The view from our hotel room very early morning.
Waterfront Art - Battery Park City in the '80's
Time was when what is now Battery Park City was landfill site covered with sand. Creative Time, an arts organization, stepped in to be, well, creative. A recent article (11/ 7/19) in The New York Times featured the work of conceptual public artist Agnes Denes whose work will be included in a retrospective at The Shed in New York City. Her 1982 two-acre installation Wheatfield - a Confirmation was, to say the least, a bit incongruous on the New York waterfront. Denes planted, cared for and harvested the crop. 
Agnes Denes New York City Wheatfield
One of the best lines in a July 1, 2019 New York Times article ("At the foot of the Twin Towers A Beach that Time Forgot" by Jeff Giles, page A 18) was that the "Statue of Liberty finally got to see some amber waves of grain". This article reminded me of wandering along that 'beach' with Dick years ago and I found a photo from '82 in our archive of the iron-rod sculpture of "Lizzie and Gaffer Hexam"by David Saunders.
"Lizzie and Gaffer Hexam"by David Saunders
America's Most Endangered Rivers - 2019
The non-profit organization American Rivers has been publishing the ten most endangered rivers for decades and we'll share the 2019 list and encourage you to go their web site for details. They also named Ohio's Cuyahoga River as the River of the Year lauding its amazing comeback from when it infamously on fire!
Gila River
New Mexico
Hudson River
New York
Upper Mississippi River
Duwamish River
Willamette River
Chilkat River
South Fork Salmon River
Buffalo National River
Big Darby Creek
Stikine River
he Cultural Landscape Foundation presents:
Landslide: 2019: Living in Nature
TCLF has just published a list of nationally significant sites threatened by climate change most of which involve sea level rise. Their website gives fulsome details and background for those wishing to learn more.
TCLF Sites Endangered by Climate Change

The Waterfront Center Awards Movie
The Waterfront Center has made a movie about the origin and workings of a digital search engine that can scan the Excellence on the Waterfront awards collection
This tool stores text and images about the projects and plans that have won Waterfront Center awards in the last 32 years
These are outstanding international examples of 32 years of waterfront improvements that have changed this….
… this
The search engine stores information about the winning projects in the categories shown below. Queries can be made in any of these categories, by date for example, or location, type, or applicant.
A search for New York, for example, will show all the award winners in New York city or state.
Each of these can be selected to show images, contact information, project description, and jury comments.
The movie can be viewed on the Waterfront Center web page or on Vimeo. Search engine queries can be entered HERE.

September 2019 Newsletter


Dog Days are upon us along with more heat so what else but to plow through some languishing piles and discover things.
Good News for Lovers of the Blue Crabs
If nothing can be tastier than a sauteed soft shell or banging and picking your way through a big pile of steams crabs, it was welcome news in that Chesapeake blue crabs are at their most plentiful in seven years. Great news for Mid-Atlantic shellfish lovers.
Grab your little wooden mallets, spread out the newspapers, grab some rolls of paper towel.
May 7, 2019 article by Scott Dance in The Washington Post
Bad News for the Sea Gulls
As summer draws to a close, visitors to Ocean City, New Jersey have been pleased to get reprieve from the aggressive, ever-hungry gulls zooming in on their fries and funnel cakes. To rid the Boardwalk of this annoyance the city hired East Coast Flacons for $2,100 a day to ward off the gulls. PJ Simonis, the falconer, walks the boards with his helmeted bird from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Along with falcons, hawks and an owl named Ozzy patrol the area and Mayor Jay Gilliam is considering bringing them back next summer saying "...any investment that can protect the quality of life for our residents and guests is worthwhile." An added bonus may be that the gulls have been seen diving for fish in the ocean which may be better for them than fatty fries.
" Raptors 1, Gulls 0" by Colt Shaw, The Press of Atlantic City, Sunday, August 25, 2019
Rail Trails Rolling Along
I am always reminded how the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has grown and how people who enjoy the outdoors mhave benefitted from their good work. If you are not a member, consider joining at $18/yr. and received their well-illustrated magazine Rails to Trails that keeps you abreast of trails news. The July 2019 issue updated what's happening on the Great American Rail Trail.
This ambitious project will eventually encompass 3,700 miles across 12 states and the District of Columbia. A map accompanying this
piece shows completed portions along with ones still be be connected. One day you can go from Washington, DC to Seattle, Washington.
News from Quad Cities' River Action Inc.
In early May River Actions staff who were at a meeting, got a phone call alerting them to a foot of water filling their office floor! Kathy Wine mentioned in her Eddy editorial that luckily she had boots in her trunk - she mentioned she may keep them there. Needless to say the task of moving everything out and into a temporary office was gigantic. Right now the 35-year old non-profit organization is in temporary headquarters at 736 Federal Street, #2302 and looking forward to moving to the storefront office on River Drive.
Having successfully fought off flood walls several times over the years, they may be facing yet another battle. We'll stay tuned.
A new permeable alley is being installed behind their office. Another great demonstration project.
Coming soon for them: 12th Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference: October 23-24. Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, Moline, Illinois.
International Landscape Architecture Prize Announced
The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a non-profit organization, based in Washington, D.C. announces the first-ever International Landscape Architecture Prize.
A five-person jury will make the selection to be announced in 2021 of the recipient. The prize of $100,000 will be awarded to a living practitioner.
The Coal Loader
Another Fabulous Public Space Down Under Black to Green
Well Sydneysiders have done it again! Our Aussie friends never shy from tackling enormous old sites or industrial structures.
Among others, think of these Waterfront Center honor award winners: Darling Harbour ('91), Woolloomooloo Bay ('00), Walsh Bay ('05) and Ballast Point ('10). Check these projects out on our interactive database
The August 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine has a fascinating and well-illustrated article, "Tunnel Vision" by Gweneth Leigh about this amazing adaptive reuse of an industrial relic.
Once known as the Waverton Coal Loader Platform, at the turn of the 20th Century, it was one of the most technologically advanced coal transfer
depots in the Southern Hemisphere. Bulk carriers once unloaded up to 40,000 tons of coal from the enormous elevated platform. The facility could not have been grittier. A less imaginative city council might have wanted to destroy the "eyesore" but this council decided to take a decidedly different tack, transforming the platform into the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability (the Coal Loader). Located on the Waverton, North Sydney waterfront, the Coal Loader is a place to relax, be inspired, grab a coffee or lunch, learn about best-practice sustainable technology, community gardens, native bush nursery, food gardens, solar panels, regenerated parklands (including a green roof) and a fascinating history. Four long coal transport tunnels serve multiple purposes: storing filtered water; creating space for art exhibitions and laser light shows ; providing a conduit linking to trails in the surrounding area and providing habitat for eastern bent-wing microbats to roost (off limits to the public)
In 2011 the then Mayor of North Sydney, Genia McCaffery said:"The opening of the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability signals a major milestone in a very long process to save the site for current and future generations. It will now be a place where the community can come together to learn about sustainable living practices, or to simply enjoy the stunning park lands."
We recommend Googling the Coal Loader for all sorts of images of the public enjoying this important new addition to Sydney's waterfront. The views from the top deck are spectacular.
The Waterfront Center 2020 Conference in Detroit
The 33rd International Conference on Waterfront Planning and Development and Culture is planned for September 24-26, 2020. at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit
Co-sponsored by The Waterfront Center and The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroit, Michigan
September 23 -24. "Showcasing the Detroit Waterfront" all day workshop

July 2019 Newsletter

Save the Date : September 24-26 2020
Urban Waterfronts Detroit, Michigan
We are delighted to announce the convening of the international waterfront community in 2020. See below at the end of this newsletter for more details about the conference hotel and other details. We will also be announcing details about the 2020 awards program later this year.
A New Garden for Belle Isle
Belle Isle
Belle Isle Beach
So much has happened on the Detroit riverfront since we first knew it 40 years ago and more wonderful things keep happening so we know folks will want to join in the pre-conference workshop on September 24. Our co-sponsors, The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will be putting together a great program. Besides the new Atwater Beach designed by Groundswell mentioned in our last newsletter, there is another new development on the historic Belle Isle originally designed by Olmsted.
We are crossing our fingers that this new garden designed by Piet Oudolf will be open when we are all in Detroit. Construction of the 2.5 acre site began in June with a completion set for fall 2020. (Piet Oudolf was honored by the Waterfront Center with an Excellence on the Waterfront top honor in 2006 for his work on the Battery Bosque in New York City see photo below).
Battery Bosque New York
The design for Belle Isle calls for 25-to-30 percent native plants and includes a picnic area. Total cost is 4.2 million dollars; $150,000 for design, $2 million for installation and $2 million for an endowment.
Piet Oudolf's plan for a new garden for Belle Isle
See more detail about this plan in an article in Curbed Detroit, June 13 by Aaron Mondry
Bushwick Inlet Park
Bushwick Inlet Park Plan
"Can Gas Tanks be a playground? Dueling ideas for Bushwick Inlet Park" an article by Justin Davidson, June 17, 2019
Proposed use of gas tanks for Bushwick Inlet Park
This fascinating article pits the tension between erasure and commemoration that keeps coming up as New York gradually converts its once forbidding industrial shoreline into a green and pleasant buffer. Examples of dramatic industrial artifacts that become beloved icons in the public realm date back to Richard Haag's Gas Works Park in Seattle (Excellence on the Waterfront award winner in 1993) and Tom Balsley's Gantry Plaza State Park (Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winner in 1999) to name a few. Issues of environmental degradation, cost of remediation, neighborhood sensitivities come into play as the sides for retaining the old and those wanting things to come down and start anew debate. Anyone interested in these concerns will find this a must read.
Gasworks Park, Seattle
Gantry Park State Park, Queens New York
Pier 35, Manhattan
Pier 35 Manhattan
SHoP Architects and Ken Smith convert Manhattan's Pier 35 that sits on the East River facing Brooklyn into a much needed outdoor space that also doubles as a habitat restoration area including several gardens and a sloping metal screen to be covered with foliage and lighted at night to serve as a beacon.
The project entailed the creation of a beach that will provide habitat for mussels.
Pier 35 Manhattan
See more detail in an article in Landscape Report, July 16, 2019. by Jenna McKnight
Pier 35 Manhattan
Urban Waterfronts 2020 Detroit Conference
Detroit Waterfront
The 33rd International Conference on Waterfront Planning and Development and Culture is planned for September 24-26, 2020. at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel
Co-sponsored by The Waterfront Center and The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroit, Michigan
September 23 -24. "Showcasing the Detroit Waterfront" all day workshop
Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,Detroit
Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,Detroit, Interior
Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,Detroit
An historic hotel in downtown. Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
This 1924 landmark has been restored to its former grandeur.
The Waterfront Center Awards Searchable Database
Just a reminder that you can check the nearly 400 Excellence on the Waterfront award Winners on our interactive database HERE

June 2019 Newsletter

Some Meetings of Note
June 21-22 The McHarg Center Penn Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12th Annual Upper Mississippi Regional Conference,
October 23-24,2019 Moline, Illinois
November 15-18, 2019 Annual Conference on Landscape Architecture 
San Diego, California
The 33rd International Conference on Waterfront Planning and Development and Culture
September 24-26, 2020. Urban Waterfronts 2020 Westin Book Cadillac Hotel
Co-sponsored by The Waterfront Center and The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroit, Michigan
September 23 -24. "Showcasing the Detroit Waterfront" all day workshop 
Waterfront Phenomenon Keeps Rolling Along...
We shake our heads sometimes since people back in the day 40 years ago couldn't imagine why we were establishing an organization about of all things - "waterfronts." Today waterfront developments, redevelopments and re-dos just keep happening and happening all over the world. 
To check in on just three:
Baltimore's Middle Branch Waterfront
Three Proposals for Baltimore's Middle Branch Waterfront
The Parks and People Foundation selected three finalists in a design competition (James Corner Field Operations and Hargreaves Jones, both of New York and West 8 of The Netherlands) who went to Baltimore to meet with residents. They learned people wanted a more peaceful, recreational space as a contrast to the Inner Harbor. A jury will review the proposal and public feedback to recommend a winning firm.
Three Proposals for Baltimore's Middle Branch Waterfront
See: Baltimore Sun, June 3, 2019. "Neglected Middle Barnch Waterfront in South Baltimore is Getting a Facelift" by Pamela Wood.
Philadelphia's Cherry Street Pier
Cherry Street Pier, Philadelphia
Opened in 2018, the Cherry Street Pier is a year-round mixed-use public space on the Central Delaware Riverfront waterfront. Built into the shell of a century-old municipal pier, this adaptive reuse of an historical site brings new life and creative community-oriented space with seeming something for everyone to see and do. Check our their summer calendar.
Cherry Street Pier, Philadelphia
If you visit Philadelphia's riverfront stop in at Morgan's Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park both Excellence on the Waterfront Award winners.
Morgan's Pier
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Still to come a $225-million dollar park that will breach over the 17-lane highway and join the city to the river at long last.
Penns Landing Park, Philadelphia
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
Design of Riverfront Wetland Park - South Philadelphia
The DRWC requests proposals from qualified interdisciplinary design teams to develop ecologically- and community-centered concepts for a unique riverfront ecological park on the Delaware River | Read More
Detroit Riverfront Adds More Fun
Atwater Beach
We are super excited to begin planning for our 33rd conference in Detroit partnering with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy because there is so much to see and share including Atwater Beach illustrated above, the latest addition to the riverfront. The Conservancy will help with the Detroit Workshop on Sept. 24 where delegates will be given briefings and tours. The newest addition is a 3.2 acre park and urban beach designed by the award-winning folks at Groundswell (see above Morgan's Pier and Spruce Street Harbor Park). Imagination, creativity and whimsy are hallmarks of their work and for this park they will draw on the riverfront's colorful history. A whiskey barge for example is a nod to the Purple Gang, notorious bootleggers who did their fair share of smuggling liquor from Windsor, Ontario across the river.
See: "Motor City Made," Landscape Architecture Magazine, LAND, June 2019, pages 28-30.
The Art of the Waterfront
Co-directors Breen and Rigby continue to be hard at work on their book celebrating artworks that are directly oriented to the waterbodies
where they are found. As of early June they have identified nearly 150 works of varied kinds from all over the world. They are also reaching out to publishers. 
We'd love to hear from any of you about work you come across:

Late May 2019 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center is pleased to announce Urban Waterfronts 2020 will take place in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
has agreed to be our co-sponsor. 
Conference Hotel:
Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,Detroit
An historic hotel in downtown. Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
This 1924 landmark has been restored to its former grandeur.
Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,Detroit
September 23-26, 2020 
"Showcasing the Detroit Waterfront" Thursday, September 24 with an optional get-acquainted dinner
Wednesday evening. The Conservancy's Karen Slaughter Du Perry has already put forward some great ideas regarding the workshop.
The Detroit Waterfront
September 24 - 26, 2020
Opening Exhibitors' and Welcome reception September 24
All-day conference including awards ceremony and optional gala dinner September 25
Half-day conference September 26
Saturday optional afternoon tours.
The Detroit Waterfront
There will be an optional get-acquainted dinner Thursday evening after welcome reception. 
We have decided to offer two simultaneous tracks, plus opening and closing presentations. The awards ceremony will be followed by a reception and optional gala dinner.
Refuge Gateway and Humbug Marsh, Detroit
32nd Honor Awards Program
Visit the interactive data base HERE as well as the website HERE for lots more information on the program and the winners.
The Waterfront Center Social Media Links
Visit The Waterfront Center at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

March 2019 Newsletter
Springtime greetings!! The advent of Daylight Savings Time, daffodils poking their heads and the soft pink blush of cherry blossoms help to herald the coming of Spring!!! 
Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanently Authorized!
Well what good news coming out of the Nation's Capital: Yea! After 50 years and helping to create over 40,000 state and local parks, the fund has been permanently authorized. The LWCF is one of the only Federal programs that provides dedicated funds for local and community parks and recreation facilities.
We are in no doubt that there are a ton of installations on our nation's waterbodies that have used these funds in the past. If you are contemplating a waterfront park, this should be most welcome news. 
Manayunk Canal in Philadelphia
A cause to celebrate
The Manayunk Canal Aerial
Thanks to Charlie Flynn, formerly of Yuma, who sent this article about a great waterfront revitalization close by the Schuylkill  River in the City of Brotherly Love, - his new hometown. The history of the restored canal is heartwarming LINK. Once part of the city's gritty industrial past, the area is now booming with lots of mixed uses and recreational amenities.
The Manayunk Canal Plan
Calendar Listings
Some upcoming events to note in your calendars:
March 28, 8:30 - 11:00. Waterfront Redevelopment Guidelines. New York University. Kimmel Hall. Visit www.Waterfront
May 7, 2019 9:00-5:00. Waterfront Conference: Rising Seas; Rising Risks. Visit: Waterfront
October 23-24, 2019. 12th Annual Upper Mississippi River Conference, Moline, Illinois. Visit: or 563 332 2969. 
Looking ahead and if your spring/summer plans have you traveling, Google some of our favorite waterfront non-profits for their upcoming events:
River Action, Inc, Quad Cities; Riverfront Recapture, Hartford; Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Brooklyn; Charles River Conservancy, Boston to name a few. Most of the events are free and provide lots of family fun. 
Charleston Revisited
We recently had the occasion to return to Charleston, S.C. and visit our good friend and former staff member Kathleen Ewing who many of you may remember as a friendly face at so many of our conferences. Thanks to another friend, we got a chance to have a quick visit to the Waterfront Park there -- now very aptly renamed the Joseph P. Riley Waterfront Park. Mayor Riley, who served his beloved community for decades and was one of the nation's best mayors ever. He oversaw the park's creation with such caring attention to every detail - down to the petunias and pebble colors. The park received an Excellence on the Waterfront top honor award in 1994. Revisiting favorite spots is always fraught with a bit of apprehension. We were somewhat taken aback, pleasantly so, at the difference 30+ years makes. Much remains quite the same, handsomely so, but as you can see in the photos: the TREES!!! Below are images that quite vividly show how the park has matured!
Joseph P. Riley Waterfront Park circa 1994
View of the entire park with wetland area in foreground; the T-shaped pier with its shaded pavilion and swings plus the fishing facility at the end; the waterside walkway; the two fountains; the green lawn and the small 'rooms' with benches for informal lounging. We always liked the fact that area adjacent to the water has a robust, maritime feel to it and the area closest to the historic core reflects the quiet charm of this city.
Centerpiece fountain using the iconic pineapple which is a symbol of hospitality surrounded by pink petunias as it was in 1994
The Fountain as it is today albeit a rather gray day.
In the early days of the park the intimate seating areas were fully visible.
As is obvious from the photos taken recently, you can barely see the seating areas as the trees have so fully matured. Visitors must welcome the fulsome shade in the hot months, not to mention the privacy and quiet.
The curving walk along the wetlands with graceful benches and robust railings.
More informal walkway gracefully runs alongside marsh grasses.
This 1994 photo shows the two fountains as they were.
Today, the big spray serves as eye-catching focal point at the end of this
beautiful allee of shade trees. 
The Waterfront Center on the Internet
The Waterfront Center has been expanding its presence on the Internet. Besides the website, the Waterfront Center can now be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

February 2019 Newsletter

Happy Valentine’s Day to the Waterfront Community
Water and romance go hand in hand. Pictured below is couple taking a nighttime stroll on the over water walkway in Milwaukee featuring details by public artist Mary Miss. 
Waterfront Center News
Center co-directors Breen and Rigby have begun working in earnest on a new book – a project they have been wanting to undertake for years. The Art of the Waterfront, the working title, will cover the many facets of artistic endeavors found on waterfronts from major public art installations to unique design details. The Center has had a long-term interest in art beginning with a panel featuring Athena Tacha, Bob Irwin and Siah Armajani and a keynote by John Beardsley at their 1984 conference. They will be taking a sabbatical of sorts in 2019 to concentrate on this effort.
If you would like to submit interesting work or yours or projects you know about that might be candidates for inclusion in the book, please send us description and visuals
The Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program will skip 2019 while co-directors are busy on the book. However, the 31st awards program will resume in 2020 with an early summer deadline for submittals. Stay tuned to the website for details on the deadline for submittals. and 2020 jury members. Meanwhile Stewart continues to add to the interactive databas
We will be posting on Instagram samples of award winning projects and plans and news of Waterfront Center activities. To view our Instagram profile go to

December 2018 Newsletter
Happiest Christmas and Holiday Season
to the Waterfront World!
As we all pause to bask in the warmth of family, friends and maybe a little feasting, let's pause to remember all the people who work so very hard on our waterfronts. 
This e-letter is a tribute to all the great visionaries and volunteers past and present. As examples we include an account of the Brooklyn Bridge Park along with a bit of historical background. Also, we share the sad news of the recent death of two waterfront pioneers. 
To those currently active, may 2019 be the year you achieve consensus, tie up all the loose ends, push your dreams forward, put a a spade in the ground or cut a ribbon! 
Brooklyn Bridge Park Is All But Complete
But first, a bit of back story to give readers full appreciation of this achievement. In the fall 1992 issue of Waterfront World we reported:
Former use of the Brooklyn Bridge Park site
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey recently announced its intention to sell to commercial developers about 80 acres of prime Brooklyn waterfront just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Local officials and residents have been working for years in hopes of keeping the land for the public. The parcel presently comprises five decrepit piers with warehouses, reported the New York Times. Those fighting to keep the land out of developers hands and thus removed from much of their influence say the Port Authority made the announcement to force a resolution on the land and will appeal to Governor Cuomo to stop the sale. The Port Authority says that it wants to sell the property because the piers need expensive repairs it does not want to make."
As long-standing chroniclers of urban waterfronts including Brooklyn for nearly 40 years we were thrilled to see mention by Michael Van Valkenburgh in the article that follows this bit of history of our dear friend and former Waterfront World correspondent, the late Mickey Murphy. To wit: Van Valkenburgh recalled the words of Mary Ellen Murphy a longtime Brooklyn activist who during a community meeting in the late 90s reflected that she just "wanted to go down to the river at night and put her feet in, watch the moonlight on the water." He said: "That was a paradigm shift in park making...."We realized this park wasn't about scenery; it was about the river."
Another great friend of the Center is Marianna Koval who was executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and who along with Mickey and numerous other grassroots folks worked very hard to assure there would be a park for people, not land for developers. The Conservancy - an alliance of approximately 75 civic environmental, business and neighborhood groups - received a Clearwater award in 2000 for their tireless effort. The coalition also sponsored educational programs, working with local schools in order the directly involve young people park planning as well as learning about environmental issues. 
Another friend of the Center was the late Olga Bloom who founded the chamber music venue, Bargemusic docked at Fulton Ferry Landing, a close neighbor of the aforementioned Port Authority warehouses.
Below is a photo of Bloom's Bargemusic docked at Fulton Ferry Landing, a close neighbor of the aforementioned Port Authority warehouses.
Olga and Mickey were great pals - in today's parlance BFF's. They were great smokers and in my imagination I see them puffing away on the back deck of the Barge after the performances, looking across the river to lower Manhattan, the lights, the stars and dreaming and scheming together about a beautiful park in place of the port's old piers. Decades later: voila!!!
Brooklyn Bridge Park now
The December 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine has an exhaustive (pages 72 - 131) and beautifully illustrated story about this fabulous waterfront park on the shores of Brooklyn's East River. 
The article's title, aptly describes how this $350 million-dollar, 85-acre park built on six piers and decades in the making offers something, as the title suggests for everybody, not to mention urban wildlife. You name it, respect for its industrial past, public art, imaginative play and recreational areas for kids of all ages, access to the water, performance spaces, educational components, lush and gorgeous planting, use of recycled materials, attention to detail, places for solitude, water features and the list goes on. Kudos to author Anne Raver and all involved putting this varied material together. That includes Melanie Rehak who explains the creation and important role of the salt marsh at Pier 1 to assure sustainability. Bradford McKee who writes about the planting strategy and Haniya Rae who describes the intricacies of softening sound and how geo-engineering helps shut out city noise.
Images of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier
Brooklyn-based Michael Van Volkenburgh Associates, Inc were the team leaders and landscape architects with Regina Myer who was president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation led the effort but as the list of those involved spelled out in tiny type the end of the article, it took an enormous cast to pull off this beautifully executed series of public spaces. If you don't subscribe to the magazine, get this issue for your waterfront library. 
Below we share the sad tidings of the loss of two pillars of the waterfront community - who died recently: Marty Millspaugh and Joe
Marfuggi. Both were tremendous friends and supporters of the Center. We offer some personal reflections and links to their obituaries. 
Marty Millspaugh
Marty Millspaugh. We knew Marty from our earliest days. In fact he was one the the keynoters at our very first conference in 1983 and since there was really no place to hold a snazzy conference reception, he arranged for us to have the top floor of the Trade Center on the Inner Harbor. Our attendees were treated to some really snazzy views of that groundbreaking waterfront. We bussed everyone over. Neophyte conference planners that we were, we hired too many buses, so Dick and returned to DC in splendid isolation on an empty bus! Marty shared his knowledge at other events as well. His beloved Inner Harbor received a few Excellence on the Waterfront Awards including one for the generously wide promenade and the National Aquarium. He was a very gentle, kind person. He came up to us at one of our conferences and told us -- "what you have in this room are the 'doers'. We took that as a very high compliment. Marty, a singular doer himself, left a huge legacy - one that will long be remembered. 
His obituary can be found HERE
Joe Marfuggi
Joe Marfuggi. We go a long way back with the Hartford Riverfront. The first director of Riverfront Recapture, Jill Diskan drove us all around what was then a pretty dismal place that she had begun working on. Taking up the cause after her departure, Joe joined the organization and stayed with it for decades.
We love to tell the story of one jury passing over what we considered to be an astonishing waterfront achievement -- only to be given top honor the next year!
That was one of those occasions we had to go out in the hall to hide our disappointment. I excitedly called him when the project won the following year. He did not hear the word "Top Honor" and was floored at the ceremony, bemoaning he had not brought a delegation. 
 We pressed him into numerous speaking assignments and he served on one of our awards juries. Joe, another extremely thoughtful and kind person, 
brought great care and passion to his work. Touring his beloved riverfront with him is a lasting memory - including his stooping to pick up litter! 
His obituary can be found HERE

The Waterfront Center Awards Search Engine

The Waterfront Center has loaded information about almost all the winners in the Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program since 1987 into a searchable database. The 2018 winners have now been added this database. Commentary on the search engine can be found HERE. Queries can be entered into the search engine HERE. To see the 2018 winners enter 2018 into the search window and press enter. To view a project click on the project name. There are 373 awards with project descriptions and contact information and 2,310 images. This searchable collection represents probably the most complete record of international excellence in waterfront planning and design in the last 31 years.

The 2018 Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners in the Awards Search Engine
The search engine stores information in the following categories: Award Year, Award Category, Project Type, Project Name, Award City, Award State, Award Country, Entrants Names, Award Organization, Organization Website, Contact Name, Contact Address, Contact Phone, Contact E-Mail, Project Description, Jury Comments. You can enter a search in any of these categories. If you enter 2011 for example you will see a list of all the awards granted in that year. Click on the award name of one of the projects and you will see all the information, including images, about that project. If you entered a country, Korea for example, you will see all the awards granted for that country. The search engine also scans the text of the project description and jury comments so if you search for park for example you will see not only the projects categorized as parks but also those that have the word park in their project description or jury comments. To view only those projects categorized as Park awards click on those projects labeled Park in the Award Category column. 

Thanksgiving 2018 Newsletter

Thanksgiving Wishes
The Center wishes to thank all of our supporters and friends. Many of you have been with us since 1981! We were on a trip to Morocco
recently (see below) and lo and behold one of our fellow travelers, Stu Turner, who lives and works in the Hudson Valley, knew us! Over the nearly 40 years we have been lucky to meet hundreds of incredible people. 
Special thanks to our right hand, Stewart McKenzie, who works his
magic from up in Somerville, Mass. If you want to see all info related to the 2018 awards winners - another great crop, go HERE. Thanks to all the presenters at the September 21st Ceremony.  
2018 winners of the Excellence on the Waterfront Awards
2018 awards booklets for sale and a nod again to Chris Carlson and Steve Durrant for producing yet another splendid edition.
2018 awards booklet, see the digital version HERE
Stewart continues to add to our interactive database, a unique resource for anyone involved in waterfront work. Over 400 entries can be searched.
The search engine can be accessed HERE
We also want to thank once again Donna Walcavage and Steve Durrant and Chris Carlson for nominating us for ASLA Honorary Membership. Donna and Steve are pictured below along with photo of the 2018 group.
L-R: Dick Rigby, Donna Walcavage, Steve Durrant, Ann Breen
ASLA honorary members 2018
Directors Take Holidays
In late September we took off for a trans-Canada adventure - mostly by train. Waterfront-wise we saw lots of lakes, swamps and wild and scenic rivers. We caught a glimpse of the Forks on the the Assiniboine in Winnipeg from the train window but our biggest delight was to venture to Granville Island and discover that it was still the same fabulous place as it was when we first discovered it almost 30 years ago. We feared it might have changed drastically. But no, it remains its same vibrant, funky self - all that vernacular, industrial architecture, lots of color, the same signs for the public market and Bridges. The cement plant still very active and its trucks mingling with everyone and everything - a continuing example that working waterfronts, mixed use and public realm can go-exist. I am only sorry I did not have my phone to take pictures. Phone and purse slipped out of my lap in the dark in a cab in Toronto. However, miracles happen, a friend called the phone, the cab driver gave her his number and I reached out to friends - all of whom were willing to help. My thanks to Michel Trocme and his able AA, Anastasia, at Urban Strategies. Phone and purse safely returned. 
On November 1, we flew to Paris and Casablanca. Morocco -- a dream fulfilled for Dick. Wonderful trip, incredibly varied scenery, ancient cities fabulous architecture - lots of beauty everywhere. We covered a lot of ground mostly by bus.This is not an urban waterfront aficionado's perfect destination.  We only got a brief hint of Casablanca's enormous mosque on the oceanfront. We got a taste of Rabat's shoreline along the Bouregreg River from the Casbah and spotted Zaha Hadid's Rabat Grand Theater under construction. Architect's rendering is pictured.
Zaha Hadid's Rabat Grand Theater
However, we did struck gold in seaside Essaouira, once a famous hippie hangout. The beach along the bay is expansive and the wide beach and walkway well-used by bikers, runners and strollers.
Essaouira Beach
The nearby active port will soon be joined by a new pleasure boat marina (under construction), but the real gem for those who relish the working waterfront is the fishing port. Ann left the group to wander about and spent about two hours taking in the sights and sounds of this historic, very active wharf replete with fishmongers, boat repair and the ever-present squaks of the ubiquitous gulls. Despite the drizzle, the dampness underfoot and the need to dodge the moving carts and trucks, I hope the following images show why I was entranced. This place has patina in spades. I doubt even the old South Street Seaport and Billingsgate fish markets-- although large and very colorful in their day - would top a morning in Essaouira.

September 2018 Newsletter

Announcing 2018 Excellence on the Waterfront
Award Winners
The 2018 “Excellence on the Waterfront” awards program, organized by the non-profit Waterfront Center for the past 31 years, recognized six built projects and two plans for Honor Awards. Also chosen for a Clearwater Award recognizing grass-roots efforts was the Billion Oyster Project in New York. Selected from 40 entries, the awards were chosen over a day-and-a-half by a jury led by Donna Walcavage, principal with Stantec of New York. The jury met at Congress Hall in this seaside resort.
2018 Awards Jury: l-r Michael Sriprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks,
Elan Zingman-Leith, Historic Preservationist, Cape May, New Jersey,
Chair, Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York,
Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon 
Winners will be recognized at a half-day awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., home of the Center, on Sept. 21. After presentations by the winners, there will be a reception and dinner. Each winner is given 20 minutes to describe their project or plan. Go HERE for more information and registration.
• Top Honor Project. Senator Joseph Finnegan Park at Port Norfolk, Boston, Massachusetts. Submitted by Iris Lin, Halvorson Design Partnership, and Dan Driscoll, Mass. Dept. of Conservation + Recreation, both Boston, Massachusetts.
Senator Joseph Finnegan Park at Port Norfolk, Boston, Massachusetts.
• Top Honor Plan. Willamette Falls Riverwalk Master Plan, Oregon City,
Oregon. Submitted by Laura Terway, Metro and City of Oregon City and
Carol Mayer-Reed, Mayer/Reed Inc., Portland, Oregon.
Willamette Falls Riverwalk Master Plan
Honor Awards/Projects in alphabetical order.
Newark Riverfront Park, Newark New Jersey. Submitted by Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture, Nyack New York., and The Trust of Public Land, Newark, New Jersey.
Newark Riverfront Park
Refuge Gateway and Humbug Marsh, Trenton and Gilbraltar, Michigan. Submitted by John Hartig, Fish and Wildlife Service, Grosse Isle, and A. Hicks, Hamilton Anderson Associates, Detroit, both Michigan.
Refuge Gateway and Humbug Marsh, Trenton and Gilbraltar

South Waterfront Greenway, Portland, Oregon. Submitted by Chelsea McCann, Walker Macy, Portland, Oregon, and Thomas Balsley, Thomas Balsley Associates, New York, N.Y.

South Waterfront Greenway
 • Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Wachapreague, Virginia, Campus Plan. Submitted by Donna Phaneuf, VIA design architects, Norfolk, and Dr. Richard Snyder, VIMS, Wachapreague, both Virginia.
Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
The Wharf, Washington D.C. Submitted by Mathew Jahromi, Hoffman Madison Waterfront, Washington, D.C., and Justin Wolf, Perkins Eastman, New York, New York.
The Wharf
San Francisco Bay Trail Design Guidelines and Tool Kit, San Francisco Bay (Nine Counties), California. Submitted by Lee Huo, Association of Bay Area Governments, San Francisco, and Patrick Miller, Landscape Station, Berkeley, both California.
San Francisco Bay Trail Design Guidelines and Tool Kit
Clearwater Award
The Billion Oyster Project, New York State. Blyss Buitrago, Community, Stewardship and Engagement Manager, Governors Island, New York. Submitted by Michael Fishman.
The Billion Oyster Project
2018 Jury
Chair, Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York
Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
Michael Sriprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks          
Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Elan Zingman-Leith, Historic Preservationist, Cape May, New Jersey
The Waterfront Center
31st Annual Excellence on the Waterfront

Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception 
Friday, September 21, 2018
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel 
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Sign up to attend HERE
Sign up as a supporter HERE
The City of Biloxi Hires Center Co-directors Breen and Rigby In early September Breen and Rigby will return to Biloxi after to work with the mayor and city officials and help them with various waterfront sites. To get the conversation going they will share examples of waterfront work from around the world in a tailor-made power point presentation.

July 2018 Newsletter

The American Society of Landscape Architects
Announce their 2018 Honors
Co-directors Ann Breen and Dick Rigby were quite surprised and thrilled to learn that they have been elected to be honorary members of ASLA and will be recognized during the 2018 annual conference to take place in October in Philadelphia. To quote from the press release: "Honorary membership is among the highest honors ASLA may bestow upon non-landscape architects in recognition of notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 223 honorary members." We are quite humbled to be in such esteemed company. The other new honorary members are: Carol Ross Barney, Phillip Enquist, James Garland, Dan Gottleib, Carolyn Mitchell and Michael T. Reynolds. For more details on honorary membership and as well as others receiving various honor awards go HERE
We wish to sincerely thank Steve Durrant, Donna Walcavage, Chris Carlson, James Brennan, Michael Krieger, Joel Mills, Carol Mayer-Reed and William Wenk for nominating us and writing supporting letters. 
Go to HERE for more info on the ASLA 2018 National Conference.
Whole Lot of Art Going On!
Anyone who has been around the Center knows that we have been advocates for art and culture on the waterfront for many years. Indeed, it is our aspiration to start work a book on the subject this summer. We are always excited to learn of new work being installed. You may find these stories of interest.
Chelsea Waterside Park
photo credit: New York Times
Cow Head
Chelsea Waterside Park in New York welcomed two cow heads (formerly facade ornaments on the Butchers' Dressed Meat Company, a 1919 building that was demolished in 1991). The busts will play a mere supporting role in the new playground designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Art Deco-style winged carvings that once adorned entrance ramps to the West Side Highway are additional saved artifacts. The main attraction is a colorful, 64' long rendition of a pipefish that wraps around a tower with a spiral ladders and includes a water slide wide enough for two people. The pipefish "sculpture" pays homage to real 8-inch long pipefish that are among the nearly 60 species of fish found in the lower portion of the Hudson River.
Pipefish Sculpture
"A Long Cattle Drive Ends, at a Chelsea Playground" The New York Times, June 24, 2018 by Jane Margolies. See HERE
Hong Kong's New Victoria Dockside
Victoria Dockside
Victoria Dockside, a $2.6-billion project, is perched at the tip of Kowloon Peninsula is a three-million-square-foot endeavor. New World Development is transforming the area into a modern art and design district along with a host of mixed uses and an upgraded public realm.
 Two American firms have been involved: James Corner Field Operations and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. The recently-opened shopping mall, K11 Musea is considered the crown jewel of the project. According to Mr. Adrian Cheng, the general manager of the mixed-use project, the 10-story Musea doubles as a a museum by the sea and a museum of muses. The Musea will house art exhibitions, live music, creativity workshops and other cultural events. For a fulsome account of the Victoria Dockside visit HERE for Kathy Leong's story and the website:
Victoria Dockside
31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Selections made by independent, interdisciplinary jury. Winners receive worldwide publicity and are featured on our interactive Web Site.
DEADLINE for submittals (20 images and two-page narrative) must be postmarked by July 16, 2018. Open to built projects, comprehensive plans and citizen actions as well as students.
See HERE for entry details. Awards announced on Friday, September 21 at afternoon program and ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Optional awards dinner. Details on Web site.
Happy Fourth of July week to one and all!.
Summertime is in full swing here in Cape May. We share a New Jersey bayfront view my two little granddaughters were taking in. Wish you fun and relaxing times with family and friends. 


Early June 2018 Newsletter

Newport Shipyard
Newport Shipyard
We recently had the occasion to visit Newport, one the country's great sailing capitals and happened upon a relatively new project called the Shipyard, not far from the heart of the downtown waterfront and close to a fabulous collection of Colonial buildings. The handsome logo shows the care and thought that went into this well-designed facility.
At once a heavy-duty maintenance and repair yard/pier along with offices, commercial facilities and a small restaurant named "Belle," the project offers generous and inviting public realm. Past the guard house at the entrance is a very large shed adorned with names of boats with the very handsome "Gladiator" perched out front. 
Shipyard Shed
The next huge building has a mixture of uses with the restaurant at the very end of what is termed the "Dockwalk," which allows for public access around the whole facility including inviting and attractive protected seating areas where you can eat, hang out and enjoy the view. Note the simple addition of a painted pattern that dresses up the macadam.
Cafe Area
Long View of Walk
Fisherman's Coop
Newport Fishermen
Adjacent to the Shipyard is a pier devoted to the fishing industry, the Fisherman's Coop. From here we were able to get a good view of the Shipyard's massive lift where serious repair is going on.
Boat Lift
Besides housing the fishing fleet, a very popular Lobster Shack and seafood market were attracting crowds.
Lobster Shack
As we peruse the periodicals, the web and the newspapers, we have spotted a lot of great work out there. Visit our web site to 
read about the award program, criteria and also dip into the interactive database to get a look at nearly 400 winners since 1987.
Winners are invited to the September 21 ceremony, mini-conference where they discuss their projects, reception and gala dinner as Center guests.
2017 Award Winners
Last year's top honor the Big River Crossing in Memphis was featured with a big photo spread in the May 2018 Landscape Architecture Magazine (pp. 102-115).
Big River Crossing
The non-profits mentioned below offer all sorts of interesting and educational events. Visit their web pages/calendars to learn more.
Summertime, Summertime and there is a lot of fun to be had on waterfronts! Below a small sample: 
July 4 - Bubbly and Fireworks, Houston, Texas. Buffalo Bayou Park click HERE and check our their calendar
Buffalo Bayou Park
July 12 -14 - Riverfront Food Truck Festival, Hartford, CT. Link to Riverfront Recapture
July 18 - City of Water Day, New York. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is one again coordinating a host of events throughout the region.
August 16 - Floatzilla The Quad Cities Paddlesports Festival, Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. Link to River Action Inc.
October 17-18 - Designing with Water. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square Pennsylvania. Longwood Gardens and the American Academy in Rome 
have joined forces to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to discuss strategies for designing water from the small scale to integrated regional systems. visit: for more details. 
October 24-25 - 11th Upper Mississippi River Conference, Moline, IL. River Action, Inc. convening the annual gathering of people involved with and working on Upper Mississippi River issues.
Charles River Conservancy News. The Conservancy's founder, Renata von Tscharner, is set to retire this summer. The Conservancy has named Laura Jasinski as the new executive director. Read about Renata and Laura on the Conservancy's web site:

Early May 2018 Newsletter

May come up with water wheels
May come up with flowers
May come up the same again
The same again but different
May IS a special month enchanting us with the beauty of nature emerging anew.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Rachel Carson
Center Celebrates 37th Anniversary
On a beautiful spring day in 1981 - May 1 to be exact - co-founders Breen and Rigby formalized the paperwork establishing the non-profit Waterfront Center. Some skeptics couldn't believe we could have an organization about waterfronts! Well, the certified global phenomenon has proved them wrong.
We would like to thank and recognize all the people who have supported the Center over the years: those who attended one or more of our 34annual conferences, submitted plans or projects to the Awards program (now in its 31st year), hired the Center and its teams to help with participatory planning and developing concept plans. We have been privileged to meet literally thousands of individuals working of rivers, lakes, bays, oceans, canals and streams throughout the world.
Waterfront transformations are not easy and we salute the hard work, determination and patience of the many who are involved in these complicated, worthy endeavors. Ours is an educational organization and we hope many have benefited from our newsletters, books and other forms of communication. Sincerest thanks also to the various members of our staff and interns over the years.
Jill Lepore
In the March 26 issue of The New Yorker, a fascinating article about Rachel Carson is definitely worth a read. Carson notably famous for her groundbreaking Silent Spring published in 1962 without which we might not have all the environmental protections we have enjoyed for nearly four decades (think Clean Air and Water Acts; National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act). More's the pity what we witness going on in EPA today!
Jill Lepore's piece about Carson not only succintly renders biographical detail but, important for waterfront folks, describes her love of the sea. She wrote two books still available:
"The Sea Around Us" in 1951 and "The Edge of the Sea" in 1955. She wrote the latter from her beloved cottage perched atop a bluff on the coast of Maine.
She did not live to write the next book she was contemplating about the swelling of the seas. "We live in age of rising seas," she wrote." In our own lifetimes we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate."
Author Lepore concludes her thoughtful profile:
"This spring, in the North Atlantic, not a single newborn right whale has been spotted: the water, it seems, is to warm; the mothers have birthed no calves. The sea is all around us. It is our home. And the last calf is our, inconsolable, loss."
Rachel Carson
A river trip through the borderlands that Trump wants to fence off
by Nick Paumgarten
The New Yorker, April 23, 2018
This is a river story or more precisely two river stories. In 1977 four Dartmouth undergraduates undertook a four-month adventure to mount an expedition to document their voyage along the two-thousand-mile Rio Grande for the first time in history. The fourth largest river in the United States, the Rio Grande drops out of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado and empties into the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, Texas. The river landscape varied from dry river beds (they had to use bikes) to lush tropical flora with riverbanks and wetlands full of wildlife.
Forty years later Bob Reicher, one of the original canoeists from Dartmouth, decided to put together another journey along the Rio Grande to not only celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (this act now covers more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams). The trip was also a response to Trump's wall. Dan Reicher, a board member of American Rivers, teamed up with Bob Irwin, president of the non-profit advocacy group. American Rivers for the first time since 2003 placed the Rio Grande among the ten most endangered rivers. Joining Reicher, Irwin and the author of this article were 20 intrepid souls and four guides. Democratic senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, and Theodore Roosevelt IV brought strong conservationist lineage to the assembly.
Among the many facts our reporter Paumgarten brings to our attention:
• The wall would go on the American side of the river a good distance from the banks.
• It would seal the United States off from the river and cede it to Mexico.
• it would cut people off from their property and wildlife from the main source of water.
• Ninety-three listed or proposed endangered species would be adversely affected.
• Hundreds of miles of inhospitable desert terrain border both sides of the river.
• Additionally a hundred miles of deep canyons cut through it - far more prohibitive to immigrants than a slab of concrete or steel. Paumgarten wryly points out the canyons don't require Congressional funding!
The story is chock full of historical and cultural anecdotes, the lure and life style of river trips, colorful characters and reflections by paddlers on the wall. When Bob Reicher reflected on his youthful journey he turned to Heraclitus with a quote that is no doubt applicable to all such trips:
"No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man."

31st Excellence on the Waterfront Program
Ten Reasons to Enter!
Get your waterfront project/plan worldwide recognition!
The winning entrants and their project or plans:
   • are announced at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 2018 attended by practitioners like yourself;
   • opportunity to give a presentation of your undertaking, with images;
   • are celebrated at a champagne reception that follows;
   • are treated to a gala dinner in a private room for winners, jurors and past winners;
   • are included in a special illustrated 16-page booklet that you receive with your certificate;
   • are featured on the Center’s website showing images of the ceremonies and the winners accepting their awards, and
   • are also included on the Center website’s interactive database depicts the nearly 400 + projects that have won awards since 1987 – a unique resource freely available to anyone interested.
Your award is then announced to the following:
   • The Center’s press list of 600+,
   • An e-mail list numbering in the thousands,
   • Included in a special e-blast devoted to the 2016 Excellence on the Waterfront award winners.
Entering is simple: a two-page narrative that addresses judging criteria and 20 images. That is all that is required! Additional information such as articles, endorsement by local officials, additional photos are welcome. Full details and entry form on our Web site HERE
 An interdisciplinary jury of varied geography and city sizes will convene in Cape May, N.J., in July. They will spend a full day-and-half reviewing the entries and selecting a limited number of winners. In most years, a Top Honor project and Top Honor plan are picked.
Urban Waterfronts '86 - Finale Presentation
Folksinger Larry Long from Minneapolis leads attendees group round circle in singing "Farewell My Friends". Show left to right: Rick Wiederhorn, then with City of St. Paul, unidentified woman , Breen and Rigby.
Center Board meeting aboard Bargemusic, below the Brooklyn Bridge in 1987
Left to right: the late Olga Bloom, founder of Bargemusic; Ellen Dawson; Chuck Davis, president, EHDD, Barry Hersh, currently at New York University, Doug Sethness, CH2M; Barbara Kauffman, currently Newark Renaissance, Stu Dawson, principal, Sasaki Associates, Watertown, Massachusetts; Michael Krieger, then with the Port Authority NY&NJ, Joe Schachter, Concrete Flotation Systems the late Mickey Murphy, citizen activist and Willem Polak, Potomac Riverboat Company, Alexandria, Virginia. 
CBS Interview Summer, 1994
Dick Rigby and Ann Breen being interviewed for CBS's Sunday Good Morning America show on the Baltimore waterfront. More precisely on a Fells Point Pier. Note the City Pier in the background the location for the TV show Homicide. The building and pier have recently been completely renovated into a spiffy new hotel complex by Under Armour. 
1994 Interdisciplinary Awards Jury in Cape May, NJ
Standing left to right: the Honorable Bill Norrie, then mayor of Winnipeg; Deb Dietsch, then editor of Architecture magazine; the late Barry Young, urban designer, Sydney, Australia, Keimi Harada, architect, Tokyo. Seated left to right: Jennifer Bartlett, staff volunteer, directors Breen and Rigby and staff member Susan Kirk
Clearwater Winners at the 2005 Conference
The Clearwater award is given to grass roots individuals and organizations for their contributions to their waterfronts. The six winners who were on hand in Portland pictured left to right: Kathy Wine, River Action, Inc., Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois, Holly Ewald, Pawtuxet Village Voices & Vistions, Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, Sandy Threlfall, Waterfront Action, Oakland, Calfironia, Marianna Koval, Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition, Mayor Koichi Sueyoshi, Women's Battle for Blue Skies and Clean Water, Kitakyushu, Japan, the late Sylvia McLaughlin, Citizens for East Shore Park, Berkeley, California and Mrs. Sueyoshi. 
25th Anniversay Gala Dinner at Pier 4 on the Boston Harbor
Mr. Fumihiko Tanaka, director, water environment section, Kitakyushu, Pratap Talwar, Thompson & Associates, Boston; Charlotte DeWitt, International Festivals, Boston, Akiko Kinoshita, Owls Ltd., interpreter joined by the Mayor of Kitakyushu and his wife.

April 2018 Newsletter

Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions are now posted HERE
2018 Interdisciplinary Jury
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. She will be joined by Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. 
We encourage those considering entering to visit the website and browse through material about previous winners including the interactive database which give details on the over 400 winners from 1987-2018.
The Waterfront Center
31st Annual Excellence on the Waterfront 
Mini-Conference Awards Ceremony and Reception
Friday, September 21, 2018 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel 
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2018 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception following the ceremony. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2018 Winners 
Friday, September 21, 2018, 7:30 p.m. 
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
The Optional Gala Dinner, immediately following the awards reception at the Churchill Hotel, is held in the historic parlor of the 1927 apartment building across from the hotel. The convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts.
Sign up on the Center's Website. Details to be published in mid-April

Urban Waterfronts Still on a Roll
The urban waterfront phenomenon begun in earnest nearly 40 years ago continues apace – whether new projects or re-dos. Here are some 
articles/links to check out.
Another Chicago Navy Pier Renovation
Navy Pier has long been a fixture on Chicago’s Lakefront and the article “Pier Review” by Zach Mortice, pages 93-109 in the December 2017 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine offers a fulsome history of the 3,300 foot structure as well as detailed account of James Corner Field operations update. The pier has always been a major public space but in the words of Steve Haemmerle, executive director of Navy Pier: “ Public places are living, breathing things, and in order to remain relevant throughout time, they need to adapt and be flexible.” The 1990’s revision added a Ferris Wheel along with a mix of commercial uses and entertainment that gave short shrift to the planned open spaces. This current remake is the “product of careful decluttering as much as it’s a showcase of new space” and is sleeker and provides much more public realm. The article is fully illustrated with photos and diagrams. 
The Navy Pier

The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

The Navy Pier Fountain
The Navy Pier Park
Some background:
See chapter on Navy Pier in The New Waterfront: A Worldwide Urban Success Story by Breen and Rigby, pages 84-87. The renovation preceding the latest one was completed in 1995 at a cost of $150 million. The design team was Thompson and Wood Associates and VOA. 
The biggest splash if you will was the installation of the Ferris Wheel that had historic significance since George Ferris first displayed the amusement ride that now carries his name in 1883 at the Chicago's World's Fair. The six-story Crystal Gardens featuring palm trees was one of the first attractions.
Remembering…….what pier public access looked like in 1995!
Crystal Gardens in 1995
Thirty some years ago things were quite different as you can see from this photo from our files. Well, however rudimentary, at least you could sit, get views the lake, and maybe catch a fish. Shows you how far we have come in the design and execution of our urban waterfronts!!! 
People ask us all the time: “What has changed?”
The Navy Pier in 1985
Major Developments in Dundee, Scotland
Dundee Waterfront, is a massive 1-billion-pound transformation of 593 acres on the River Tay that is the longest river in Scotland. This ambitious project will include all manner of commercial, residential, recreational, tourist developments and major amounts of public realm. 
We urge you to visit their Website to gain an in-depth understanding of the project. There is a fly through of the project HERE.
Dundee Waterfront
Among many exciting developments and plans in the works for the Dundee Waterfront is a new Victoria and Albert Dundee Museum designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, set to open on September 15, 2018. This international center of design will feature Scotland's design heritage for the first time. Besides Scottish Design Galleries, the museum will house touring exhibitions from around the world, temporary exhibitions as well as learning spaces for all ages. 
Victoria and Albert Dundee international center of design
A fly through of the Victoria and Albert Dundee international center of design is shown HERE
Conferences/Events of Note
April 11 - 22, 2018
Baltimore, Maryland
New York, NewYork
May 8, 2018 Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
May 14-17, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan
deadline for hotel Early bird April 13
October 24-25, 2018, Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
Moline, Illinois

Late March 2018 Newsletter

The Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon, 2017 Honor Award
Photo Nate Wyeth, Project Design: Mayer/Reed
31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
Selections made by independent, interdisciplinary jury. Winners receive worldwide publicity and are featured on our interactive Web Site.
DEADLINE for submittals (20 images and two-page narrative) must be postmarked by July 16, 2018. Open to built projects, comprehensive plans and citizen actions as well as students.
See HERE for entry details. Awards announced on Friday, September 21 at afternoon program and ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Optionai awards dinner. Details on Web site.
If you wish to receive our periodic newsletter send an email to: and make the request.

Mid March 2018 Newsletter

A Brilliant Waterfront Opportunity Awaits!!!
Special Field Trip to the Baltimore Festival City Lights
April 13-15, 2018 
A longtime friend and associate of the Waterfront Center has put together a really exciting weekend for those interested in experiencing this spectacular event that won a 2017 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award (check out HERE for more info). 
April 13-15, 2018
Baltimore, Maryland
Pictured: Peacock by Tim Scofield & Kyle Miller with Steve Dalnekoff & Will Cocks.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Whitman
Charlie the Peacock will host a Behind the Scenes field trip to the third annual Light City Baltimore Festival April 13-15. The festival is America’s only large-scale international light and ideas festival.
For waterfront specialists, Light City re-imagines the waterfront into a premier cultural destination: fully accessible, free and open to all. The festival, running April 14-21, is the perfect marriage of cutting edge artistic installations utilizing the latest lighting technology set against the backdrop of Baltimore’s beautifully restored Inner Harbor. Neighborhood Lights installations April 6-8 and Labs@Light City innovation conferences April 18-21 act as bookends to the festival.
According to Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), in just its second year, Light City 2017 attracted nearly 500,000 nighttime visitors, generated $44 million in economic impact, and created one billion media impressions for Baltimore. Conceptualized in 2015 to shed a “light” on all the amazing cultural, artistic, and community assets that define the city in the aftermath of the tragic death of Freddie Gray in May 2015, Light City is an extraordinary testament to the transformative, healing powers of light as a way of bringing people together in a secure, celebratory setting.
  86% of visitors said they felt safe during the festival;
  88% felt it changes perceptions of Baltimore; and
  91% would recommend friends and family visit Light City.
Click HERE to see Baltimore’s powerpoint presentation at The Waterfront Center’s 2017 Excellence on the Waterfronts awards ceremony.
Light, innovation, and ideas
Special arrangements for Waterfront Center participants include VIP credentials to the festival and hospitality areas, including an invitation to a private preview event on Friday, April 13th at Light City Baltimore’s VIP Artists’ Reception and Media Preview Party from 5-7 p.m., followed by the final, full dress rehearsal of the light installations from 8-10 p.m., courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, producers of Light City Baltimore.
 VIP Venue is Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21202, with validated parking at the hotel for those driving.
The opening night parade is Saturday, April 14, with informal walking tours and discussions on April 14 and 15. Twenty-one light artists were commissioned by an international jury at a cost of $2million to create light installations for the festival and to work with local artists to create “Neighborhood Lights” displays during the week prior to the festival.
  We have a block of discounted hotel rooms (closing soon) and special hotel packages, as well as validated parking at Pier 5 Hotel for those driving.
For further information
Behind the Scenes of Light City Baltimore is produced by Charlotte DeWitt, CFEE, President of International Events, Boston. Email: Cell: +1 617 513-5696.
Charlotte is Past-Chair of the International Festivals and Events Association, and founder/past-President-CEO of IFEA Europe. She is a member of the IFEA Hall of Fame, the industry’s highest honor.
Limited space!
Please pre-register by Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
Confirmation details and an updated program will be send upon registration.
There is no cost to register.
Participants are responsible for their own travel, hotel accommodations, and meals.
In an effort to provide a positive experience for all,
Light City is a fully accessible event, regardless of ability.
Light City Field Trip at a Glance
Pictured: Elantica by Tom Dekyvere. Photo courtesy of Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Artists’ Reception and Media preview party
Courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts
4:30PM Registration 5-7PM Program 8-10PM Final Dress Rehearsal
Light City VIP Lounge
Pier 5 Hotel
711 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202
Limited space.
Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 4, 2018, to
April 14-15, 2018
Light City Opening Night Parade April 14
Informal walking tours and discussions TBA

Late February 2018 Newsletter

Urban Waterfront 2018 - Yuma
Powerpoint Presentations Now on the Web!
If you missed the conference altogether or were there and missed some presentations because you were attending another panel, Stewart has secured the material and placed it on the web. They can be seen HERE. The conference was highly informative including an in-depth exploration of the Colorado River and presentations from a variety of speakers from around the U.S.
Book of Note
Visualizing the Universe: Athena Tacha's Proposals
for Public Art Commissions - 1972-2012
Artist Athena Tacha is a longtime friend of the Waterfront Center who helped us put together our first public art panel in 1984. At the time despite the star power (Robert Irwin, Siah Armajani and herself) it drew very few attendees as the topic was quite new. When we repeated an art panel in 1997 in Baltimore that included Athena, the room was packed. Today public art in its many guises is not so novel any more, enriching the world around us. 
Visualizing the Universe is an exhaustive history of the Athena's proposals as a finalist for 139 permanent public art commissions including the 45 that she won. This book gives insights into the world of public art competitions, commissions and indeed the whole realm of public art. One can see and read about works that were never built, were built and destroyed as well as ones that survive. The text is greatly enhanced by color photographs and drawings. 
In 1970 Athena articulated her two basic principles for her art:
" -To render perceptible the rhythms of energy and after that I sense within the visible universe, from the macro to the micro levels. 
- To execute my sculpture in public spaces, making it available to everybody to experience."  
Visualizing the Universe. Edited by Richard E. Spear. Grayson Publishing. 2017.
Plastics Penance
Whether you are a Lenten observer or not, the Church of England put out the suggestion of giving up plastic instead of sweets or other more typical practices. Given our mission to promote cleaner water, this change in habit might be a good thing year-round. See: "What to Give Up for Lent" by Richard Perez-Pena in the February 15, 2018 New York Times.
Collecting Plastic Waste
Incidentally, as Washingtonians, we do know that the 5-cent charge for plastic grocery bags put into practice here has made a major change and helped the Anacostia River.
Conference/Events of Note
May 8, 2018 Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
May 14-17, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids Michigan
October 24-25, 2018, Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
Moline, Illinois

February 2018 Newsletter

The Waterfront Center 31stAnnual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception 
Friday, September 21, 2018 12:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel 1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2018 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception following the ceremony. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2018 Winners 
7:30 p.m. 2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
The Optional Gala Dinner, immediately following the awards reception at the Churchill Hotel, is held in the historic parlor of the 1927 apartment building across from the hotel. The convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. 
Awards Gala Dinner 2016
Sign up on the Center's Website: Details to be published in late February.
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions are now posted HERE
2018 Interdisciplinary Jury
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. She will be joined by Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.
We encourage those considering entering to visit the website and browse through material about previous winners including the interactive database which give details on the over 400 winners from 1987-2018.
Urban Waterfronts 2018 - Snapshots from our 33rd Conference
The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Corporation, our co-hosts, pulled out all the stops for this waterfront gathering held in this sunniest of cities. Our thanks once again to Charlie Flynn and his dedicated and talented staff - not to mention his wife, Ann who volunteered, for all their hard work to make this a very memorable event.
Charlie Flynn and Ann Walker
Wednesday evening's a pre-workshop networking social featured delicious drinks and dinner was held in the 1909 repurposed old St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Delegates attending the Thursday field trip got a full briefing of the remarkable achievements along the Colorado River in Yuma (see awards database and previous newsletters to see images) and a bus ride out for a site visit to the Imperial Dam.
Imperial Dam Tour
Tour wound up with date shakes at the Imperial Date Gardens -- a revelation for many that Yuma has Medjool date farms! 
The social events were spectacular! Thursday evening we watched the sunset from the historic Territorial Prison yard followed by a most incredible dinner in the Cell Blocks!
Dinner at the Territorial Prison
Friday, attendees were treated to a very special Mexican Fiesta with margaritas, music, dancing and great food.
Fiesta Dancers
Balancing all the fun, the program itself featured wonderful speakers sharing their expertise. The keynote speaker, Anne Castle, former assistant secretary for Water and Science at the US Department of the Interior, enlightened us about the intricacies of the Colorado River's water supply and flow.
Ann Castle
Mary Miss, artist and founder City as Living Laboratory, delivered a thought provoking finale presentation beginning with her work at Battery Park City, touching on waterfront pieces elsewhere and winding up with her more recent interactive endeavors in Indianapolis and Milwaukee. See her web site to see the full range of her work. 
Mary Miss at the Cell Block dinner
Over 15 presentations covered the many facets of Colorado River as well as speakers dealing with an array of waterfront issues from other parts of the country. The power points from these sessions will be posted on the Center's website.
Co-directors Rigby and Breen shown here at the Fiesta wish you had been there. Think about joining us September 21 in Washington for the Awards event!
Dick Rigby and Ann Breen

January 2018 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
The 33rd Annual International Conference
Yuma, Arizona
January 26-27, 2018
Join us in sunny Yuma where the temperature will be more like 72 not 15 pictured above. Working with Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area staff, we think we have pulled together a dynamite educational and social program. You'll learn a lot and meet wonderful fellow professionals working on waterfronts.
Bone Up on the Colorado River and the West
Charlie Flynn, executive director of Yuma Crossing has pulled together three panels for the conference that will illuminate the varied and complex issues and challenges involved with this storied river. To get in the mood, you might want to go the your library or bookstore and get a hold of one or more of the following. 
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River by John Owen, author and New Yorker contributor. 
Quoting the book reviewer, David Biello in the May 28, 2017 NYT Book Review: 
"The waterways of the west now exist as monuments to an ambitious desert civilization. Across the vast region of America, few, if any rivers flow without hosting one or more dams, concrete channels, diversions or other human-made "improvements" that allow people and farming to flourish in this dry country. And few, if any, rivers reveal this unnatural world more than the Colorado, which no longer reaches the sea or carries along its entire 1,450 mile-length much of the reddish silt that inspired its name."

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reinhart - a classic book from 1986 which remains the definitive work on the West and its water problems.
Water is Worth Fighting Over by John Fleck, a water reporter who documents the ongoing struggles between the various factions.
If you are attending the workshop on Thursday, January 26, you'll get a first hand look at Yuma's Award-winning riverfront and drive through some spectacular scenery to reach the Imperial Dam.  
Perusing Periodicals - Some Articles of Note
The Winter 2017 issue of Nature Conservancy has several very informative pieces that point up the important work of non-profits like the Nature Conservancy. Given the current rollbacks on environmental regulation and funding, these groups need support more than ever. 
"Winds of Change" Following years of careful planning to protect birds, bats, marine wildlife and fishing, wind turbines operated by Deepwater Wind have been placed off the coast of Rhode Island providing renewable energy to homes on Block Island. 
"The California Effect" by Brendan Borrell. California's cap-and-trade program is supporting scores of conservation project from Virginia to Alaska, providing funding for forests and other projects that sequester carbon or reduce ozone-depleting substances. The article provides a useful map illustrating where the number of projects around the country that are earning credits for reducing carbon. While the U.S. government is backing away from climate commitments, states are stepping up, none more profoundly than California. 
• "Greater Lakes - a $2 billion collaboration between farmers, conservationists and governments aims to repair the largest flowing freshwater system on earth," by Amy Crawford. This well-illustrated article documents the history of diminishment and pollution of the lakes and rivers that flow into them. While pollution was reduced after the 1972 Clean Water Act but the lakes were then plagued with invasive species brought in by seagoing vessels. Since 2010 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, backed with major funding and administered by the EPA and other federal programs, as well as state, local and non-profit entities like the Nature Conservancy, aims to continue to reduce pollution, restore wetlands and reduce agricultural runoff among other projects. Given the importance the Great Lakes economically and environmentally to the eight states and one Canadian province that touch their shores, this program is extremely important to put it mildly. In March of 2017, the White House budget proposal set out to eliminate funding for the initiative and slash EPA's overall budget by a third. Not surprisingly the proposed cuts are being met with bi-partisan opposition. (Go to the web and search Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to learn latest developments e.g. funding for 2017 was preserved. The real challenge will be 2018). 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
The 2018 Interdisciplinary Jury:
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York, Jury Chair
Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina
Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. 
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018.

Mid December 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture
January 26-27, Yuma Arizona
 Visit HERE for complete information and registration
Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. When calling make your reservation at the front desk as they know about group rates. 
Social and Networking Opportunities. Our co-hosts have gone out of their way to provide some very special venues. Thursday night we'll have a catered dinner in a repurposed old church. On Thursday night we will dine in the old cell block area of the Yuma Territorial Prison. Friday night, a full-fledged Mexican Fiesta awaits at a former warehouse in the Historic Quartermaster's Depot (now renamed the Colorado River Historic State Park) a short walk from the conference center. Back in 1864 all far flung military posts at the traced their roots to this base in Yuma. 
The bookstore at the Depot carries a fascinating read: Vanished Arizona: Revelations of the Army Life of a New England Woman by Martha Summerhayes. This amazing story recounted by an Army wife details her experiences during the 1870s in Arizona. She paints a vivid picture of the harsh climate, rattle snakes, cactus thorns, white desperadoes among many other hardships and makes one appreciate how extremely difficult life was in the frontier-military West. 
A Closer Look at Yuma's Riverfront
Earlier this year, we sent an e-letter showing various aspects of this incredible restoration of 400 acres. 
While touring the parks, we noted what that little extra in the budget can do toward design details that can make a difference in 'placemaking.' Below are some examples of things to look out for when you tour the parks, Thursday, January 25th. 
One of many park benches found throughout the parks, the design is straightforward, easily maintained, sturdy and the logo makes it distinctive. 
Park Benches and Lights
Interpretive signs are found scattered throughout. This one depicts what once was the blighted "City Dump' that now has been transformed into a 110-acre riverfront park.
Sign Showing Former City Dump
So often public restrooms are cinderblock monoliths. Anyone who has seen our visual presentations knows how we like to point out imaginative examples. Note the interesting, sculpted ironwork at the entrance to this restroom.
Restroom Entrance
This year's awards winners featured not one but two bridges, one in Memphis and one in Fort Worth see HERE to learn more.
Here in Yuma, a pedestrian bridge receives an extra artistic boost.
Yuma Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian Bridge Detail
Gates installed to keep vehicles from coming and going when not appropriate usually look like something found along a highway: steel and sturdy, nothing to write home about. How refreshing to discover these somewhat nature-inspired portals.
Traffic Control Gates
Given the Arizona climate in Yuma, throughout the park are a number of what they call 'rarmadas' that provide shade, tables and in some cases barbecues. ( "Ramada' was a new term to us that translates to an arbor or porch to provide shade usually found on beaches or picnic grounds.) Below are examples found around the community fishing lake. Here again note the artful touch in the tile. 
Lakeshore Ramada
Ramada Interior

Fish on Ramada Tiles
Man on Ramada Tiles
A ramada with children's play area is a popular spot along the Colorado.
Ramada with Chidren's Play Area
Dick pauses at this handsome rest stop to look out towards the river. 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018.
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. To date she will be joined by Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina, Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
Awards Ceremony, mini-conference, reception and gala dinner will take place September 21, 2018 at The Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC. The dinner will be held at 2101 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Registration and more information will be posted on the website in January. 

Early December 2017 Newsletter

Remember the Center - Make a Year-End Donation
As you consider your year-end giving, we hope you will keep the Waterfront Center in mind. Every little bit helps. This year we will be holding our 33rd international conference in January; conducting our 31st Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program including the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner on September 21, 2018. For the last several years we have been giving all the winners a free admission to the ceremony, reception and dinner which adds to the festivity but also to the bottom line. We continue to update our databases, doing an inventory of our image collection and of course issuing periodic e-letters. Thanks to all our past supporters! Send your check to: The Waterfront Center, PO Box 53351, Washington, DC 20009 or give us a call at 202 337 0356 and we can take your credit card information over the phone.
Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus First Hand
2007 Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winner
Over Thanksgiving trying to avoid crowds in tourist attractions or the Black Friday mobs, we suggested to my cousins a field trip to the Philadelphia Navy Yard. We all ventured down to this 1,200-acre site proceeded through the gate and past the stately homes and passed many impressive office buildings till we came upon the huge industrial brick buildings - not to mention all the gigantic mothballed vessels. Our main agenda was to take a look at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus, the work of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle based in Minneapolis. Of course we had seen images from the awards submittal but the reality exceeded our expectations and we want to return to see more of the Navy Yard and be able to take photos when the sunlight is not doing its early winter fade. The imaginative adaptive reuse of the massive structures and the creative celebration of the industrial heritage and artifacts are striking. 
Below are glimpses of parts of the extensive public realm:
Logo and old storage tank
One of many pathways. Note the reused rubble used as a bioswale to capture the rainwater.
Note echoes of the rail lines and the handsome plantings.
What appears to be a storage shed or maybe it's a "folly" of some kind reuses old wood and corrugated metal.
"Ballast benches," and reused paving amidst the landscaping.
The entrance to building 543 boasts an old black and yellow artifact.
As one approaches building 543 that houses offices, work spaces, a cafeteria open to the public, a fitness center, and a cafe we caught a glimpse through one of large windows of what looked like shimmering water. In reality, once inside, we discovered it to be a wall covered with glimmering discs - in effect a stunning "water wall" with the atrium off to the right and retained rail lines.
'Water Wall'
Another view of the "water wall" and more ballast.
The very large atrium space is broken up with the cafe and seating; conference style tables and seating; small pools that echo the nearby river with cube seating and a small art exhibition space separated from the cafeteria by scrim screens.
Atrium cafe
Atrium tables
Scrim screens
The cafeteria scene in the late afternoon light affords views out onto the waterfront including the breathtaking sight of an aircraft carrier.
Views from the cafeteria
We only wished we had not run out of time and light to take in more of this extraordinary campus that has preserved and recycled five handsome historic buildings. Kudos to all involved in the vision and execution of this remarkable place. We urge you to visit our interactive awards database found on our web HERE, type in "Urban Outfitters" and you can read lots more. 
Meet Some Winners during Urban Waterfronts 33
January 26 - 27, Yuma, Arizona
Urban Waterfronts 33 is shaping up to be a really interesting event that will include a number of Excellence on the Waterfront winners apart from the fact that Yuma's riverfront itself was a winner. Last e-letter we profiled Fred Phillips. We'd like to introduce more in future e-letters.
Carol Mayer-Reed of Mayer-Reed, Portland, Oregon 
Carol Mayer-Reed and her firm Mayer-Reed, Portland, Oregon received an award in 1987 -- the first year of the awards program -- for Sellwood Riverfront Park combining park space, wetlands and a flood-able beach. Her firm also won in 2001 for the Eastbank Esplanade that includes a remarkable floating walkway that opened up access to the east side of the river across from the downtown enabling the public to do a loop. She will be speaking on Friday afternoon relating the past, present and future of Portland's waterfronts.
Sellwood Riverfront Park
Eastbank Esplanade
Hotel cut-off is December 25! Call Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. You need to make these reservations through the front desk not "reservations."
Register for the Yuma Conference HERE
Awards Deadline and Ceremony
AWARDS DEADLINE: JULY 16, 2018. Watch the Website in January for details. Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, 2018 Jury Chair. 

Next year's Awards Ceremony, Reception and Gala Dinner will be September 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. We will return to the Churchill Hotel for the awards ceremony and reception and hold the dinner at 2101 Connecticut Avenue. More information and registration will be posted on the web site in early January.

November 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 2018
33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture

January 26-27, Yuma Arizona
The conference offers a unique opportunity to experience two very different tracks. One track concentrates on the many issues surrounding the past and future of the Colorado River. The second track has speakers from around the country who will address resiliency broadly defined and case studies tracing the history and future in Baltimore, Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia. Visit HERE for complete information and registration

Hilton Garden Inn. A block of rooms has been set aside for conference attendees at Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Colorado River. A special room rate of $139 will be available until December 25, 2017. Make your reservations to assure this offer by calling 928 783 1500 and mentioning the Waterfront Conference to receive the rate. The hotel is next door to the Pivot Point Conference where sessions will be held. The hotel has an attractive lobby, bar and restaurant as well as a pool area. 

Social and Networking Opportunities. Our co-hosts have gone out of their way to provide some very special venues. Wednesday night we'll have a catered dinner in a repurposed old church. On Thursday night we will dine in the old cell block area of the Yuma Territorial Prison. (If you are an aficionado of old Westerns, the prison gets lots of mention in the film 3:10 to Yuma - worth another viewing to get you in the mood). Friday night, a full fledged Mexican Fiesta awaits at a former warehouse in the Historic Quartermaster's Depot (now renamed the Colorado River Historic State Park) a short walk from the conference center. Back in 1864 all far flung military posts at the time traced their roots to this base in Yuma. Most registration fees are inclusive, so no add-ons for the dinners and receptions. 
Excellence on the Waterfront 2018 Awards Program
Deadline for Submittals: July 16, 2018
Donna Walcavage
Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York will be this year's jury chair. To date she will be joined by Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Parks and Recreation, Greenville, North Carolina and Michael Sripiprasert, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Two additional juror have been invited and will be announced on the Website. 
Forms and instructions will be posted in early 2018
2014 Honor Award Winner Fred Phillips
Featured in October 2017 Landscape Architecture Magazine
Fred Phillips
Fred Phillips and his Flagstaff, Arizona landscape architecture firm specializing in wetland restoration won an Excellence on the Waterfront award for their work in Yuma, Arizona where 1,400 acres were restored to become Yuma East Wetlands as well as Quechan Sunrise Park. Fred will be one of the presenters at our upcoming 33rd annual international conference in Yuma in January. Participants will also hear about and see the result of the work along the Colorado River during the all-day workshop and field trip.
Bangka Island Tin Mines
In the October issue of LAM readers can learn about his newest project working to reclaim the enormous degraded landscape left by the tin mining industry. "What Will It Take to Make Indonesian Tin Miners Stewards of the Land?"by Brian Barth.
 The story describes how Apple hired Phillips to undertake a 125-acre restoration pilot project for turning illegal tin miners into eco-friendly farmers. Wet, tropical places such as found on Bangka Island allow dense, multistory plantings. The plan calls for starting with nonfood crops moving to more diversity as time goes by and the biological activity increases. Phillips thinks the reason Apple hired him is that they heard of his experiences getting people with diverse backgrounds talking to each other. 
Bangka Island Tin Mines
Center Friends Recognized
Rod Marler, director design + place, Panuku Development, Auckland was honored to receive the New Zealand Property Council's "People in Property" award in recognition of his leadership of the Wynyard Quarter project. Many may recall that Waterfront Auckland (predecessor to Panuku Development) won top honor for a major component of Wynyard Quarter: Jellicoe St, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park in 2012. The Wynyard Centeral Integrated Development Plan was honored by the Center Jury in 2015. Rod has also made presentations in Washington and the Quad Cities for conferences held there. 
Rod and his wife Fiona accepting the award. 
Kathy Wine, executive director, River Action, Inc., Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois received the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's Hagie Heritage Award in Davenport, November 1, 2017.

Kathy is one of the featured speaker at our upcoming conference in Yuma.
Kathy Wine
Terri Goodman, assistant City Manager of Dubuque, who nominated Kathy said of her: "Kathy Wine is a bold visionary and tenacious leader who invites the community to embrace the Mississippi River and its habitat by creating options for residents and visitors alike to touch the mighty Mississippi through bike trails, interpretative centers, reclamation of natural spaces, public design practices, art, education and economics," 
Wine and River Action’s work to connect the Quad Cities community to the Mississippi River promotes improved water quality and environmental education. They've done a variety of projects, including their initial start lighting the Centennial Bridge that connects the downtowns of Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois. Kathy has worked tirelessly on their "Retain the Rain Program," paving miles of riverfront trails for biking, financed water taxis for the river, helped to acquire Nahant's Marsh and organize the Upper Mississippi River Conference that helps to get high school and college students involved as well.
Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Our friends at the Foundation under the leadership of our long-time supporter Arthur Ziegler are receiving a Richard P. Driehaus Preservation Award the the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference in Chicago. The jury recognized the foundation's strenuous efforts undertaking the Hamnett Place project in the Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania neighborhood whose deteriorated buildings have been revitalized to accommodate low-to-moderate income facilities. The neighborhood is also home to the rehabbed building that serves as a hub for wide-ranging educational programming. Visit for more information. 
Arthur Ziegler

October 2017 Newsletter

Urban Waterfronts 33
January 25-27, 2018, Yuma Arizona
Plan to join us for this waterfront gathering. Full details and registration available on line HERE
Postcard from Seattle 
Pike Place Market's Splendid New Addition
     Quoting from the dust jacket of the book, The Pike Place Market: People, Politics, and Produce by Alice Shorett and Murray Morgan: "The market is Seattle's favorite institution. Annually it draws more people than do sporting events or cultural events or the movies. Among American markets, it has a reputation comparable to those of Les Halles in Paris and Covent Garden in London. The difference is that it has survived." This book published in 1982 is a remarkable history of the area but also the story of how people fought hard to save the market from urban renewal and succeeded. It can still be purchased through Amazon along with another called The Soul of the City by the same authors to mark the centennial of the market. A trip to Seattle always includes a trek to this fabulous and funky rabbit warren of a Market. 
     For those who have never been these photos will give a hint of the flavor of the beloved place including the famous fishmongers who throw the fish around and but one of the many fruit and vegetable stalls.
Pike Place Market
     Our main reason for going this trip was to see the new addition first hand. Dubbed MarketFront, this $74 million addition has given residents and visitors - for the first time - a chance to step outside and relish the vistas of the Puget Sound and Elliot Bay with the mountains behind as well the new Ferris wheel on the waterfront. The addition was designed by Miller Hull of Seattle. Miller Hull won a 2004 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award for Northwest Maritime Demonstration Dock in Port Townsend. For more detailed information on the MarketFront see HERE.

MarketFront Top Deck

     The big metal piggy bank has long been a landmark of the Market. Shown below are the original sculpture as well as the new one. Obviously a popular photo op. There are slots to contribute to the Pike Place Market Foundation. And the little "hoofprints" memorialize donors.

           Old Pig                                                                       New Pig                        
Along that same vein of paying tribute to contributors is a the very clever "Charm Fence." The circular charms shimmer, inscribed with donor names, shine and dance in the wind making delightful patterns on the paving.

Charm Fence
      The top deck has a handsome glassed in area to house market stalls while affording gorgeous views. Wide steps along the front provide a great place to eat a sandwich or just enjoy the warm October sun as Dick is doing. 

Top Deck Glassed In Area                               Dick Enjoying the Sun

    Enhancing the whole experience is a rooftop garden with a variety of grasses and plants.

Rooftop Garden                                                   Rooftop Planting

     Murals celebrating the fruits and veggies add a whimsical, colorful touch.

Roofto p Murals                                                   Mural Details

     The new addition as seen from two vantage points. One showing the old neon signage and shelter on the street and the other shows entrance to parking garage with 300 new spaces.

                  Old Neon Sign                                    Entrance to Parking Garage         

First Hand News from Detroit
     This news just in from our board member and Detroit boosterHarriet Saperstein. Rather than paraphrase I quote her here.  

     "On October 16, Detroit REAL (Riverfront East Alliance)"closed out" its organization, by using their remaining bank-account funds to make a contribution to the Riverfront Conservancy, and in turn they have posted a permanent plaque on a tree along the Riverwalk.
     Since REAL won a well-deserved Clearwater Award in 2003 from the Waterfront Center, I thought you might want to know about this closure and this very brief update on some of the activities underway. I do not think we would be where we are today without REAL's community organizing and support." 

     Pictured below are Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest and a group photo including Harriet (in the red shirt) and her husband Al in the red hat.

Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest                                      REAL Group Photo   
     "Just a few of those involved in the early days could attend, but two of the crucial founding members, Carol Weisfeld and Dan Wiest, had prepared some materials and brought a bit of sparkling cider to toast and say farewell to the project, and to celebrate its success. We do not have casinos on the riverfront; we do have an effective responsive public/private Detroit Riverfront Conservancy; Milliken State Park (expanding and improving St. Aubin Park and Marina) is in place and may be expanding; the Dequindre Cut, a bicycle-pedestrian rail/trail conversion now connects the Riverfront to Eastern Market all the way to Mack Avenue (with hopes that it will go further); Lafayette Park's Miles van der Rohe housing is protected as a Historic District; extensive new housing is underway in the East Riverfront area! In addition, plans with extensive community input are underway for further park connections eastward to Belle Isle, (including a "Beach"), and (at last!) new possibilities for controlled and responsible community oriented developments are being planned for the West Riverfront, now that the massive Newspaper "printing plant" is gone!" 

     Note that the the Detroit Conservancy won an Honor Award in 2015 from the Waterfront Center.
JULY 16, 2018

Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York will be the jury chair.
Details and entry forms will be posted on the Website later this year.

Mid August 2017 Newsletter

Program and Speakers Finalized 
 September 8 Awards Ceremony and Mini-Conference
 The Waterfront Center’s 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Awards Conference, Ceremony, Reception and Gala Dinner
Friday, September 8, 2017
Awards Conference The Churchill Hotel , 1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Gala Dinner, 2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
1:00 Registration
1:30 Welcome Remarks 
1: 45 Demonstration of the Excellence on the Waterfront Interactive Database
        Stewart McKenzie, Webmeister, The Waterfront Center

2:00 About Urban Waterfronts 2018, the Center’s 33rd Annual International Conference in Yuma, Arizona
2:30 Announcement of 2017 Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Awards with presentations by the winners about their projects. 
       William Wenk, principal, William Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, jury chair presiding 
2017 Awards and Presenters
Clearwater Citizen Award
• Mike Houck, executive director, Urban Greenspace Institute, Portland, Oregon. Presenting: Steve Durrant, Alta Planning + Design, Portland, Oregon
Honor Awards - Projects
• Infra-Space 1, Boston, Massachusetts. 
Presenting:  Dan Adams, Landing Studio, Somerville, Massachusetts
• Light City, Baltimore, Maryland. 
Presenting:  Ashley Molese and Kathy Hornig, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts 
• Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon. Bend
Presentng:  Carol Mayer-Reed, Mayer-Reed Inc., Portland, Oregon
• Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
Presenting:  Marion Pressley, Pressley Associates Inc., Boston, Massachusetts 
• Principal Riverwalk Pavilion, Des Moines, Iowa. 
Invited: Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, Des Moines, Iowa
• Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge, Fort Worth, Texas
 Presenting: Nadia Westcott, Rosales + Partners,  Boston, Massachusetts
Honor Awards - Plans
• Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park.  
Presenting:  Cal Brook, Brook McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
• Tar River Legacy Plan, Greenville. North Carolina.  
Presenting: Ron Sessoms, Rhodeside & Harwell, Alexandria 
• Big River Crossing, Memphis, Tennessee
Presenting: Virginia McLean, Friends For Our Riverfront and Representative Steve Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee
6:30    Champagne Reception
8:00     Gala Dinner honoring the 2017 Winners and the 30th Anniversary of the Awards Program
The 33rd International Conference
on Waterfront Planning Development and Culture
 January 25-27, 2018, Yuma, Arizona, Hilton Gardens Hotel
 Preconference Workshop – Thursday January 25
Conference – January 26-27
Sponorsored by
The Waterfront Center
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area

Early August 2017 Newsletter

Announcing the 2017 Award Winners!

    The Waterfront Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront Awards program. As usual there is a range of geography and type of project. We are looking forward to an exciting awards ceremony and program at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Visit HERE for more information and sign-up forms. 
    CAPE MAY, New Jersey – The 2017 ‘EXCELLENCE ON THE WATERFRONT’ awards program, organized by the non-profit Waterfront Center of Washington, District of Columbia., for the past 30 years, recognized seven built projects and two plans. The jury, led by  Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, met for a day-and-a-half at Congress Hall in this seaside resort.
    Winners will be recognized at an Awards Ceremony on September 8 in Washington, District of Columbia, followed by a reception and dinner. Each entrant will be given 20 minutes to describe their entry, usually with a power point illustration.

 • Big River Crossing, submitted by Friends of Our River, Memphis, Tennessee. Entrant: Charles McVean, McVean Trading and Investments LLC, and co-entrant, Harry Pratt, Allen & Hosall, both Memphis.
Owner/developer Robert Knecht, City of Memphis, and Paul Luker, Crittenden County,  Arkansas.

Honor Awards/Projects in alphabetical order.

• Infra-Space 1, Boston, Massachusetts. Submitted by Dan Adams and Marie Law Adams, Landing Studio, Somerville, Massachusetts., and Robin Blatt-Eisengart, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Boston.
• Light City, Baltimore, Maryland. Submitted by Ashley Molese, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and Bill Cole, Baltimore Development Corporation, both Baltimore.
• Old Mill District, Bend, Oregon. Submitted by Bill Smith, Old Mill District, Bend, and Carol Mayer-Reed, Mayer-Reed Inc., Portland, both Oregon.
• Point State Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Submitted by Marion Pressley, Pressley Associates Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, and John P. Jaskolka, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,  Prospect, Pennsylvania.
• Principal Riverwalk Pavilion, Des Moines, Iowa. Submitted by Paul Mankins, substancearchitecture (cq), and Pam Cooksey, City of Des Moines Engineering Department, both Des Moines, Iowa.
• Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge, Fort Worth, Texas, Submitted by Miguel Rosales, Rosales + Partners,  Boston, Massachusetts., and Stacey Pierce, Streams and Valleys, Fort Worth, Texas.

Honor Awards/Plans, in alphabetical order

 • Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park.  Submitted by Cal Brook, Brook McIlroy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Stirling L. W. Todd, The Regional Municipality of Halton, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
• Tar River Legacy Plan, Greenville. North Carolina.  Submitted by Ron Sessoms, Rhodeside & Harwell, Alexandria, Lamarco Morrison, City of Greenville Recreation and Parks, Greenville, North Carolina.

                                                           Clearwater Award

• Mike Houck, Urban Green Spaces Institute, Portland, Oregon
 2017 Jury
 • Bill Wenk,  principal, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado.
• Thomas Corcoran, president (retired), Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
• Phillip Musegass, vice president, programs and litigation, Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Washington, District of Columbia
• Donna Walcavage, principal, Stantec, New York, New York
• Michael Zaleski, president and CEO, Riverfront Recapture Inc., Hartford, Connecticut.
Urban Waterfronts 2018:

Water: The Defining Force – Challenges for the 21st Century

33rd Annual International Conference
on Urban Waterfront Planning
January 25 -27, 2018
Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center
Yuma, Arizona
    We are working full speed ahead with our colleagues in Yuma to put together a dynamite Urban Waterfront 2018, the 33rd gathering of those involved in waterfront work. A printed brochure will be mailed in early September and more detailed information will be posted on both the Waterfront Center's and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area's web sites soon thereafter.

July 2017 Newsletter

 The Waterfront Center 
30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception 
Friday, September 8, 2017
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
    Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2017 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m. Bill Wenk, Wenk Associates, Denver, Colorado, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee will include conference attendance and the reception.
Gala Dinner Honoring the 2017 Winners 
and Celebrating the 30th  Anniversary of the Awards Program
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
    The Optional Gala Dinner, always a convivial evening will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. 
Sign up form for the Mini-Conference and Gala Dinner found HERE

Sign up form for the Mini-Conference, Gala Dinner, Publicity, and Donation found HERE

 Leaf Litter:"Restoring Ecology on the Urban Waterfront"
    Leaf Litter, the electronic newsletter produced by the firm Biohabitats  has just published a must read issue for anyone involved in waterfront planning, development and culture. The newsletter can be seen HERE.
    The issue is chock full of ideas about sustainability and the public realm along the water's edge and is amply and  beautifully illustrated. (The entire issue is full of good information but most interesting for our readers will probably be the the case examples which include extensive information.)
    The Waterfront Seattle Program including the very innovative Seawall Project and shoreline walkways.
Seattle Seawall transparent panels in walkway
Allow light to pass to water below
Seattle Shoreline Walkway

Seattle Shoreline Walkway
    Toronto's waterfront efforts including storm water and shoreline restoration efforts including the handsome WaveDecks that take people out over the water and created fish habitats using root ball, logs and other shelter producing materials. 
Toronto Waterfront Wavedeck
Toronto Waterfront Wavedeck
    Baltimore has never rested on its laurels and has made great ecological strides through the installation of floating wetlands, upgrading the Aquarium's campus, including introduction of underwater habitats, Biohuts. And of course there is the Excellence on the Waterfront top honor winner, the Water Wheel.
Baltimore Floating Wetlands
Baltimore Floating Wetlands
    Detroit continues its decades-old efforts to reclaim the riverfront (Excellence on the Waterfront award-winner in 2014. In keeping with the other cities described above, the city has joined the resiliency bandwagon and is restoring riparian wetlands, installing soft shoreline, reclaiming wetlands and provided public realm.
Detroit Waterfront Restoration

Detroit Milliken State Park
    Ann Breen was approached by editor, Amy Nelson, and had a delightful morning being interviewed by her. She generously profiled the Center and our work. Part of this profile discusses our upcoming conference in Yuma see below.
See the Waterfront Center profile HERE
 Urban Waterfronts 2018
The 33rd Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture
 sponsored by
The Waterfront Center and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
January 27-29, 2018
Yuma, Arizona
      Not your everyday waterfront conference venue as some have noted, but we are very excited about gathering the waterfront world  in Yuma at the Hilton Gardens Inn and Pivot Point Conference Center hard by the Colorado River. 
    We are busy assembling our speakers for two concurrent panels that will run Friday and Saturday morning. 
The conference will be bookended by keynote speakers and we will conclude Friday afternoon with a taste of the Excellence on the Waterfront Award Winners. 
    A pre-conference event will start on Wednesday evening with a get-acquainted dinner in a converted, historic church and Thursdays offerings include: Briefing and Walking Tour of  Gateway Park and the Yuma East Wetlands, a 400-acre wetlands restoration which is considered a model for restoration in the desert Southwest; a Tour of the Yuma West Wetlands, a 110-acre riverfront park converted from the City’s landfill! and a visit to the Imperial Dam, an engineering marvel where nearly 90% of the remaining water in the Colorado River is diverted, mostly to California.
    Details and registration will be placed on our website in the near future. 

June 2017 Newsletter

June 30, 2017 - 
Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline
 Three Weeks to Go!!!

    Still plenty of time to get your entry or re-entry in the mail. Go to our website HERE to download the forms. 

    Award recipients are recognized on our website in several ways including the interactive database that now features 400+ winners - a waterfront researchers dream tool. 

    Winners are featured in an attractive, illustrated booklet, in press releases and honored at the half-day mini-conference, September 8 and a gala dinner that evening. See below for information and sign up.

   Many of our winners get picked up in magazines and newspapers. Of note in the May 2017 Landscape Architecture Magazine is a major feature on 2012 top honor winner: Jellicoe Street North Waterfront Promenade and Silo Park by Gweneth Leigh (pp 89-105). 
Jellicoe Street, North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park
The Baltimore Trash Eater
     On the lighter side, the cartoon "Arctic Circle" by Alex Hallett depicts our 2015 distinctive top honor winner: Baltimore's Water Wheel. 
Baltimore's Water Wheel, 2015 top honor winner                                              Alex Hallatt's cartoon published in the Boston Globe                               
 The Waterfront Center
30th Annual Excellence on the Waterfront
Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception
 Friday, September 8, 2017
1:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The Churchill Hotel
1914 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.
    Friday afternoon attendees at the mini-conference will hear presentations by the 2017 award winners. The winners will be announced on the Center’s web site in August and the list of speakers posted. They will receive their awards and be feted at a champagne reception at 6:00 p.m. Bill Wenk, principal, Wenk Associates, Inc., Denver, Colorado, this year’s jury chair, will preside. Fee includes conference attendance and the reception.

Gala Dinner Honoring the 2017 Winners and Celebrating the Center’s 30th Awards Program
7:30 p.m.
2101 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
    The Optional Gala Dinner, a festive evening of meeting up with old friends and making new ones, will include a delicious multi-course meal with wine and champagne toasts. The event takes place in an historic apartment building built in 1928, within a very short walk from the Churchill Hotel.
    Sign up form for the Mini-Conference, Awards Ceremony and Reception can be found HERE.

May 2017 Newsletter

 Waterfront Center Celebrates 36th Birthday
and the 30th Annual Awards Program
33rd Annual International Conference

    The Waterfront Center was founded on May 1, 1981, almost 4 decades ago and we pause to thank everyone who has supported us over all these years. Plus we want to also acknowledge the people from all over the globe we have met at our conferences and in our consulting practice. We hope many of you will join us in Yuma, Arizona for our 33rd international conference on waterfront planning, development and culture, January 25-27, 2018. Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is the co-sponsor. 
    Urban Waterfronts 33: WATER: The Defining Force - Challenges for the 21st Century will be headquartered at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center. A block of rooms has been set aside at the rate of $139. The hotel overlooks the Colorado River and has a pool. An optional all-day pre-conference workshop will  also be offered Thursday January 25.
     The Excellence on Waterfront Awards Program was initiated in 1987 to recognize top quality waterfront projects and plans. This year's ceremony/mini-conference, reception and gala dinner will take place September 8 at the Churchill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Details will soon be featured on the website. We will plan a special gala in honor of the program's 30th anniversary. 
The deadline for submittals: postmarked June 30, 2017
Websites of Note
    Recently on Planetizen's site I noted a job opening of possible interest to waterfront folk: Director of Planning at Boston Harbor Now. ( Boston Harbor Now is a relatively new non-profit bringing together two long-standing non-profits: Boston Harbor Islands and The Boston Harbor Association. Kathy Abbott is the executive director. Their address is 15 State Street, #1100 Boston, Mass. 02109.
     Interested in city news? Check out and you'll find lots of tidbits.
 Waterfront Center Board Member News
David Benn sent this along: The partners and principals of Cho Benn Holback + Associates are pleased to announce that we are joining the acclaimed architectural firm of QuinnEvans Architects, effective May 1. Established in 1984, Quinn Evans is known for its award-winning civic, cultural, educational, and commercial building portfolio, with particular expertise in historic preservation and community revitalization. CBH+A will operate as Cho Benn Holback, a Quinn Evans Company, and we will remain in our N. Charles Street office.

Fran Hegeler has joined SWA Group as corporate director of marketing and communications in their Bay Area office. Fran has served on our board from when she worked for Wallace Roberts and Todd in Philadelphia and later when she joined AECOM in San Francisco. She can be reached at

Al Copp and Dick Wagner - in Memoriam
    I am sad to report the waterfront world has lost two more stalwarts. We honor their lengthy careers dedicated to waterfronts.
 Al Copp
    Al Copp  was a major figure with a distinguished waterfront career in Baltimore working as a planner and president of the Charles Center-Inner Harbor Corporation.More recently he was a serious winemaker. His wife, Laurie Schwarz, is head of the Waterfront Partnership and was on hand to get the top honor for the Water Wheel. See obituary HERE
 Dick Wagner
    Dick Wagner, founder of the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, was a real pioneer in maritime education and wooden boats - their use and the craft of building them. The Center's educational programming was far-reaching.  See Dick's obituary HERE. He and his wife received a well-deserved Clearwater Award. Go HERE and enter Wooden Boats into the search box for more detail.

Late April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Marches Coming Up
Saturday, April 22 Earth Day and March for Science
Saturday, April 29, People's Climate March
    Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. 
    We received notice from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Adirondack Council to join them on April 29. To register visit: or call 800 684 3322. Looks like there will be events not just in Washington but throughout the country.
 BOSTON - Plans Afoot for "Jawdropping Park"
 Our good friend Charlotte DeWitt from Boston sent us this link about plans for major new public space around the harbor. Boston was one of the early pioneers in the waterfront phenomenon and they just keep on rolling on. A non-profit group Trustees of the Reservations plans to spearhead this ambitious project.
 BALTIMORE - Light City
     Baltimore, another of those pioneering waterfront cities, just staged a nine-day Festival of Light, Music and Innovation (March 31-April 8). So when the aforesaid Charlotte emailed that she wanted us join her in Charm City to experience the festival, how could we resist.
Charlotte DeWitt
 BALTIMORE - Light City
    We were only able to get a very small taste of this highly ambitious event now in its second year. Commissioned artworks by artists from around the world could be found mostly along the ART WALK around and near the Inner Harbor. Of course there was food, drink, music, stuff for children, educational programming and loads and loads of people. The real magic begins as darkness falls and the interplay of light and water comes fully to life. However pieces like this one installed around the pedestrian bridge between the Piers 3 & 4 by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere using illuminated nylon fabric was awesome even in daylight, but after dark it was spellbinding especially with the music accompaniment. It reminded me of "cat's cradle" (remember that childhood game?) on steroids.
String sculpture by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere
Light Boats
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana
    Ever ones to try a little waterfront adventure --  when we spotted a notice of a "nautical visual presentation" of composer Yotam Haber's "New Water Music" to occur Saturday evening April 8 we ventured to an area of New Orleans we had never been to. Thousands were on hand to witness the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of musicians perched on a flag-bedecked rusting old barge and several tents along the shoreline play the haunting piece. Lots of flags, headdresses, colorful sashes and costumes rounded out the scene.
One of the many musicians arrives for the performance
Orchestra leader conducts from a perch high above the water
    Decorated shrimp boats were hired to perform a "ballet."
Part of the Shrimp Boat Ballet
    The non-profit New Orleans Airlift artistic director Delaney Martin oversaw this unusual production. 
    An intriguing installation of fishing nets hanging from the underside of an overhead highway provided visual interest plus play space for kids and backdrops for selfies.
     A number of exhibits were set up by non-profit groups involved in coastal/environmental/working waterfront issues. Nearby food trucks and bar were jammed. Our only quibble with this truly unusual undertaking was that the crowds were partying (hey its New Orleans) a bit much, drowning out the ability to really hear the music as we imagine it was meant to be heard. We only hope the event was recorded and could be played on a big screen somewhere. 
    Not sure what King George I who commissioned Handel's Water Music would have thought or whether the folks who flocked to the banks of Thames in 1717 were rowdy as well.
See HERE for details and entry forms

April 2017 Newsletter

 Important Earth Day Coming Up - Saturday, April 22
    A double header is in the offing up and it's not baseball. Earth Day and March for Science are joining forces for events all around the country. We are hoping many of you will turn out in your community/region or here in Washington where a  monumental crowd could well assemble. It may well be the women's march squared and that was unforgettable. 
    Trump's budget and related actions are disastrous for all of us who cherish environmental values and sound waterfront planning, development and culture. An historical footnote: When Dick and I worked for Dept. of Commerce/NOAA/Coastal Zone back in the day we wrote booklet called "Improving Your Waterfront: A Practical Guide" published in 1980. We compiled information on some 28 federal programs that offered assistance to localities and we know that waterfronts all across the national availed themselves of some of these grants and loans. Many of these programs/agencies face elimination or severe cutbacks. Very often the imprimatur of receiving a federal grant helped  generate other sources of revenue. We need to try to save as much as we can. Let your voices be heard. At the end of this blast is a portion of a letter we wrote to a Washington Post reporter about the value of National Endowment for the Arts.*
Philadelphia's Waterfront - Patience Pays
 As a native Philadelphian, when we first started the Center in 1981 and visited the waterfront there, I have to admit,  the experience was less than wonderful. It was severed from the downtown by 17 lanes of highway (talk about an obstacle!) and Penn's Landing bunker-like architecture and detailing lacked luster.
    Apart from ambitious programming that breathed life to it on weekends, little occurred. But in the past ten years or so things began to stir. In 2007 the University of Pennsylvania's PennPraxis produced a series of forums and published a Civic Vision for the Central Delaware that received a Clearwater award from us. In 2008 the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation published a Master Plan for the Central Delaware. The Corporation also recently invested in three Excellence on the Waterfront award-winning gems: Morgan's Pier, WinterFest and Spruce Street Harbor Park which have all been featured in past newsletters. You can check these projects out on our interactive database HERE

    Now after decades of lagging behind, the waterfront is poised for a huge breakthrough. I feel as if there should be a big drum roll: Mayor Kenney recently announced a $90 million plan to cover the highways between Walnut and Chestnut Streets and create a $225 million park. The 3-year construction is scheduled to start in 2020. Philadelphia will at long last gain a beautiful centerpiece park and a literal toe hold on the Delaware River!
 Penn's Landing park capping
Camden - Prison to Public Realm Plus Much More
    Across the river from downtown Philly, sits the Camden riverfront which had a waterfront park back in the '80s, an aquarium, kids play area, a ferry and a battleship museum. It also had - along with many other waterfronts - a state prison.
Former New Jersey State Prison in Camden NJ
      In 2009, the prison buildings were torn down to make way for a four-acre park which the State Economic Development Authority will undertake. 
This park is only a small part of the picture: EDA president also said the agency wants to take advantage of recent developments: a groundbreaking for the new American Water headquarters, under construction; the Liberty development, which includes proposed housing, restaurants, and a hotel; and a proposal last week by three major South Jersey firms, including the insurance brokerage Conner Strong Buckelew, to build a $245 million office complex there. So there are big things in the works on both sides of the river! 
 Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Deadline: June 30, 2017
Go HERE for details and entry forms
Waterfront Center Indebted to NEA - a Bit of History
      While NEA is the most popularly known for its funding: theater, fine and applied art, literature, film, dance, opera, orchestras and the like -- all of which are very important to us as a nation.  BUT I don’t think people are aware what an extremely diversified mission it has had. This a very important point to drive home. The Center  is a case in point. Our mission is about urban planning, design and execution, helping communities and educating them about the tools they need to accomplish the complex and lengthy process of improving their waterfronts, balancing the economic, ecological, social, recreational and aesthetic considerations.
    The Waterfront Center was founded as a non-profit educational entity on May 1, 1981 -- 35 years ago and counting. Its mission has been -- and is still today -- to help communities make the wisest uses of their waterfront assets in the long-term public interest, through its varied programs.
    We owe a great debt to the NEA that funded three early projects of ours.

    Three grants ranging from $5,000-$7,500 grants from the Endowment served as critical seed money, affirmation and recognition in our formative years that enhanced our credibility nationally. The programs/research the Endowment funded have had long-term impacts as outlined below. Big bangs for little bucks!
      • The Waterfront Center’s Annual International Conference
  • Since 1983, the Waterfront Center has hosted the premier annual waterfront conference that has brought together thousands of attendees from all parts of the country/world who are interested in learning more about current practices and initiatives. What distinguishes the Center’s conferences is that the presenters and attendees are by and large practitioners -- the “doers” that make waterfront transformations happen. The Endowment funds assisted us in launching this meeting and the publication of the proceedings.
      • Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program
  •  In 1987 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Waterfront Center established the “Excellence on the Waterfront Awards Program.” This is the only awards program that recognizes top-quality waterfront work around the world. Over 400 projects, plans, citizen’s effort and student work have been recognized for their achievements.  The Waterfront Center is close finishing inputting all the annual award winners from the past years into a unique searchable database that is posted on its Web site and thus freely available to all.
      • Caution: Working Waterfront: the Impact of Change on Marine           Enterprises
      (The Waterfront Press: 1985) Ann Breen and Dick Rigby 
  • A third NEA grant helped support the research, writing and publishing of a monograph describing the importance of retaining what the authors’ termed the “working waterfront.” The issue is still very current where the pressure of the marketplace is driving up waterfront property values that threaten small marine enterprises such as boatyards, commercial fishing docks and marinas. A related advocacy stand of the Center is the felt importance of retaining, or interpreting, components of the industrial past, put to new uses if the industry has closed. Old gantry cranes and a host of other  artifacts have been incorporated in many waterfront redevelopments.